Emily is in a bind: Gabriel’s girlfriend is both beautiful and genuinely nice. If everyone in France is so sexually liberated, why doesn’t she angle for a spot as the unicorn in this relationship? Alas, Emily instead sees the whole thing as a nonstarter and decides she is going to avoid Camille and Gabriel, which is obviously impossible to do. To make this point unmissable, Camille pops by breakfast just to say hello and be in a selfie.
But at least her professional life appears to be on the upswing: Durée Cosmetics has slid into Emily’s DMs to invite her to an influencer lunch. Julian does not believe Emily is an influencer (correct), plus, Durée is a former client and the break-up was quite acrimonious. Emily tries to find out what happened and Julian tells her, “We do not speak of it.” Again I am forced to ask if Emily knows anything at all about offices, workplace culture, how to do your job without stepping in merde, etc., etc., because instead of, say, finding out what the fuck happened, she just briefly fishes for information about why this agency has no cosmetics account and then barges ahead with her plan to bring Durée back as a client. Never mind that perhaps her agency has no interest in Durée after whatever unspeakable thing went down, or that it is extremely outside the bounds of her laughable job description (“provide an American perspective!”) to solicit said client. Emily has PLUCK and MOXIE and NO SENSE OF BOUNDARIES and she will do as she likes. It’s the American way.
Meanwhile they’ve got this mattress company account, which I assume is mostly an excuse for Luc, the guy who would obviously have gotten Me Too-ed by now in any real workplace, to make jokes about “bringing this Eiffel tower to bed.” Emily, prudish American who apparently does not have access to Urban Dictionary, needs to have this sex position explained to her by her co-workers.
Having been at work for all of seven minutes, Emily is off to her influencer lunch — where she will of course be photographed promoting a brand her agency does not represent. EMILY. She is insulted upon arrival by getting a smaller gift bag than Cashmere the golden retriever because she doesn’t have as many followers as he does. She’s not really winning over any of these influencers and the only way she can get a meeting with the CMO, whose name is confusingly Olivia Thompson (so close to Emma Thompson but no relation! Boo) is to … post. And then this CMO is like, sitting in a little side room scrolling through the tagged posts to decide who she will talk to face to face. Can anyone tell me if this is a real thing that happens?
Even though it seems very clear that Emily will get in trouble for posting this kind of content for a non-client, Emily starts gushing about the high quality of Durée’s products. She pulls a strawberry off a wall display and says the lipstick is “smudge-proof, even when you’re BERRY hungry” and I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT THIS IS A WOMAN WITH THIS MANY FOLLOWERS OR THAT ANYONE IS IMPRESSED BY THAT CONTENT. But since the rules of the show require that everyone in a position of authority have the exact same emotional journey re: Emily — underestimate her, then be bemused/intrigued, then be impressed/smitten or at least offer begrudging respect — it takes no time at all for Emily to get the private meeting she was aiming for. Olivia knows of Emily from her viral moment (“The Daily Mail called it a retwat”) and wants Emily to be a brand ambassador. See, Durée doesn’t even use an agency anymore. Emily somehow manages to score a lunch with Olivia the following day (incredible that someone so important has so much free time for this shit) where she will continue her “charm” offensive.
That evening, Emily runs into Gabriel and Camille, who just insists Emily be a third wheel on their date, doesn’t that sound so fun?! Time for a montage straight out of a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie. Trying on hats! Group hugs! Sure! They go to this art installation where “Starry Night” is displayed in lights on the wall/ceiling/sky, and Emily confirms her freshman dorm level appreciation of culture by saying, “‘Starry Night,’ one of my favorites.” Camille and Gabriel reminisce about “the last time we slept under the stars”; Camille helpfully clarifies “we didn’t sleep.” When she gets up to talk to someone else, Emily apologizes to Gabriel for kissing him but points out he diiiiiid kiss her back. “It’s a normal reaction,” he says. Cool, cool. I would think a normal reaction when you have a girlfriend is to say, “Hey, sorry, but I have a girlfriend.” But what do I know? I’m an American.
