By recounting the adventures of an American ingenuous catapulted into the capital of glamor, the creators of “Sex and the City” shamelessly wallow in the most hackneyed clichés.
You may have come across a YouTube channel in which an expatriate Anglo-Saxon (North American or New Zealand) tries to explain to her compatriots what it means to live in France with French people. In fact it is mainly to live in Paris with Parisians (who remain French, you will agree). How many videos have we not seen on “the kiss”, the baguette, the art of the table, the very distant relationship that this strange people would maintain with the world of work and other particularities that only one eye? exterior can notice.
We immediately thought of this type of video when we discovered “Emily in Paris” on Netflix, a mini-series of 10 episodes (short, 30 minutes on average). So Emily – young, comfortable in her skin, steadfast, loyal, enthusiastic and ultra-professional – is the milennial employee of a big marketing firm in Chicago. She is sent to the debotté to supervise the newly acquired “Savoir”, a Parisian office “facilitator” for luxury products.
Emily is Lily Collins, an American-British actress, incidentally the daughter of Phil, the famous retired drummer of the Genesis group, who interpreted “Snow White” in her time (2012). Perfect in the role of ingenuous that you should not however push too much in the nettles. From the first episode, the tone is set, it will not deviate one iota.
The action takes place in the chic districts of the capital, Emily immediately moves into a “room” to make you dream any “maid” normally constituted with a view of a street almost without cars in which an art gallery is next to a bakery and a restaurant run by a charming cook. She discovers an office with flexible hours, allowing midday breaks that are as long as an arm, occupied by an uninviting boss (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, excellent) and employees who look down on this piece of bottle-fed social networks who do not even know not speak French. But Emily is full of quality, the first of which is never to let itself be taken apart. She’s an American, so she is necessarily “solution” oriented. There you go.
To say that “Emily in Paris” is full of clichés is an understatement. In the commonplace pool, the series wallows there, comes out, returns and enjoys it even more. It is not even the dream Paris of the musicals of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, it is even worse, or better it depends: a contemporary and almost always sunny Paris, the backdrop for Fashion Week, vernissages, exhibitions, vanity fairs which leaves the metro to the people because real life takes place on the surface between the Trocadéro and the Eiffel Tower.
Emily not far from Amélie
Faced with this deluge of glamor, sometimes sweet, sometimes salty, one can certainly be offended, there is indeed something obscene about representing a country and its inhabitants in such a caricatural way. We can also take pleasure in it, as was our case for example in the discovery of Paris imagined by Jean-Pierre Jeunet for his “Fabulous destiny of Amélie Poulain”, by acknowledging to the creator of “Sex and the City” that ‘he has not lost his hand in the art of overseeing a romantic comedy that gives pride of place to female characters.
A word of advice however, even if you only swear by the French versions (which is perfectly legitimate), be aware that, by its French nature, the series loses much of its charm, and therefore of its interest, in being seen in lined version.