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Thursday, May 23, 2024
The Observer

‘Emily In Paris’ season 3 is a dazzling showcase of character assassination

This review contains spoilers.

The cultural train crash known as “Emily in Paris” has finally (and unfortunately) arrived in its third season after a long road of controversies and drama. Starring Lily Collins as the titular Emily Cooper, the show tells the story of a young American marketing executive who moves to Paris. While at first, that seems like an inoffensive sitcom premise, Emily in Paris quickly became known for its very offensive portrayal of French culture and awful writing.

The first season was heavily criticized for how it portrayed French characters, relying on outdated stereotypes (which is ironic considering the show presents itself as a love letter to France, its culture and its people). Equally problematic is the character of Emily herself, who the writers desperately try to present as being an uber-competent, ambitious and driven young woman. Emily, however, is insufferable, arrogant, cocky, constantly disregards the feelings of those around her and most infuriatingly, refuses to learn French despite working at a firm filled with French people. Finally, Emily’s detestability culminates when she sleeps with her friend’s boyfriend in season 1.

Much of season 2 is dedicated to desperately course-correcting Emily’s unlikability to little effect, and season 3 instead seems intent on making Emily seem better by demonizing other characters around her, particularly her friend Camille (Camille Razat).

Camille is essentially the only French woman in the series who is not presented as an evil hag as she quickly befriends Emily and helps her adapt to Paris, becoming my, and many others’, favorite character. Emily in turn rewards Camille by banging her boyfriend, Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), at the end of season 1, and much of season 2 deals with Camille getting back together with Gabriel and forgiving Emily. Pretty noble, right?

Well, not if it makes Emily look bad, apparently.

Season 3 promptly starts with Camille cheating on Gabriel the man who she was supposedly madly in love with — for literally no reason. Later, she discovers she’s pregnant and runs back to Gabriel, whom she then immediately asks to marry. However, when the wedding comes, Camille goes on a deranged rant, proclaiming that Gabriel and Emily are still in love (despite him agreeing to marry her), and blaming Emily for her woes and affair. Not satisfied, she implies that Emily is only dating her current boyfriend, Alfie (Lucien Laviscount) as a rebound mechanism, and promptly breaks them up.

While Emily certainly deserves to be put in her place, Camille’s deranged and irrational behavior overshadows anything Emily has done to this point, effectively turning her into the villain of the series through the worst and most blatant example of character assassination I have ever seen (and I am a Star Wars fan).

And believe it or not, this is still the show’s best season, the racism and Francophobia are less obvious, Emily is admittedly much less arrogant and tries to learn French, and other more interesting characters like Emily’s boss Sylvie are given focus.

But other than that, Emily in Paris continues being painfully unfunny even by sitcom standards. Most of the humor comes from bad writing, like the treatment of Camille’s character. The show’s “plot” is paper thin because it constantly tries to set up problems and story arcs which are resolved almost immediately by Emily’s uber-competence and inhuman luck (because this show is allergic to stakes and consequences). As a result, any professional or personal problem Emily is faced with seems cheap, as we know that it will barely affect the “plot” or characters.

On top of that, season 3 feels like a glorified advertisement for luxury brands like McLaren, Channel and Mcdonald's (very classy), as the characters that work in the marketing firm go on and on and on about how great these mega-corporations (who are definitely not paying Netflix for product placement) are. This might as well be why Netflix, a company known for canceling series for little reason, keeps supporting a show that up to this point has been nothing more than a PR and critical disaster.

While the third season of Emily in Paris is an improvement on the previous two, it is merely an elevation from offensive and harmful trash television to simply trash television, perfectly encapsulating
everything that is bad and wrong about modern TV shows; I hate it and don’t want to talk about it anymore.

Show: “Emily in Paris”

Starring: Lily Collins, Camille Razat, Lucas Bravo, Lucien Laviscount, Ashley Park

Favorite episodes: The “wedding” one because it's hilariously bad and no, I refuse to look up the title.

If you like: Getting a headache

Where to watch: Netflix (please don’t)

Shamrocks: 1 out of 5

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