Guilty Pleasures: ‘Emily in Paris’

An unexpected but very welcome new Christmas tradition in my life is a binge-watch of the latest season of Netflix’s Emily in Paris. Over the past two years, each successive instalment of Lily Collins running around Paris in outrageous outfits has dropped on December 21, and I have been left with no choice but to cancel all my plans and try to finish all 10 episodes before Christmas Eve – in case you were wondering, mission accomplished.


Although the show is incredibly formulaic, predictable, and sometimes even painful to watch – I’m looking at you Pierre Cadault getting run over – there is something about it that I simply cannot deny loving. The over-romanticism of my favourite city brings me back each year. Having spent part of my year abroad living in Paris, I enjoy watching the show and spotting locations I recognise or aspects of Parisian culture that I miss. Whilst I sit in cold, grey England, I love escaping to Paris in summertime – one criticism I do have is that it is always spring/ summer in the Emily in Paris universe, despite her supposedly having been here for over a year now, and Christmas in Paris is really magical.


She (Emily) never truly faces any consequences for her actions for longer than an episode…


Besides an ample serving of cringe, the show is a very easy watch, and sometimes that’s all you really want. We all know Emily is going to choose Paris and not return to Chicago, the clue is in the title! She never truly faces any consequences for her actions for longer than an episode, and any other problems encountered in the plot are often resolved just as quickly. This season, Mindy Chen (Emily’s best friend), gets a new love interest, Nicolas. In an easy fix to move Mindy’s storyline along and bin-off Benoit, her previous boyfriend, he simply breaks up with her and she starts dating Nicolas an episode later. Similarly, when Nicolas and Emily have a disagreement, what could be an interesting plot point of a feud between the two is quickly dissipated by an interference from Alfie (Emily’s boyfriend) and Mindy. Of course, I sometimes wish these plot points were not so easily resolved as it might create more interesting TV, but it is clear that the only drawn-out plot point for the show is the will-they/ won’t-they between Emily and Gabriel (not her boyfriend, her friend Camille’s fiancée and baby-daddy).


As much as I love this show’s ridiculous storylines, I must admit I cannot bear the Emily/ Gabriel/ Alfie love triangle any longer., I can’t see Emily and Gabriel happening, although I presume the show writers are attempting a Luke and Lorelai-esque slow-burn that might culminate in an actual relationship between Emily and Gabriel by the fourth season, but given that season three ended with another cliffhanger, it is unclear as to how much longer this will-they/ won’t-they charade will continue. I really liked Emily’s relationship with Alfie although this season ended with their break-up, with Alfie telling her to ‘go get your man’ [Gabrie]. I do wonder if this is the end for Alfie and Emily’s relationship as it seems a bit too sudden. However, the show has a pattern of abruptly ending relationships, take Mindy and Benoit or Sylvie and Erik. But, the season finalé’s revelation that Camille and Gabriel are expecting a baby has thrown a spanner even further into the works of this messy love plot, can Emily and Gabriel ever get together?


It might be ‘ringarde’, but I happen to love trash TV.


Despite my indifference to one of, if not the biggest plot points of the show, I must praise the aspects of the show that bring me back each December for another binge. Firstly, Mindy and Emily’s friendship; I love how they support and protect each other always. Luc saves each season with his crass comedy and positive nature. And then we have the oh-so-chic Sylvie Grateau who serves fashion, wit, and sass every single episode – thank you to Darren Star for letting her have a happy ending with Laurent. Sylvie singlehandedly saved the show for me in season two, and once again continues to lift it up this season. 


I might be able to predict the plot and cringe at Emily’s more ostentatious outfits, but there is something so simple and effective about the show that I love. It is feelgood and it depicts love and friendship with magical realism. It might be ‘ringarde’, but I happen to love trash TV.

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