While the show was created by Darren Star (“Younger,” “Sex and the City,” “Beverly Hills, 90210”), another apt comparison might be to heroines of the Amy Sherman-Palladino universe. Like the Gilmore girls, Emily is strong-willed and refuses to let anything get in the way of her schemes. Like Midge Maisel, her actions can be quite rash, but she still wins over her fictional acquaintances while utterly baffling viewers.
“Emily in Paris” is a real head-scratcher that has been “blasted by French critics.” It’s also extremely bingeable, as evidenced by its near-immediate presence in Netflix’s Top 10 after its release Friday. Spanning just 10 half-hour episodes, this is the sort of series you watch with a grimace and a creeping sense of secondhand embarrassment. But you’re still watching it! And you’ll think of it for days to come.
You’ve read to this point, which suggests you, too, are invested in Emily’s cliche Parisian life. Have you also been left with too many unanswered questions? Join us as we unpack our own. (Spoilers, of course.)
- Do none of Emily’s American colleagues speak French, either, or are we supposed to believe she’s just that much better at her job than everyone else? How could they know that to be true, when this job is in luxury goods and she only has experience marketing pharmaceuticals? Our deepest sympathies to whoever is the Chicago office’s equivalent of Emily Blunt in “The Devil Wears Prada.”
- Emily insults Lou Malnati’s within the first 15 minutes of this show, a personal affront to this reporter (who hails from a Chicago suburb). Which deep dish joint would Emily recommend to tourists?
- Yes, she is American, but are we supposed to believe Emily’s main reference points for Paris are “Moulin Rouge!” and “Ratatouille”? Do I almost respect this level of cluelessness?
- Emily’s hot neighbor, Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), looks a lot like Armie Hammer, and this is clearly his “Gossip Girl.” What will be his “Social Network”? His “Call Me by Your Name”?
- How did Emily manage to quadruple her Instagram following in a few days with such inane, cliched posts? There are far superior Parisian influencers out there. Is it just because she’s hot?
- Why is Emily so sure her American perspective is always the right one? Her colleagues can be rude and old-fashioned at times, but she seems a bit too proud of her cultural ignorance. Sylvie rightfully criticizes Emily at one point, saying: “You come to Paris. You walk into my office. You don’t even bother to learn the language. You treat the city like it’s your amusement park. And after a year of food, sex, wine and maybe some culture, you’ll go back to where you came from.”
- Is there ever going to be a reckoning with the firm’s culture of verbal abuse and sexual harassment? How do French viewers feel about the show passing some of this behavior off as part of their culture? The conversations about sexism feel quite dated, too, such as when Emily explains the concept of the male gaze to a client while they shoot a perfume commercial starring a naked model.
- If Emily were truly Midwest Nice, she would passively aggressively gripe about her rare steak being undercooked instead of sending it back to the kitchen before she has even taken a bite. But more importantly, why is her refusal to eat the steak supposed to be charming?
- Why does Emily act as if she is better than the French women at the spin studio? How does she know they don’t eat croissants in their downtime, too? And so what if they don’t?
- Emily’s over-the-top wardrobe might be the best, most ridiculous part of this show. Where does she store all of these blazers in her tiny apartment intended for a housekeeper?
- She tried to wash a cast iron skillet belonging to Gabriel, A LITERAL CHEF, with dish soap! That’s it. That’s the last straw. (Sorry, this question is more of a comment.)
- Not to sound like my parents, but who does the actor playing Randy Zimmer remind me of? He definitely has the “I could play a visiting surgeon on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’” look going for him. (Speaking of, Kate Walsh is wildly underused as Emily’s American boss, Madeline.)
- Praise for the Container Store! Might this be the most relatable thing about Emily?
- Do you think Phil Collins, father of Lily, has seen this show?
- Sylvie advised Emily to delete her Instagram account, so maybe she is the show’s actual hero?
- A gold Eiffel Tower bag charm? Oh no. Who’s going to tell Emily that she is, in fact, ringarde (which apparently means “basic”)? Does this mean Timothée Chalamet is also ringard?
- No, seriously, what does Phil Collins think of this show?
- As Emily heads to the ballet, she runs into Gabriel, who tells her the French professor she’s dating is a snob. He’s right — the professor is justifiably tired of “Swan Lake,” but then refuses to see it with her anyway and also calls everything “overrated.” But is it better to outwardly be a jerk, as opposed to Gabriel, a secret jerk who pursued Emily while he was still dating the lovely Camille (Camille Razat)?
- More Chicagoland trivia here, but Emily mentions buying her tacky bag charm from an outlet mall in Winnetka, Ill., because it was all she could afford from the sort of designers Serena Van der Woodsen wore on “Gossip Girl.” What nonexistent Winnetka outlet mall does she speak of?
- Who is the real-life equivalent of Brooklyn Clark (Carlson Young), the hard-partying movie star Emily is in charge of babysitting ahead of a jewelry campaign launch?
- Why does Camille’s 17-year-old brother — named Timothée! — look like he’s 30? Is this “Glee”?
- I do not have a master’s degree in marketing, but are some of Emily’s ideas … bad? Advertising champagne as the “official spray of Paris” is on par with Jenna Rink’s pitch at the end of “13 Going on 30.” (Who cares that your neighbor’s kid graduated high school? Congrats to Jimmy, I guess!)
- Why won’t the male clients in this show leave Emily alone? Between Antoine (William Abadie) and Mathieu (Charles Martins), it’s high time to put everyone through sensitivity training.
- Emily traded her countless berets for a newsboy cap! Who does she think she is, Brad Pitt?
- Do you think the music supervisor realized Édith Piaf’s “Non, je ne regrette rien” is the song used to signal an incoming kick in “Inception” — or the jolt that sends the sleeper into another level of the dream — when they chose to play it at the very, very end of this show? Did Gabriel really choose to stay in Paris, or is this all a dream? Is the bag charm Emily’s totem? What an ending! Christopher Nolan could never.