I’ve been addicted to the Netflix show Emily in Paris the past two weeks. I’m late to the city on this one. It first aired in October 2020 and was, according to Netflix, their most streamed comedy series of the year. You’d think I would’ve tuned in earlier since it’s created by Darren Star, who’s responsible for two of my other beloved shows, Sex in the City and Younger. I guess I needed to wait until I was in the right frame of mind to appreciate Emily.
It’s bingeable, fun, and beautiful to watch. I’m having flashbacks to my high school French class days and my short-lived trip to Paris several years ago. Now I want to both brush up on the language and revisit the city. But that’s a story for another day. I enjoy Emily’s short and pithy social media style and appreciate her modern embodiment of the Pollyanna archetype. Surprisingly, a snarky-snark like myself, who trés adores the scathingly witty boss Sylvie, is actually warmed by Emily’s sunshine outlook. Even when the aforementioned Sylvie takes her down a peg, Emily doesn’t let it get her down. As someone who can let everything get me down, I find this inspiring.
The other fun element of the show is the tension between French and American sensibilities, particularly when it comes to romance, sex, and love. One of the main plot points of the first season is a love triangle. Emily’s attracted to her downstairs neighbor Gabriel, only to find out that he’s the boyfriend of Camille, a chic and generous-spirited champagne heiress Emily recently befriended. In a previous blog post I made a reference to the two girls fighting over a guy á la Betty, Veronica and Archie trope. Two women fighting over one man is not my favorite. In this setup, though, the central dilemma is how Emily is torn between her attraction to one vs her developing friendship with another. It’s more about Emily choosing between a romantic partner and a new friend.
The show flirts with the idea of a ménage a trois solution to the Emily / Gabriel / Camille situation. There’s a scene where the three of them go to a Van Gogh immersive exhibit. They’re sitting on the floor, talking about sleeping under the stars, looking for all the world like a romantic unit of three.
Later in the episode, Emily posts a picture of her and Camille in a bed as part of a marketing stunt for a mattress company. When Gabriel sees the photo you can see his mind just spinning. He’s turned on by them together. By extension we are, too. (I know it wasn’t just me.)
In another episode, one of Emily‘s coworkers, Luc, takes her to a showing of the French film Jules et Jim. It’s about a ménage a trois, and Luc’s thinking that it’ll give her inspiration for a solution to her situation. Never mind that in true “French-ending” loving Luc fashion, the story doesn’t end well. But the way in which Emily takes aspects of the film and tries to use them to remedy her situation is hilarious.
As with any good love triangle, there’s a case to be made for either coupling. Sometimes you want them to be with both choices, have their cake and eat it too. I like Emily and Gabriel, I like Camille and Gabriel, and Emily and Camille get along so well together that I could see them sharing the same man. The series probably won’t go that route, but it leaves lots of intriguing material for the imagination.
Are you watching Emily in Paris? Which pairing are you rooting for?