Time for the meeting with the mattress company. Why exactly the agency staffers don’t meet before the meeting to plan out what they’ll pitch, and in what order, and eliminate surprises like the one that is about to unfold, makes absolutely no sense to me. Sylvie’s idea is to have models sleep on the mattress all day in a window on the Champs-Élysées, because “watching the act of sleep is intoxicating.” Mattress lady is underwhelmed by this, so Emily bravely pitches her idea: Sleeping under the stars! Take the bed to the most photographable places in the city — like the Louvre, LOL — and let real dreamers post pictures of themselves on it. It’s all very Museum of Ice Cream. Dopey and gimmicky and probably would do okay except wouldn’t people find it a little germy/gross? As a bedbugs survivor, I’d be totally grossed out by this.
High on this success, Emily meets Olivia for lunch. I love that Olivia says Emily is the best type of influencer because “you don’t even know you’re an influencer.” Emily reveals that she is not just a guileless little Instagram star; she’s a marketing executive at Savoir! “I fired your agency,” Olivia informs her. “They’re a very expensive dinosaur.” She tries to sell Emily on leaving the agency to be an influencer full-time and warns her to look after herself. “I know Sylvie won’t.” HMM.
Upon her return to the office, Emily meets a perfectly dressed Sylvie who lets her know that now the mattress client wants the bed in the Louvre, and that’s what you get for overpromising! (Again, this seems like poor management on Sylvie’s part not to screen pitches before the meeting.) Also, DUH, Emily is in trouble for flirting with and posting about Durée without consulting her boss. After some requisite dragging of Emily — “If you’re their new arbiter of taste, we want nothing to do with them”; “You are the ENEMY of luxury, because luxury is defined by sophistication and taste, not Emily in Paris.” — Sylvie tells Emily the obvious: her social media is a problem. How does Emily think the brands who actually pay Savoir to represent them feel about Emily’s unpaid #sponcon? Excellent question! Sylvie demands Emily delete her account.
I regret to inform you that what follows is an unironic farewell tour for Emily’s Instagram, which includes Mindy swooning over Emily’s horrible captions (“Oooh, you dropped your crêpe! #ohcrêpe!”) and even more aggressively basic posts: piggyback rides, balloons, other such giggly frivolity. They walk down a beautiful street and I am sorry I did not catch the name of it but it’s “the most photogenic street in Paris.” Here Emily shares that, what do you know, nobody can put a bed in the Louvre except Beyoncé. Her job hangs in the balance for yet another avertable disaster.
All drunk and stumble-y, Emily bumps into Gabriel on her way into the building. Because the show wants us to like her, she is definitely not going to have sex with him (… yet) but he does admit, “It wasn’t just you. I felt it too.” Maybe this show hits different for a younger viewer but from my perch as a peer of Lily Collins, I feel like it’s obvious that Gabriel just … sucks? He’s a total fuckboy.
For now, Emily is vindicated in her personal life and, being made to suffer the consequences of her actions for maybe half a work day, it is time for her to be vindicated in her professional life, too: The mattress client saw her post and loved the special street and wants the bed there instead. She also wants Emily to pose on said bed. “Why me????” asks Emily, who is played by an actual model and real-life influencer. Sylvie replies, “I’ve been asking that question ever since you arrived.” Emily is permitted to reactive her account but she can only post for her clients. Which, duh!
Emily invites Camille to this daytime-slumber-party-as-Instagram-bait. Just to make sure we will feel REALLY conflicted if/when Emily and Gabriel are a thing, Camille tells Emily, “I’m so glad he has a nice neighbor like you.” Gabriel sees his girlfriend and his crush lounging in bed together on Instagram, breathes in the deep breath of a man with the best problem in the world, and taps that heart.
This is the part of the recap where I list the most egregious, eye-roll-inducing, come-ON-now clichés, and then award each episode a special cliché rating.
• I feel like it’s not fair to put all the Instagram clichés on here because those are as American as anything else. Because this episode was 80 percent Emily’s very basic and grating Instagram presence, this section is short this time!
• Camille has to twist Emily’s scarf to the side just to make sure she’s wearing it “the French way.”
• Don’t worry we can always count on Mindy, who assures Emily: “French men are flirts.” Literally all of them, every last one.
Cliche rating: Wearing lipstick to eat crêpes and flirt with someone else’s boyfriend