Emily in Paris season 3 recap: This cliche-ridden show isn’t as smart as it thinks it is

Emily in Paris had quite a ride. The first season, about a Chicago PR girl who heads to the city of love, was critically ridiculed and hailed as a sign that Netflix was abandoning quality television and producing formulaic shows instead (two years and a bazillion true crimes later, that verdict feels seriously prophetic). But creator Darren Star promised to iron out the kinks, and as season two rolled around, reviewers turned and claimed the show is now completely “in the joke”. When the third episode of Episodes arrives on Netflix, I’m not convinced. Is it enough for a show to intervene in the joke if the joke isn’t good? Does knowing your show is cliche make it immune to criticism?

The third part begins just days after last season’s cliffhanger finale, in which the adorable — we’re told — Emily (Lily Collins) was in a state of professional, emotional, and geographic limbo. Will she follow the aloof Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) to her new PR agency, or will she return to Chicago with heavily pregnant boss Madeline (Kate Walsh)? Will she choose British boyfriend Alfie (Lucien Laviscount) or former fling Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), who is back with his ex anyway? In her French class, Emily is asked to translate a quote from Sartre: “Ne pas choisir c’est encore choisir.” Not choosing is still choosing.

On the nose? You haven’t seen anything yet. In Emily in Paris, an exposure-heavy script ensures that nothing is left open to interpretation. In a nod to her romcom grandmothers, Emily channels her panic by cutting a dodgy bangs – one that eight seconds later looks miraculously flawless. “Those are just bangs. Sometimes people cut bangs when everything’s fine!” She insists the comment is a wink at the audience that’s as subtle as a slap in the face.

At this point, there is little to write about Collins’ performance as Emily that has not been said. She’s not as adorable as the show would have us believe, but no one could call Collins boring — and she pulls off some great facial expressions, frequently raising her eyebrows so high they touch her hairline. As she struggles to choose between bosses, she is pushed from garish, overbearing Madeline to impossibly chic Sylvie, who is never without an existential cigarette in hand. While many of the supporting roles have gained depth over the years (particularly Ashley Park as Emily’s roommate Mindy has a busy schedule this season), Madeline still feels like an afterthought.

Lucien Laviscount and Lily Collins

(Stephanie Branch/Netflix)

The high fashion world of Emily in Paris (aka her slightly ridiculous wardrobe) continues to be the best thing about this show. In the opening scene, she’s a vision in pink hearts and plush ostrich feathers, while later she dons a silver metallic zebra-print jacket with jagged sleeves that add a good meter to her shoulder span. Love them or love them hate them, they are a couture talking point. But they feel at odds with the first episode, which is essentially a 40-minute McDonald’s ad full of clunky product placements. For all the attempts to categorize it, comments like “I didn’t want you to do a McMistake” and “I don’t love it that much anymore” are sure to turn your stomach more than a 2 o’clock Big Mac. In those moments Emily in Paris lost me, the show descending from a respectable comme ci, comme ca too straight Merde.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/reviews/emily-in-paris-season-3-review-b2248666.html Emily in Paris season 3 recap: This cliche-ridden show isn’t as smart as it thinks it is

JOE HERNANDEZ

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