Emily in Paris
Emily spots Sylvie through a store window and instead of leaving her boss to enjoy this pre-work shopping jaunt in peace she knocks on the glass because she has learned nothing about how not to be tacky. Sylvie is, as ever, in a fantastic outfit — long leather trench, tan skirt with that signature high slit — and refuses to divulge to Emily any additional information about an upcoming vacation she’ll be taking. Emily, hilariously, assures her “You can count on me to make sure everything runs smoothly while you’re gone!” Oh, can she now?
An American actress, Brooklyn Clark, will be in town for the launch of the Fourtier flagship store. Emily, an idiot, is overjoyed that she GETS to babysit this movie star, who you just know is going to be an uncontrollable nightmare. And I get that the show needs Brooklyn to be in romantic comedies so that her movies can serve as a springboard for yet another conversation about how American and French social norms around romance and sex are SO different. But is there any American movie star under the age of 35 who attained said movie star status by starring in romantic comedies? I know the rom-com is making a small-screen comeback and I don’t mean to knock the delightful offerings elsewhere on Netflix, your To All the Boys and your Set It Up and the like. But the leads of those straight-to-streaming movies are not what I would call movie stars. In real life, a Brooklyn Clark would be famous for playing a superhero in the MCU, starring in the adaptation of some best-selling YA novel, or a winning turn in some Oscar bait, not for playing the lead in Maid of Dishonor, which I am supposed to buy was a blockbuster, like, recently.
Speaking of things that are dated, can we talk about Emily’s hair? (Catty, I know! But this is the kind of deep analysis Vulture is paying me for.) Like, the uniform, curling-ironed, Victoria’s Secret–lite waves? Is anyone outside of the Real Housewives franchise still doing that?
But let’s get to the reason Brooklyn needs to be a rom-com starlet: So Luc can tell Emily that American romantic comedies are “dishonest.” “Here we like more of a French ending … more like LIFE. He dies, or loses a limb, or she proves to be a lesbian.” I mean, we have those! Emily goes to the movies to escape life; Luc says “thinking you can escape life is your problem.”
Emily is wearing a magenta bucket hat and bright purple booties. WHY. In a not-at-all shocking twist, Brooklyn is an even ruder and more oblivious American than Emily, calling the concierge Ratatouille (why are the writers of this show so obsessed with that movie?) and asking Emily if she has any weed. What is Brooklyn going to WEAR to this launch?! Brooklyn refers to the romper she wore to the VMAs as “atrocious” and calls out her own cameltoe. Is this a Taylor Swift subtweet? She strips down to her underwear as Emily suggests Pierre Cadault, and Brooklyn replies by announcing she didn’t even realize he was still alive. “Love that for him.” Then she asks Emily to give her 15 minutes. “I have to masturbate after a long flight.” Yet again I am forced to question how old Emily is and/or if she experienced blunt head trauma before this fair series began, because I have to believe that any real adult over the age of … 22? Knows that actors are not at all like the people they play in movies and that this girl was going to be, to be gentle about it, a handful.
Nobody can make it to this big launch party with Emily except, of course, for Gabriel. Gabriel is having some issues because his devoted, adoring girlfriend’s exceptionally rich parents want to loan him the money he needs to buy the restaurant, but Gabriel is too proud to accept it. Camille’s famous last words here are “maybe it’s good for Gabriel and I to have some time apart this weekend.”
While Brooklyn, sans underwear, tries on all of the Pierre Cadault outfit options, Mathieu, Pierre’s nephew and the guy who really runs the business, pops in to add yet another potential contender for Emily’s affection into the mix. A little late in the season for that kind of thing, no? Wouldn’t it be more dramatic and interesting if Antoine kept showing up, drawing Emily into a complicated but too-tempting-to-turn-down affair that would jeopardize her career and burgeoning relationship with Sylvie? We will not be finding out! Emily sweet-talks Mathieu into agreeing to let Brooklyn wear a dress, and he consents as long as it’s “nothing cliché.” Oh. OH. Don’t you worry, Mathieu. Brooklyn is in the hands of a young woman who unironically wears bucket hats.
All of that fuss results in Brooklyn wearing an extremely basic dress, just this strapless shiny thing that looks like she picked it up at Zara on her way to the party. Again, not that this is SO necessary, but it would help if Pierre had some recognizable aesthetic or a signature look or whatever, so it actually meant something when somebody wore one of his dresses. It doesn’t really make sense that we’re supposed to think Pierre is this incredible designer but Brooklyn’s dress is so meh and forgettable; meanwhile Sylvie rolls up in this Atonement-green number that, paired with her withering stare, looks utterly impeccable.
Someone from Savoir needs to sign a waiver — written in French, unreadable by Emily — that has something to do with the $2 million watch that the notably responsible and restrained Brooklyn is wearing all night. Surely this won’t present any problems for Emily, who signs with virtually no hesitation!
