12 Things You Never Knew About 'Emily in Paris'
Emily in Paris has been polarising viewers worldwide since it landed on Netflix on October 2. The internet is abuzz with memes poking fun at the show's countless clichés, cultural stereotypes, and implausible premise, with new think-pieces every other day about how it is brilliant and/or terrible. Just like Normal People, audiences are obsessed with Emily in Paris. Let's discuss why...
On the one hand, it's a perfect piece of escapism—a fluffy rom-com for the ages. On the other, it's a highly confused depiction what a career in social media marketing looks like and the city of Paris. Critics have taken issue with the show's implausible premise and reliance on cultural stereotypes and stunning every American-in-Paris cliché that has ever existed. Meanwhile, supporters have relished in the show's featherweight tone and completely lack of realism.
Love it or hate it, chances are you're watching it. And if you're not, join us as we investigate what the fuss is all about. Before we dive in, a recap: British actress Lily Collins plays the titular Emily, a young marketing executive from Chicago who relocates to Paris to work at a renowned French marketing firm. Despite being a Gen Z social media professional, she inexplicably starts off with just 48 followers on her personal account and for some reason still uses hashtags in her captions.
Now, here are 12 things you never knew about Emily in Paris, the rom-com fantasy series taking the final innings of 2020 by storm.
It was created by Sex and the City's Darren Star
If you are obsessed with Sex and the City and can't wait for the next season of Younger, it's no wonder you love Emily in Paris. All three shows were created by Darren Star, and it shows. Speaking to Cosmopolitan, Collins explained she was a huge Sex and the City fan before she signed on to executive produce and star in Emily in Paris. "When I was in high school, we devoured all of Sex and the City," she said. "Darren has a sharp eye for creating fantasy worlds in which audiences love to disappear into while also tackling relatable and humorous issues."
It has the same costume designer as Sex and the City
The colourful designer looks worn by Emily and the rest of the cast come from Patricia Field herself—she of Carrie Bradshaw's tutu skirt and nameplate necklace. In fact, Emily in Paris makes reference to those classic Sex and the City costumes more than once.
Unlike Emily, Lily Collins can speak French
Emily struggles at work because she can't speak a word of French, and even by the end of the show's ten episodes she's failed to learn much more than bonjour, merci and où est la bibliothèque?. "I used to speak and dream in French, read in French, and was pretty fluent," she told Glamour. "But then I stopped practicing."
Lucas Bravo used to be a chef in real life
Emily's hot downstairs neighbour, Gabriel, impresses her early on in the series with his cooking skills, which is something actor Lucas Bravo was able to pull from real life for. "I was a sous chef in a restaurant a few years ago," he said in an interview. "When I first got the scripts, I was like, 'Oh, wow, this is definitely for me, I'm definitely going to use these skills.'"
The show doesn't understand social media...
...and neither does Emily. She uses hashtags, posts sub-par images and starts off with just 48 followers on her nondescript Instagram-adjacent social media account—which would all be fine if she wasn't supposed to be a professional social media strategist in charge of luxury accounts. One of the many ways that Emily in Paris makes no sense is that despite putting zero effort into her online presence, she manages to amass a sizeable organic following and keep her *social media strategy* job.
It was filmed entirely in Paris
Just like Sex and the City, Emily in Paris was actually shot in the city in which the story is set. All of the famous landmarks you see, from the Eiffel Tower to the Jardin du Palais-Royal, were shot in the real locations, which might explain why it's such a visual treat.
Mindy's character was rewritten when Ashley Park was cast
Ashley Park, who plays Mindy, earned a Tony nomination for her performance as Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls the musical. "I had seen Ashley in Mean Girls on Broadway twice and she had blown me away," creator Darren Star told Cosmopolitan. "And since she had this incredible voice, casting her changed how we saw Mindy a bit, because we knew we wanted her to sing."
Emily's boss, Madeline, was in Grey's Anatomy
You might recognise another familiar face in the show's cast. Grey's Anatomy's Kate Walsh plays Madeline, Emily's boss who falls pregnant and decides not to relocate to Paris, leaving the opportunity wide open to her young employee. Walsh also appeared in 13 Reasons Why and The Umbrella Academy.
Lily Collins thought Emily was 22, but she's actually at least 25
Despite Emily having a Masters degree and apparently being experienced enough for an international relocation to be trusted with an international relocation, actress Lily Collins told Vogue that she thought the character was most likely around 22. She said: "I don't believe we've ever given her a specific 'number' for her age, but I believe that she's pretty fresh out of college. Maybe this is her first year after graduation. I want to say she's like, 22-ish. She's had enough experience at her company in Chicago to have earned the respect of her boss. She's a smart cookie and really innovative—and this is not her first rodeo doing what she does. She's gone to school for this, and she's completed internships. However, she's not the person who travelled during college. She was really, really focused on her jobs in the Midwest, and I don't think she's been abroad." Collins has since addressed the blunder on Instagram.
The writing team lived in Paris as part of their research
Creator Darren Star told Glamour that he had the whole writing team live in Paris so they could write a more authentic story. "I knew it would inform their writing since some of the writers hadn't experienced Paris," he said. "This way it would help them mirror the experience of Emily and find the nuances and reality of the situation."
Some of the cast lived together during filming
Lucas Bravo, who plays Gabriel, Ashley Park, who plays Mindy, and Samuel Arnold, who plays Julien all moved in together during production. "We moved in together and it was just so much fun," Bravo told Cosmopolitan.
Some of the show's French critics are not impressed
"The berets. The croissants. The baguettes. The hostile waiters. The irascible concierges. The inveterate philanderers. The lovers and the mistresses. Name a cliché about France and the French, you'll find it in Emily in Paris." That's just one of the many negative reviews by the show's French critics. Actor Lucas Bravo, who plays Gabriel, told Cosmopolitan that he agreed the show is clichéd, but doesn't necessarily see it as being a problem. "Reality is so rough these days, and we've been going through such a difficult time that I think the show is so light hearted, it's so colourful, the fashion, the romance, the traveling," he said. "Darren Star's vision is so colourful and alive and funny. People needed something to just escape."