Netflix's Emily in Paris is the worst show on television and I can't stop watching it

Did you know that French people are rude? Were you aware that the citizens of Paris let their dogs poo on the pavement? Did you realise the French drink wine, that they have extra-marital affairs and that they despise anyone who can't speak their language?

If you didn't know any of this then I'm honoured to have written the first story or piece of media of any kind about France that you have ever consumed. I'm also pleased to tell you that you will be surprised and delighted by the Netflix comedy, Emily in Paris.

For everyone else, the clichés in this show will become mind-numbing within the first few minutes of viewing. Every single tired old trope about the French – and, to be fair, also about Americans – is trundled out within the first episode of this story of a sunny, super-positive marketing exec from Chicago who is sent to Paris to work for an agency her company has acquired.

Emily can't speak French, she has lots of "American" ideas (that are better than the French ones), the locals hate her despite her being relentlessly upbeat, and hilarity ensues.

This is the worst show on TV. Even worse than shows on 7Mate, and they have things like Storage Wars. So… why can't I stop watching Emily in Paris?

I'm aware I'm late to the party here. I've resisted watching Emily in Paris up until now, despite the Netflix algorithm telling me the show is a 120 per cent match for me, despite it having entered its second season a few weeks ago, because it just looks so bad.

And it is. This is Paris porn for the Insta-generation, a show where every scene is passed through a sparkling filter, where every moment is primed for a social media highlight reel (literally, given the show's device of using Emily's Instagram posts and growing followers to track her "success").

It's the hokey positivity of Ted Lasso, only with heels instead of boots. It's the sex and the city of Sex and the City, except this city is Paris, and Emily spends most of her time on her phone instead of getting it on.

And yet I'm six episodes in and have no plans to stop.

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That is mostly, I guess, because it's travel. The travel experience on TV. It's not real travel, but travel of the memory, the sort of travel you keep locked away in your mind – perfect travel without any serious annoyances. That's how I tend to remember places and experiences, with flagrant disregard for the bad stuff and absolute focus on the good; that's how Emily in Paris presents them as well.

Yes, there's a tiny bit of dog poo on the pavement but for the most part Paris sparkles in this series. There are no crowds, no annoying tourists. There are no tacky T-shirt stores on the Champs Elysees, no dodgy men trying to fleece you in Montmartre.

Paris for Emily is always bathed in the pastel glow of the early morning or the end of the day. Every boulangerie sells amazing bread. Every neighbour is ruggedly, Gallically handsome. Every stranger speaks excellent English and is more than willing to deploy it for her benefit.

Is this real life? No. Not even close. But real life sucks at the moment, particularly if you love to travel. So why not indulge the fantasy? Why not take yourself off to Emily's Paris and eat pain au chocolat while you're walking around – quelle horreur, sit down girl – and win those nasty French people over with your bubbly American positivity.

This is A Year in Provence in designer fashion; it's A Year in the Merde without any of the titular crap. It's perfectly harmless escapism for the frustrated travel fanatic.

I should point out that I hate all of these clichés as much, I imagine, as the French. I don't think French people are rude at all. I've always found them warm and friendly. And yet still I can give a pass to all of the brainless tropes rolled out on Emily in Paris because ah, it's Paris. It's beautiful. Everyone is beautiful. C'est la vie.

I would love to move to Paris and live in world where no one wears face masks and professional opportunities seem to just appear and only very good-looking and charming colleagues attempt to sexually harass you. I long for the feeling of discombobulation that comes with being in a foreign place, feeling your way through an unfamiliar culture, even if this one is so shiny and polished and riddled with cliché.

Emily in Paris is awful. It's France viewed through an intensely American lens. Have any of the writers even been to Paris? It's like that Simpsons episode when they come to Australia and Bart gets sentenced to a "booting". The accuracy is on par.

But who cares? Much about the travel world sucks right now. And basically nothing in Emily in Paris sucks. C'est la vie.

What's your favourite TV show for travel reminiscence this holiday season? Have you seen Emily in Paris? What did you think? Are there any other so-bad-they're-good shows you would like to confess to watching?

Email: b.groundwater@traveller.com.au

Instagram: instagram.com/bengroundwater

Twitter: twitter.com/bengroundwater

See also: Forget submarines: Eight things France does get right

See also: Nine must-do highlights of Paris

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