Emily In Paris
Though Emily is in denial that she likes Gabriel, she continues to behave like someone who obviously totally likes Gabriel: bopping by the restaurant on her way into the office; being quite solicitous when she sees him; taking his photo for social. Antoine is also here to report that Sylvie has assigned Emily to run the press for the restaurant’s opening night, since Antoine’s firm is a Savoir client and Sylvie is a diabolical genius. Though Emily’s demeanor still makes no sense to me — she talks to Gabriel as if they have no history, no emotional connection, no weirdness … basically like strangers reciting dialogue to each other — I will say that I do like Emily’s black-and-red plaid skirt. Alas, not really feeling the nude patent-leather booties, which sort of just look like all her skin from the ankle down melted and congealed.
At the office, Sylvie is smoking inside just to make a point about how French she is. Savoir meets with a jewelry client with a new bracelet to market called Happy Hearts (ugh). As a promotional event, they’re having a boat ride where shoppers (who will be trapped on the boat; smart sales strategy) can try on the bracelet. Sylvie laments how “romance is so commercialized in America,” and while I agree, I do think this is sort of an odd criticism for a marketing executive to make. Doesn’t Sylvie want everything to be commercialized? She didn’t seem to have a problem commercializing sex last season.
At the end of the meeting, the client requests music for the party, but due to a miscommunication between Luc and Julien (who is being super-nice to Emily as if he were never her sworn nemesis … is no one paying attention to the plot of this program except for me??), there is no music, gasp! Emily suggests the most on-the-nose playlist you can imagine and then pitches live music. Finally, a good and story-centric use of Mindy. Emily brings Julien (did their fight even happen or did I merely hallucinate it?) to see Mindy and the guys play a lunchtime set, and — again, finally! — Mindy is singing in French! (Did this show throw in some English captions for your recapper? No, they did not, but vibe-wise it works, and if anyone can tell me what the lyrics are, please do.) Why are Mindy’s boobs hidden beneath a layer of marabou feathers? Oh well, her voice sounds lovely. Julien, who has no other options so this was really all a formality, agrees she should play the bracelet party. Julien is also hoping he can hook up with the guitarist. Mindy assures him her bandmates are single.
Emily goes to French class, where her partner Alfie is inexplicably rude and standoffish, as if I’m supposed to believe he wouldn’t be at least a little more down to be paired up with a literal model. I get that this character is supposed to be a foil for fair Emily and that’s why he hates “overhyped” Paris, attempting to learn French, and romance as a concept. But it’s absurd to think that this guy would plan to spend an entire year in Paris and not be grateful that his job is paying for him to go to French class so he can at least get a conversational grasp on the language. Making no effort doesn’t make a statement about “not investing in something that isn’t going to last”; it just makes him a prick. And I’m sorry, he hates tourist shit so he … eats at fake American diners? In Paris? To prove how interesting he is?
Also: Alfie is a banker working on the post-Brexit transition? On Emily in Paris? Why!? It’s not like our series is going to detour into some scintillating political commentary (which, by the way, I do not want). This is basically a rom-com, isn’t it? So why doesn’t Alfie have a cool job that would make him sexy and exciting and challenge Emily in a way that’s way more interesting than “hot girl convinces hot guy to eat a croissant and gaze at the Eiffel Tower instead of eat shitty burgers in a sports bar”? For instance: He could be a photographer who only wants to be an artist who shows in galleries because he says commerce and art cannot coexist, thus setting Emily up to be the one who convinces him to share his work on social media (this is her only skill) and to monetize it, probably by allowing a Savoir client to use some of his images in a campaign. Instead, he has a job we are guaranteed to never hear about again and the only useful thing about his being a banker is it explains why his suit at the boat party is so offensively dull. I honestly think they made him a banker because somebody wanted to throw in a Megxit/Brexit joke, and they reverse-engineered it from there.
