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Dubai Diaries: The joy of Emily in Paris

Despite its flaws, the Netflix show is an outlet for escapism.

By Gopika Nair

Published: Sun 16 Jan 2022, 12:46 PM

Last updated: Sun 16 Jan 2022, 12:50 PM

There’s a lot to hate about Emily in Paris, the show that has been on Netflix’s Top 10 list in the UAE — and worldwide — for the past three weeks since it came out with a second season.

For starters, the premise of the show doesn’t break any new ground. Created by Sex and the City’s Darren Star, Emily in Paris is about Emily Cooper (Lily Collins), a marketing executive from the US, who moves to Paris for her job. There, while speaking only a few words of French, she juggles friendships, romance and a boss who’s eager to see her on the first flight back to Chicago.

For the most part, the show is wildly unrealistic, with a deeply naive main character. There’s also no shortage of cringe-worthy lines or moments that would give viewers second-hand embarrassment.

And yet, I watched season two the day it was released and quickly became invested in Emily’s fumbling expatriate adventures in a city that she says “is filled with love and romance and light and beauty and passion.”

When I finished the fifth episode, I started to savour the remaining five, knowing that I would soon be pulled out of the glittery trance I was in. Emily’s world is nothing short of magical; it’s filled with idyllic scenes of Paris, vibrant designer clothes and far-fetched moments of spontaneity.

Take, for instance, a scene early on in the second season, when Emily’s best friend Mindy (Ashley Park) suggests hosting a birthday dinner party right in the middle of the streets. “Do we need a permit?” Emily asks. “If we ask, we will,” Mindy replies, and that’s that; viewers don’t have to worry about Emily’s dinner party getting busted.

Instead, we can focus on more pressing problems, like the will-they-won’t-they dynamic between Emily and her neighbour Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), who just so happens to be her friend Camille’s (Camille Razat) ex-boyfriend.

Since its release in 2020, the show, which was recently renewed for two more seasons, has proved to be a favourite for ‘hate-watching’. But considering its popularity and the fact that millions of people around the world are Googling a release date for season three, it might be time to rid Emily in Paris of its title as the show people love to hate.

Despite its flaws, sheer absurdity and overall silliness, Emily in Paris is an outlet for escapism not just from a pandemic-ridden world, but also from most other realities. After all, how often does the average person get a chance to move to the city of their dreams, meet a handsome neighbour, forge strong friendships with people they meet in the park and do it all while power-walking in Christian Louboutin pumps without a blister bandage in sight?

And while there are many TV shows and movies that may be more deserving of the kind of fame and attention Emily in Paris has received, there’s nothing wrong with choosing unadulterated fun over quality every once in a while.

For now, I’m going to take a leaf out of Emily in Paris’ book, be wildly unrealistic and hope that season three will drop next month.


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