Netflix’s new show Emily in Paris has been almost unanimously panned by critics, who have condemned the show and warned Francophiles to steer well clear.
The romantic comedy series stars Lily Collins as Emily, an ambitious twentysomething from Chicago who gets sent to work with a Parisian marketing agency that her American firm has just bought.
With each episode, Emily is forced to deal with her snobbish and unwelcoming colleagues, who don’t appreciate an American girl telling them how to do their jobs.
The show was created by Darren Starr, best known for his work on the award-winning Nineties series Sex and the City, starring Sarah Jessica Parker.
Critics are calling out Emily in Paris for the many cliches it perpetuates about Parisians and French people in general, and for Collins’ unlikeable main character.
The Independent’s review warned French people against watching it, as well as French speakers, expats living in France, anyone who has been to France, and “anyone who’s eaten a croissant”.
A review for The Guardian called the first half of the debut season “an exorcism of all of the French cliches the writers could think of”, including “rare steak, chain-smoking, wine for breakfast, men in expensive suits talking freely about sex… and a disdain for American culture”.
“You name a stereotype, and within the first three episodes, Emily has not only encountered it, but tried to rectify it, to adjust it to the American way,” the review said.
Emily as a character was also criticised for being “obnoxious” and occasionally amoral. Among her faults pointed out by critics was her expectation that everyone should speak English around her, and her apparent lack of morals when it comes to men.
One of the few positives for critics was the visuals in the show, including the costume design and the picturesque scenery.
“It’s often unclear whether Emily In Paris is making fun of Emily or not. Its funniest moments are when Emily’s privilege runs amok and she’s actually checked on it; the show’s charm does a lot of work to keep it from being grating,” an IndieWire review said.
“It helps that Emily is surrounded by all the trappings of great television: breezy scripts, a charming cast of good-looking people, and the lifestyle porn that any good aspirational show has: lavish outfits, glamorous parties, and picturesque views.”
Despite the negative reviews, the show trended on social media upon its release on Netflix, with new fans raving about the outfits in particular.
“I want to live inside that show!” one tweeted, sharing a still of Emily wearing a red beret.
Others were big fans of Emily’s neighbour, the chef Gabriel. The character is played by French actor Lucas Bravo, whom it turns out our writer, Clémence Michallon, went to school with.
In France, the show has been widely mocked.
“Between the beret, the cocktail dresses and the impeccable streets, Parisians had a hard time recognising their everyday life,” RTL, the French radio station, wrote on its website.
French culture magazine Les Inrockuptibles said that everyone in Paris was laughing over the series, while the general reaction on French Twitter was that it was “ridicule” (ridiculous).
Emily in Paris is available to watch on Netflix now.