But back to the show we are actually watching instead of the one I’ve imagined above: Emily is wearing an excellent dress — great color, perfect fit, just the right amount of whimsy — but it is an absurd choice for the office. I thought she was already dressed for the boat party here but nope, she just wore a very low, single-strap party dress to do a client presentation. Sure! Emily has made an entire PowerPoint for Gabriel and Antoine that’s literally just her saying, do Instagram. She will be coming by the restaurant to get behind-the-scenes footage of Gabriel at work. To this I ask, why would a marketing agency of Savoir’s caliber not employ a single photographer or videographer? (Now if only Alfie the banker were Alfie the filmmaker … bent on making films like his French New Wave idols but sweet-talked into slumming it in the advertising world by his French-class partner, Emily Cooper from Chicago … see the narrative possibilities already blooming??)
On the way out, Gabriel and Emily run into Camille and her family, a very awkward situation for all. Camille did not tell her parents about the breakup. She has chosen to wear a jacket with no shirt underneath it to a work meeting … okay. Camille eventually tells her parents everything, and their advice is awfully suspect. Dad’s attitude is, “In a long-term relationship, shit happens,” which, yeah, but … is no one but me mad that Gabriel was going to make this massive decision about moving to Normandy without even talking to his very serious girlfriend? And Mom says, if you still love this guy, I can fix it, just do everything I say. Camille, a grown-up, permits this.
That night, Emily shoots video of Gabriel by holding her phone two inches from his face. The back-and-forth they have over the “silly” photo of Gabriel is the first time I feel like these two have shown any real chemistry, but then their kiss actually just seems very … fine? I mean, of course they are both hot and the choreography is also technically hot, but is the kiss hot? Feel free to tell me I’m just being too mean to these beautiful dolls in the comments! They break apart to the sound of a woman arriving to interview for the bartender job. Her curls look FANTASTIC. Emily, take notes.
At work the next day, Sylvie gives Emily what I think is impeccable counsel: “You’ve got the rest of your life to be as dull as you wish. But while you’re here, fall in love, make mistakes, leave a disastrous trail in your wake.” I just find all of Emily’s choices so baffling. She keeps saying she is only in Paris for a year as if it’s some prison sentence, but obviously if her work were going well and she had no reason to rush home, she could just … stay? Was she planning to spend the entire year making absolutely no friends, having zero romantic or sexual encounters, and just isolating herself completely because she did not plan to be in Paris for the rest of her dopey days?
We do not have time to ponder this, though, because we have a lunch date: Camille has invited Emily to have a little chat that Emily, were she not the dumbest dumb-dumb alive, would be very suspicious about. Emily, this girl just called you “an illiterate sociopath”! No way is she over it already! But Emily flings herself into Camille’s trap, wherein Camille pretends to be so happy they can be friends again as long as they make a “pact” to never be with Gabriel. Genuinely insane that Emily agrees to this or even humors it?? Or doesn’t even push back to be like, “No, Camille, you can have him,” seeing as that’s what she’s been saying this whole time. Does Emily care about maintaining relationships or not? Because she’s all, I can’t be with Gabriel, I’m leaving town. But she’s willing to give up on great sex with this hot guy to save this friendship with Camille, even though wouldn’t the same rules apply re: Who cares, Emily is leaving Paris within a year?
Mindy, reading my mind, says she thought pacts were only for “countries at war and middle-school girls.” For some reason, Emily thinks it’s a good idea to stick to her pinkie swear and to not tell Gabriel that she and Camille spoke, or give him any real insight into her decision-making process at all. The only good thing I can say about her in this scene is that her robe is very cute.
At the boat party, Mindy sings a jazzy rendition of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” which means someone is, at last, listening to my notes about song choices in television shows. We quickly catch a professional photographer who seems VERY into Sylvie; hopefully he’ll be back in the next episode, because we don’t see him again tonight. Instead, we get a missed connection between the hot guitarist and Julien, since it turns out the guitarist isn’t gay; on the bright side, he’s totally into Mindy. Get it, Mindy!
Emily is in an excessively literal dress, as expected — white with red hearts, lined with rhinestones. At the end of the evening, she spots Gabriel outside the restaurant and breaks up with him in the most convoluted non-explanation you can imagine. (“You’re a Paris fantasy” … girl, he is real and he lives here! This is not a fantasy for him!) She says she cannot fall in love with him when they have an “expiration date.” Jesus, Emily, live in the moment and then download WhatsApp, who cares. I know we just got confirmation on her age, but this is really beneath a 29-year-old like her.