When Emily in Paris debuted on Netflix last year, it was surprisingly divisive; the bubblegum world created by Darren Star (Younger, Sex and the City) seemed innocent enough, but the affronts towards the French and the ridiculous social media posts made more than a few viewers roll their eyes. Still, hate-watchers and superfans alike will be pleased that Emily in Paris is back for an addictive, often silly second season, and the cringe factor surprisingly decreases (if only slightly).
Opening Shot: Scenes of Paris landmarks.
The Gist: Emily (Lily Collins) is still reeling from her night of passion with hot chef Gabriel (Lucas Bravo). She thought he was moving back to Normandy! She loves being friends with his (ex?) girlfriend Camille (Camille Razat)! Things are heating up with Mathieu (Charles Martins)! Sex (the best sex of her life, she might add) with Gabriel is not ideal, but now, she can’t stop thinking about it. She’s so consumed by the thought of their steamy night that she nearly walks into traffic, and later, pictures it during a work meeting. Despite her guilt, though, she still puts on a friendly face for Camille, who can’t seem to figure out why Gabriel decided to stay in Paris. Aside from the whole Antoine (William Abadie) bankrolling his new restaurant, that is. At work, Emily’s coworkers are a little less than friendly after she steps on their toes to help with other accounts, and boss Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) can see right through her whole performance with Camille (and everyone else).
Emily’s BFF Mindy (Ashley Park), meanwhile, has picked up a gig at a drag club, where she’s promised the chance to perform one song if she works as “la dame pipi” – the woman who sits outside the toilets. Despite the lack of glamour around the whole thing, she’s delighted by the reception to her performance, and Emily and Camille cheer her on like the good pals they are. On the way home from her show, Emily tries to convince Camille to go talk to Gabriel, but she refuses, declaring that he’ll have to work hard to get her back (if he wants her). Unfortunately for Camille, it seems like Gabriel only wants one thing: Emily. Emily does her best to keep Gabriel at a distance and take a fabulous trip to St. Tropez with Mathieu, but when her feelings start to bubble to the surface, she realizes juggling these lies might be more difficult than she originally anticipated.
What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Emily in Paris definitely still has Younger vibes, which makes sense, as it’s another one of Darren Star’s creations, as well as The Bold Type, Gossip Girl, and Sweetbitter. (And, yes, Sex and the City.)
Our Take: Oh, Emily in Paris. You are a rare gift. Shamelessly silly, full of memorable fashion moments and sexy Frenchmen. I don’t know how anyone can fault you, truly.
For all the (often warranted) criticisms directed as Season 1, I will say that Season 2 improves upon a few things; there are less jabs at the French and more failures (and moments of self-deprecation) for the deeply naive Emily. This makes the show much more interesting, too, as she’s not just parading around and saving the day at every turn without much effort. The conflict this time around feels more exciting, too, and the stakes are getting higher (even if they’re (blessedly) nowhere near high enough to cause the viewer any real anxiety). With a few small exceptions, Emily in Paris Season 2 is basically just more of the same, and who could ask for anything more? Give me a fish-out-of-water story with a glamorous setting and a quirky cast of supporting characters any day. I’ll take it.
Here’s the thing about Emily in Paris. It’s not trying to reinvent the wheel, or make some big statement, or create stirring drama. No, it’s glorious bubblegum, what Darren Star does best. Though I’d argue there’s a little bit more going on beneath the surface of Younger, it does boast a lot of the same fantastical qualities, sparkly getups, and cringe-inducing revelations. Emily in Paris exists in a world that is reality’s neighbor; recognizable enough in nature, but still so ridiculous, stakes-free, and glittery that it’s easily distinguishable from the plague-ridden hell scape we’re currently living in. How can you hate something with such dumb, pure intentions? Emily in Paris just wants us to escape, to indulge in all the dazzling thrills that only happen in daydreams. Turn off your brain and turn up the volume. You’ve earned it.
Sex and Skin: Little flashbacks to Emily and Gabriel’s steamy night of passion.
Parting Shot: Emily gives an exasperated shrug as her train to St. Tropez picks up speed.
Sleeper Star: Ashley Park remains one of Emily in Paris‘s greatest assets, getting another chance to show off those insane pipes (she was on Broadway, y’all!) with a cover of BTS’s “Dynamite”. (No small feat, might I add). Mindy may not be our leading lady, but she’s often more interesting to watch than anyone else, rocking insane outfits – occasionally more insane than Emily’s, mind you – and bubbling with zest and personality, even when the script doesn’t give her a ton to do. Emily in Paris might put a lot of energy into its other characters, but Park is far and away its most exciting supporting player.
Most Pilot-y Line: There are a handful of cheeseball lines as Season 2 finds its footing again, including an impassioned speech delivered by Gabriel towards the end of the episode: “Tell me you didn’t feel everything that I felt!”
Our Call: STREAM IT. Emily in Paris remains an undeniably watchable delight, short on substance but long on satisfaction.
Jade Budowski is a freelance writer with a knack for ruining punchlines, hogging the mic at karaoke, and thirst-tweeting. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebudowski.
Stream Emily in Paris on Netflix