Emily in Paris, Season 3: Bright, fashionable blunders in the City of Lights

Emily in Paris
In Season 3 of Emily in Paris, the heroine, an American expat, tries to find her place among a web of characters in the French capital. (Photos: Netflix)
The third season of Emily in Paris, chronicling the experiences of a personality we love to hate, was released on Netflix on Wednesday, giving exactly the needed dose of comedy and cliché to finish off 2022 still cringing and chuckling. اضافة اعلان

A romantic comedy directed by Darren Star, Emily in Paris show a true clash of cultures, playing with classic cliches in a way that borders on the ridiculous. At the end of the second season, Emily, the well-dressed American lost in pristine Paris, had to make a difficult choice: to stay in the French capital, to return home to Chicago, or to follow her newest fling to London.

This third season is made up of ten episodes, and the scenes are vibrant with outfits that look like they tumbled out of a fashion week truck, complicated love stories, and haughty characters who complain and flirt relentlessly.

The plot is sprinkled with improbabilities — like when the girl who sings in the street finds herself on the stage of a great Parisian jazz club overnight. However, the characters do have a bit of much-needed depth, which is portrayed through quality acting. Emily (Lily Collins) is a real breath of fresh air, while her hysterical American boss, Madeline (Kate Walsh), brings a dramatic flair.

A city of dreamsThe third season begins with a hair mishap: Emily, alone with her mirror and her doubts, grabs her scissors and chops off some locks, leaving questionable bangs. But not all views in the city of the Eiffel Tower are as malapropos as that of Emily’s hair. Like previous seasons, this one is enchantedly haunted by the clean, beautiful Paris that smells of perfume, where people quote Sartre early in the morning and where McDonald's windows look like those of a Cédric Grolet pastry shop.

This is not quite how real Paris portrays itself, but in Emily in Paris, we want to believe it. Beautiful people, slightly silly romanticism, all decorated with garlands and lanterns with a view of the Seine — it feels good.

The Darren Star method is to present us with something luscious, like a cake or a box of chocolates. After devouring his sweets, do not be surprised if you develop a little stomachache.

Then, without warning, Star begins to dig into the truth of his characters. Little by little, he aims for the heart.

Emily is battling contradictory impulses, trying to extricate herself from a quandary between her American boss Madeleine, who taught her everything, and the French Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu), who has set up her own enterprise and offers the heroine to follow her. This conflict of loyalty takes precedence over the love triangle between Emily, her English boyfriend Alfie, and the handsome Gabriel who she met in Paris.

Collins’ performance is applauded by her director. “She has made her mark in her area of expertise and in the City of Light,” says Star. Even the wardrobes bear witness to her impact: Emily's closet is full of exuberant outfits (think iridescent skirt, and sequined midnight-blue suit).

Third time’s the charmAfter a first season so hazardous that we remained glued to the screen, Emily in Paris had disappointed with its Season 2 as Netflix and Star overcorrected some of Season 1’s improbabilities. Critics commented that the second parcel of episodes was short on the aberrant (and therefore funny) elements of Parisian life, leading the series to become just another soulless consumer product. But does Season 3 confirm this trajectory?

What made the success of the first season (especially internationally) was, of course, its unrealistic painting of "the most beautiful capital in the world", which more or less played on Paris à la Disneyland through an ignorant, cliché, and even xenophobic look. 
Like previous seasons, this one is enchantedly haunted by the clean, beautiful Paris that smells of perfume, where people quote Sartre early in the morning and where McDonald's windows look like those of a Cédric Grolet pastry shop.
Therein lay the accident-prone magic of the first season, so off-the-mark that it was amusing. But Netflix obviously listened to the criticisms of internet users and corrected the situation a little too much, leaving Season 2 with a floppy plotline and less of the boffo dramaticism Season 1 fans had come to know and love. 

However, the flashy French playground resumes its unrealistic role in this third round of episodes — perhaps even more so than the first. Luxury hotels, rooftops, private clubs, and castles in Provence: Emily in Paris (part three) depicts an attractive and elitist world that only exists in the dreams of most of its audience.

In short, a certain idea of paradise through portals of luxury and sequins manages to draw in fans once again. And the plot follows suit: the problems Emily faces, both great and small, seem to inevitably be solved with a deus-ex-machina snap of a finger.

Netflix’s EmilyParadoxically, a political unconsciousness almost accentuates the candid charm of the series, like that of dear Emily, who draws in audiences with her modern Audrey Hepburn charm. Now a seasoned Parisian, the challenge for the young woman is no longer so much to integrate and understand local customs, but to find her place within a previously established circle of characters. The series has blossomed from seeds sown in the first two seasons, becoming devilishly entertaining, especially as the drama around its love triangle evolves. 

This does not necessarily mean that the writing is suddenly better, but putting aside its most blatant faults and focusing on its achievements, it could garner for itself a lukewarm or even warmer rating typical of productions of the red N.

What makes Emily in Paris a perfect example of Netflix's methodology is that it really did take three seasons for this (intentionally) blundering series to find its stride.

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