The rom-com series ‘Emily in Paris’ created by Darren Star (who is also behind ‘Sex and the City’ ) has become very popular around the world since October, when it was launched on Netflix, surrounded by lovers and haters. The TV show explores the premise of the cultural shock of an American immigrant Emily (Lily Collins) that struggles to adapt and settle into the French culture. It should have been created with tones of reality and density, but Emily is portrayed by its creator as a generic, shallow, exaggerated, predictable and caricature instead. I felt many times bothered by the jokes, and I felt really sorry for French people. However, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it at all. ‘Emily in Paris’ is that kind of TV show we love to hate because of those issues I have mentioned above. Even so, the TV show is entertaining – I am pretty sure Parisians do not agree with me, but ‘C’est la vie’.
Darren Stars uses stereotypes and clichés to describe the French and their traditions, manners and morality, without a bit of shame or auto criticism. For those who haven’t watched it, the TV programme follows Emily, an ambitious twenty something year old, who works in a marketing strategies role, at an office in Chicago, and unexpectedly she is transferred to Paris when her boss buys a French luxury marketing company there. She embarks on a new life to Paris filled with adventure as she juggles winning over her co-workers, making friends, and navigating hot romances.
In honour of this rom-com, I have created a list with the 8 worst clichés and stereotypes in ‘Emily in Paris’.
1 – French are snobbish
The French were portrayed as stylish men and women who are cold and snobbish with a hint of arrogance. According to the scripts, the French are bon vivant who enjoy all the pleasures of life such as drinking champagne during their worktime shifts.
2 – French men are flirts
Many times, the series shows French men being inconvenient and disrespecting boundaries with women such as when Emily meets a French man at Mindy’s party. They go for a walk, and he is very misogynistic saying inappropriately in her ear that he “likes American pussy”.
3 – French people are smoke addicted
They are shown as compulsive smokers who smoke every time, everywhere – even after or during the gym, without respecting any no-smoking area rule.
4 – French people are all lazy
When Emily starts working for the luxury company, she starts her shift early as in Chicago, while her French colleagues start late, around 10 AM. She criticises that behaviour. Later, Emily has a problem with her shower and she calls a plumber, who doesn’t care about solving her problem and he also suggests her to wait for him for a week to fix it.
5 – French couples are open to affairs
When Emily meets Antoine Lambert, the owner of the perfume company Maison Lavaux and the client of her new company, who is bright and handsome, and is intrigued by Emily. Antoine tries to seduce Emily, who feels shocked because he is a married man. Later, it turns out that Sylvie is Antoine mistress with the consent of Antoine’s wife.
6 – Paris is a small and provincial city
City of Lights is portrayed as a small and provincial city where everyone meets everyone all the time, everyone knows everyone. It’s also showed that Parisians are narrow-minded and don’t accept changes.
7 – French people are mean
When Emily first meets Mindy, Mindy warns her that “Chinese people are mean behind your back. French people, mean to your face.” Emily understands Mindy because she hasn’t had too many pleasant experiences with her French co-workers, or even Emily’s neighbour who is rude to her and you assume that she hates foreigners.
8 – French people don’t like smiling
Sylvie, the older, snobby, but insightful French woman who doesn’t suffer fools, once complains about Emily’s ‘habit of smiles’, as an issue. In one scene, she tells Emily to “stop smiling, or people will think you’re stupid.”
Bonus: French men are handsome
According to the series, the French men are handsome, charming and seductive. Nobody could resist their flirtation.
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