Despite inviting the ire of critics for being frivolous and creating an entirely fictional universe absolutely detached from reality, Emily in Paris is a top trending show on Netflix. Critics are baffled at the popularity of this series that brings back the rom-com drama to our screens through the light hearted story of a junior level marketing executive, Emily, who lands a project “a million girls would kill for” in Paris, the city of love. But her selection for the job comes through a very convenient stereotype against women (feminist trigger alert) where her boss (who was originally supposed to get the project) discovers that she is pregnant and decides not to go. She sends Emily as her replacement and everything naturally falls into place for the happy-go-lucky protagonist.
Once in Paris, Emily is the fairy godmother of every cinderella situation that her Parisian luxury marketing firm lands into. A crisis pops up at work and all she has to do is wriggle the bag of ideas inside her head, pull one out, flash a big cute smile and voila! Crisis averted. From the opening scene of the show where Emily completes a run of 5.3 miles (when most of us struggle to even walk that distance), the show sets unrealistic expectations for young entry level professionals. Emily glides through the show living in Paris among Parisian colleagues with a vocabulary of only 5-10 French words. She bags deals upon deals for her company despite having no prior experience in marketing luxury products, putting her more experienced colleagues and even her boss, to shame. And not to forget, the string of handsome men (some of them married or committed) that fall at her feet.
But for all its absurdities, Emily in Paris provides a surreal escape to the city of love and lights. It certainly hits a cord with millennials who have identified with Emily’s initial problems in adapting to a new culture and her enthusiasm for social media influencing. It is a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously and urges us to relax, lay back and smile our way through this pandemic. So we did just that. And here are our favorite moments from Emily in Paris
1. Emily’s Redemption - Brigitte Macron Retweeting Emily
After a series of duds landing on Emily’s attempt to impress her colleagues and getting them to like her and invite her for lunch with them (yeah, millennial problems), she was finally able to earn the much coveted invitation at the lunch table from her firm’s owner. This was after Brigitte Macron, the wife of the French President, retweeted her meme whining about why the vagina was written as masculine in the French language. The meme featured a product from a client that promoted vaginal wetness and hence, both the meme and the subsequent retweet became instant hits. After all, its not every day that the French President's wife retweets from a random American account and this impressed everyone including the client and instantly elevated Emily to the fairy godmother status that we earlier bestowed upon her.
2. The Baked Cookies Analogy
We’d like to give Emily some credit where she deserves it. And one of the shining examples of her presence of mind and marketing skills was when she grabbed the interest of a prominent American hotelier at an art gallery she was invited to, by her new friend Camille. She pitches her idea of creating a signature scent for his hotel (proposing a deal with another client, the most famous perfumer of Paris) by giving the analogy of baking cookies in a house before putting it up for sale so that potential buyers would get a homely vibe from the scent of baked cookies. This was a defining moment that projected Emily as resourceful individual who, by one smart move, secured a new client and retained an older one. Way to go Emily!
3. The Camille Revelation
We all noticed the strong chemistry between Emily and Gabrielle since the first time Emily tried to force open his flat mistaking it for her own (yeah the floor numbering in Europe sucks, according to Emily). Since that first encounter between the two, everyone was waiting with bated breath when they would actually start to be a thing. The moment finally arrived (or so we thought) when Emily kissed Gabrielle at the restaurant he worked at to thank him for the wonderful meal he prepared for her clients. No sooner had she stepped out that sweet Camille, her new friend, appeared at the restaurant and informed Emily that her boyfriend was the chef of the restaurant. Oops!!
4. La Vie En Rose
Nothing can get more cliched than La Vie En Rose in Paris but when Mindy, one of Emily’s first friends (and a foreigner like her) sings the song in front of a beautiful fountain in the middle of a lovely park, everyone stops to listen. Mindy, played by real life singer Ashley Park, has an enchanting voice that makes her rendition of this song, and the moment in the series, truly memorable
5. Sylvie the Badass
We all knew Sylvie, Emily’s grumpy boss, had a mean streak to her that reminded us of Miranda Priestly from the Devil Wears Prada. Her character is one of the most underrated and is constantly outshined by her younger employee in the show. But to be fair, Sylvie Grateau, played by Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu is a sophisticated, hardworking and formidable woman who has earned the spot she is in. And she is also a total badass when she takes no nonsense from a receptionist at a hotel and subtly threatens him into allowing her to meet an American actress who ran away with a two million dollar watch. While Emily was trying for hours to retrieve that watch and arguing endlessly with the receptionist to no avail, Sylvie managed to get the job done within a matter of seconds which displayed who really is the girl boss on this show and was one of the most powerful moments of the show.
6. The Costume Catastrophe
It’s hard to win over a top couture designer to your side after he has called you “ringarde” (basic, in French). So it was no mean feat that Emily convinced Pierre Cadault, the designer her company desperately wanted to represent, into hiring her firm. Her success soon turned to horror in an amazing twist when a dress donated by the designer for a charity auction (and worn by Emily for the bidding) was splashed with paint and utterly destroyed as part of a marketing gimmick by a street-wear designer duo called Gray Space. The moment was shocking, hilarious and oddly satisfying all at once, and we commend Stephane Rolland, the actual designer of the dress to have the gall to get his beautiful creation destroyed on T.V like that.
7. The Revenge
Utterly shattered and humiliated by the Gray Space fiasco, Pierre Cadault starts doubting himself as a designer and decides to cancel his show at Paris Fashion Week. He forfeits his venue which lands Emily on the brink of losing her job. She desperately needs Cadault to show his collection if she wants to save her job and stay in Paris. In the midst of all this, Cadault has an epiphany and creates a crazy collection that he absolutely has to show the world - but how? He has already forfeited his venue which, ironically, has been taken over by Gray Space. What happens next is best enjoyed on screen but suffice it to say that it is absolutely the most iconic moment in the show and a perfect revenge on the cunning Gray Space designers.
8. The Gabrielle Conundrum
This show doesn’t boast of an overall masterful writing but the final moments of the season’s finale redeem the writing with a string of plot twists. Gabrielle’s impending departure from Paris to start his own restaurant in Normandy leads to his breakup (again- or so we thought) with Camille. Emily spots the window of opportunity (literally through a window) and contemplates on making a move on Gabrielle the night before he is supposed to leave. The move is well reciprocated and ends up in a steamy bedroom encounter (much to the satisfaction of audiences who were rooting for them since the start - for the record, we are team Camille). The next morning, it turns out that Gabrielle isn’t moving after all, since someone has agreed to finance his dream restaurant in Paris. Emily is elated to learn this until she receives a text from Camille - and the curtains fall.
Photos credit: Netflix