Emily in Paris: Why the most 'hate-watched' show on Netflix is dividing viewers


Netflix series Emily in Paris has divided viewers across the globe.

Since it dropped here in the UK on Friday evening, it’s been one of the most popular programmes on the streaming site, with many admitting to “hate watching” but being hooked nonetheless.

The show which many spent the weekend binging has been slammed by French critics, who claim it’s “embarrassing” and “deplorable” as well as unrealistic.

It has also come under fire from subscribers for its stereotypes, cliches, writing and less than favourable portrayal of native Parisians.

Created by Darren Starr, the man behind Sex and the City Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place, and starring Lily Collins, there are ten half-hour episodes available to watch on Netflix now.

So why exactly is the series capturing the attention of those who love to hate it?

Here are ten talking points about Emily in Paris.

What’s it about?


The show follows young American career woman Emily, played by Lily Collins. She leaves behind her life in Chicago and boring boyfriend for a dream job as a social media strategist for a luxury French marketing company owned by the bigger American firm she works for back home.

Once in the ‘city of love’ she starts to explore all that it has to offer, setting out to make new friends and find culture and romance.

Emily finds it hard to settle in as she can’t speak a word of French, but thanks to her endless enthusiasm, she ploughs on and soon life, of course, starts looking rosier.

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Is it cliched?


Does a French woman skip meals for cigarettes and worship at the throne of tasty croissants?

You bet.

The stereotypes start off from the get-go, with Emily blown away by the bounty of baked goods on offer across Paris, while she is shunned at first by snooty co-workers Julien and Luke (Bruno Gouery and Samuel Arnold).

There’s even the sexy, stylish, older female boss, Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Bealieu) who berates the young American for eating, breathing and her general zest for life.

What did critics say?

A still from Netflix show Emily in Paris

American critics were kind, calling the show “watchable”.

French critics, not so kind.

The french version of IMDb, AlloCiné, said the plot was “embarrassing” and said the programme gave off the “completely wrong image of Paris”.

The site added: “It’s ridiculous, badly acted”…”In this series the French are described as arrogant, dirty, lazy, mean, bitter… but luckily this young American arrives to explain to us how life works.”

They went on: “It’s just deplorable, I wonder how French actors were able to agree to play in this series.”

Les Inrocks said Paris was not recognisable and was more like “Ratatouille” than the real version.

Sens Critique didn’t hold back either: “The writers may have hesitated for two or three minutes to stick a baguette under each Frenchman, or even a beret to clearly distinguish them, on the other hand, they all smoke cigarettes and flirt to death.”

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What about the fashion?

Lily Collins plays the main character in Emily in Paris
Lily Collins plays the main character in Emily in Paris

The one thing that can’t be blasted about this show, is of course, the outfits.

Collins and her pals are decked out in clothes and accessories that are chic as you’d expect from man behind Sex and The City. The colours, the coats, the dresses, the bags, the shoes. They’re to die for and Carrie Bradshaw would agree.

Only one question though, would you really don a beret in one of the most fashionable places in thee world and not get laughed at? We wouldn’t risk it.

Is it believable?

The series was shot on location in Paris

Of course not. From the tired generalisations of the French population, to the removal of the more gritty aspects of Paris life, there’s nothing that realistic about this show. Not even Emily’s rise to Instagram domination.

Having arrived in the city with just 48 followers, there have been a few eyebrows raised by real life stars of the site as to how her account blows up so quickly. Soon she’s a fully fledged influencer with more than 20,000 followers on the back of some photos of the Eiffel Tower and the odd pain au chocolat, using hashtags like #roomwithaview and #Ohcrepe. Yeah, wouldn’t happen in 2020, but it’s nice to think it would.

Should you watch it?


We’re not telling you what to hate-watch or not, all we’re telling you is be prepared to be hooked if you tune in and expect to mock it.

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Like us, you could find yourself utterly obsessed in the space of ten minutes and next thing you know you’ll have binge-watched the whole series and lost five hours of your life.

It’s silly but fun and pretty to look at. Think a rubbish Gossip Girl without Ed Westwick, meets Sex and The City via The Devil Wears Prada.

Ooh lala, we cannot wait for season two.





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