Let’s check out that miserable American Innocence actress Emily in Paris. I respect Emily (Lily Collins) because the woman is a psychopath. In the fourth episode of the new series (Netflix), she likely killed a customer at her boyfriend’s restaurant because she couldn’t tell the difference between champagne and champagne, which the man is allergic to. The man chokes and gasps as Emily protests that it is the French, not her, that is wrong. In fairness, the man’s fate was never made clear, but if I had known Emily and her friends, he’d probably still be lying dead on the floor. The later scenes in the restaurant were filmed suspiciously from the waist up.
Emily’s inability to speak French is the main mystery of the series. I learned more from watching Emily in Paris in French than I did in Paris while at Emily in Paris
Being “in Paris” is Emily’s whole thing, and she’s been around for ages. This makes her utter inability to speak French the primary mystery of the series. I learned more from watching Emily in Paris in French than I did in Paris while at Emily in Paris.
If, after months of eating at the kind of French restaurant Pepé Le Pew might frequent, Emily doesn’t know the French word for mushroom, she doesn’t need better French lessons but an MRI. I haven’t seen anyone less equipped for their habitat since Babe: Pig in the City.
However, everyone loves Emily. She works in a Parisian marketing business where all meetings are in English for her own good. She is so efficient at pointing out things and speaking loudly in English that the primary plot point of the season is that both her American mentor and French boss desperately need her to work with them.
Her friends and colleagues are now so hypnotized by her charm that they have Stockholm Syndrome and speak a lot of English even when she is not there. It’s also possible that Americans think that French is the French language and that if we release Allo for the American market it will win the Best Foreign Language Oscar.
But we’re not here for the French lessons. If you want to know more about France, read a “book”, nerd. Instead, see Emily, the costumed marvel, soaring through the streets of Paris like a triumphant American tank commander hurling packets of gum at the locals. In her first scene in the series, she’s peering out from an explosion of pink ostrich feathers, her huge Lol-Doll-sized eyes peering out from under her Groucho Marx eyebrows. In another, she wore a thigh-length green water wader with a brightly colored pullover covered in hearts. She appears to be working on a fishing trawler run by strange clowns. At another point, she went to an exhibit at a costume museum wearing winged shoulder extensions so that she appeared to be the centerpiece of an educational diorama about American exceptionalism.
Things that in other series would make for awkward awkward comedy lead to a hilarious triumph for Emily
Sometimes, looking at her outfit, I wonder if Emily in Paris isn’t already in the Star Wars extended universe. She may be C-3PO’s sister or one of the taller Ewoks. Paris may be one of the Star Wars planets with a single geographic feature – desert, snow and sea – but in this case the only geographic feature is the Eiffel Towers. It’s the Eiffel Tower planet. There are so many shots of Emily’s Eiffel Tower in Paris that even when she and her classmates are having dinner atop the Eiffel Tower, I see more of the Eiffel Towers in the distance. In fairness, Emily is adapting to some elements of Francophone culture. From time to time, she accessorizes her hallucinogenic costumes with striped hats and T-shirts. I would be very surprised if she made it to the end of the series without wearing a string of garlic around her neck.
Look, don’t get me wrong, Emily in Paris is a work of evil genius. I’m obsessed with it – and I think I’ve discovered the grammar of its success.
First off, everything Emily does is awesome. This is the whole law. Things that in other shows might lead to awkward, awkward comedy leads to a hilarious triumph for Emily. Going on stage as a romantic gesture to sing a song you know was on just moments before? She sings it perfectly while looking shy. Perhaps a man was sent into cardiac shock because she could not speak French properly? This only leads her to a personal realization of her own self-worth.
Emily’s world in Paris is a post-scarcity society where Americans don’t need visas and high-end clown costumes are available in the French healthcare system.
Secondly, Emily in Paris is an assortment of postmodern nods without an underlying philosophy. It has the referential look of campy satire, but the satirical point has been distilled to create something fresh and a little terrifying.
This cannot be accidental. The show’s creator, Darren Starr, wrote Sex in the City. He is a man who knows everything there is to know about camp satire. So many things about Emily in Paris seemed to be in cute quotes – ugly Americans abroad, the French lottery, the Eiffel Towers (many Eiffel Towers), French socialism (every August!), corporate American sociopathy (Emily’s boss goes back to working right after having a baby), French amor, American prudence, and the fact that Emily’s best friends are a nightclub singer, chef, vineyard owner, Mime, Jacob, Inspector Clouseau, Edith Piaf, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
But it is never clear why these things are put in quotation marks. Writers seem to flex the tropes they know while savvy viewers enjoy the pattern-recognition thrill associated with a triumphant story about a primal Girlboss full of absurdity.
Finally, and most importantly, this leads to Emilie being completely stress-free in Paris. I think that’s what makes him so palatable to the jaded tastes of Generation Z, a group that can’t afford homes or pensions, and for which he destroyed the planet before they got here. It would be unfair to stress them out on what might be the last TV show. So Emily never faces any real consequences as she gleefully errs on the streets of Paris dressed as a member of the Starlight Express team.
After her managers betray her, they still want to work with her. After sleeping with her friend’s boyfriend, the friend is still in love with her. (Actually, he disciplined Emily at one point she has For not being honest.) After temporarily losing her job due to lying, Emily never worried about money or the validity of her visa.
Emily’s world in Paris is a post-scarcity society where Americans don’t need visas and high-end clown costumes are available in the French healthcare system. Also, like I said, it looks like she killed a guy and got rid of him completely. I anxiously anticipate the escalation of the body count. This often happens when Americans travel abroad.
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