Also in attendance: Antoine and his wife. Emily tries to give Syvie a heads up and Sylvie, as is her standard practice, does not want to hear anything Emily has to say. As Gabriel approaches, Brooklyn stage-whispers to Emily that “the hottest guy at the party is walking over here” (again, I find this unlikely, but ooookay) and Gabriel is thoroughly uncharmed by Brooklyn, because he is FRENCH and he has no patience for these unsubtle, obnoxious Americans. I’m sure all French actors are gracious and lovely and never rude to anyone.
As Antoine walks over, Emily is all quick put your arm around me and pretend we’re a thing!!!! So she and Gabriel stand as if they are a couple while all these other couples collide. Well, it turns out Antoine’s assistant accidentally CC’ed Antoine’s wife on a hotel reservation for St. Bart’s — the trip he was planning to take with Sylvie. That vacation she was all happy about? Poof, no more. Everyone is trying to be cool about this and no one is succeeding. Sylvie disappears into the night, as does Brooklyn, and the fact that it does not even occur to Emily at this moment that Brooklyn was supposed to return the watch is just more evidence that Emily has no clue how to do her job.
Emily panics (“I’M GONNA LOSE MY JOB”) and Gabriel states the obvious (“…or you could just call the driver?”) and our trio winds up at a nightclub, where Brooklyn is already sloshed and Emily is not far behind. Brooklyn quotes her own (obviously fake, would never have been a hit in the U.S., I’m sorry but come ON) movie as she toasts to a night where they can “lose ourselves and find adventure.” Also Brooklyn took molly, lol.
Gabriel, liberated from the pesky strictures of monogamy now that his trusting girlfriend has left town briefly for a business trip, dances with Emily and gives her fuck-me eyes until she flings herself into his arms for a dance floor makeout. Meanwhile she has missed 10,000 calls from Fourtier. I wanted to believe in this guy, but being the guy with a girlfriend who just wants to sabotage Emily’s other romantic and sexual prospects so he can have her undivided attention, all while being dishonest with his girlfriend and gaslighting everyone into thinking he and Emily are just friends… it’s just such classic fuckboy nonsense, wherever you are in the world. Even in Paris.
Emily learns the obvious — Fourtier needed the watch back — and then another obvious thing, which is that Brooklyn did not go to the bathroom when she said she was going to the bathroom. The Uber she and Gabriel need to go to Brooklyn’s hotel is taking forever so Gabriel whisks her away on a vespa. Is there a Citibike but for Vespas in Paris? Does it come with those helmets? If so, tres cool. If not… where has Gabriel been storing those helmets all night, and why did he bring two?
Gabriel tells Emily the best thing they can do, since they can’t get into Brooklyn’s room (no one remembers her alias) is to have a drink in the hotel bar. “I AM NOT THE GIRL WHO MAKES BAD DECISIONS,” whines Emily, a woman who has made mostly bad decisions ever since we met her. Gabriel tells her it wouldn’t be so bad for her to lose her job so she could take a year to putz around “and fall in love.” I wish she would throw her drink in his face but she does no such thing.
Sylvie shows up at 2 a.m. to chastise Emily for her relentless fuckuppery and threaten the concierge so that she can be let up to Brooklyn’s room. When they get there, Brooklyn has trashed the suite (duh) and is having sex with some random dude (duh again). “I was gonna bring it back,” she says of the watch. “I wasn’t going to wait all night for you to come,” Sylvie replies. “I’m not him.” God bless Sylvie.
Emily gets a good photograph of the dress in the party detritus on the ground, which I know she will ruin with a pathetic caption. (Sure enough, she does: “#AboutLastNight…” Is she even trying?) As they leave this sad little scene, Emily tells Sylvie how much she admires her and how she deserves more than her arrangement with Antoine. Thank you for this relationship advice, Emily. “I don’t want 100 percent of anyone and I don’t want anyone to have 100 percent of me,” Sylvie says, informing Emily that her vision of romance is “a fairy tale.”
Of course Gabriel is just waiting there by the vespa to take Emily to “a little crepe stand and watch the sun come up,” as one is wont to do with their platonic friends. Emily blurts out that she cannot do this because she wants MORE. She cannot SHARE a crepe; she needs the WHOLE CREPE. They can’t see each other anymore, she informs him, and good for her but also maybe just take the ride home because it’s like 3 a.m. and you speak no French?
In the morning, Emily’s photo and its dippy little caption are blowing up. Emily offers a girls trip to Sylvie, maybe Disneyland Paris? Sylvie, my hero: “Get out of my office.”
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.
• Obviously the whole conversation about why French people don’t like American rom-coms because they’re too “dishonest” ranks here, and I will punctuate this with Julian just unnecessarily and inexplicably telling Emily, “Welcome to the French ending” just because their conversation was over.
• “You don’t come to Paris to be good.” Gabriel, no. If you live in Paris you don’t get to use “we’re in Paris!” as an excuse for cheating on your girlfriend.
Cliché rating: A romantic French film about a man and his mistress that ends in his death (she loses a leg). How like LIFE.