Some shows are pretty and starry-eyed and that’s enough to charm, even while the story line is extremely familiar. We’ve seen the rom-com tropes that make up “Emily in Paris” before, as a beautiful millennial American woman, who is a social media expert and newly single in Paris, lives upstairs from a tres, tres handsome guy. We’ve seen her can-do attitude come up against French snobbery, and we’ve seen her get picked on, “The Devil Wears Prada”-like, by her boss.
And yet I gobbled up the 10 episodes of the fluffy Netflix show, available on Friday. If nothing else, it’s an escape from, you know, everything, as well as a ravishing tour of the City of Light. It’s travel porn, with a plot.
One helpful bit of information: “Emily in Paris” is from Darren Star, whose resume includes “Sex and the City,” “Younger,” and “Melrose Place.” So our heroine, Lily Collins’s Emily, gets into her semi-comic soap operatics wearing fabulous fashions, not unlike Carrie Bradshaw from “Sex” (and from the same stylist, Patricia Field), and all of her meet-cutes and sexual encounters are adorable. There are bad puns and “Sex”-like girl chats with her new bestie, Ashley Park’s Mindy, who is in Paris hiding from her wealthy parents in China, and there are countless picturesque cafes. You’ve seen it all before, but, again, it’s just so very easy to look at, and the half-hour episodes pass by briskly.
Collins is right for the role, in that she is sufficiently annoying as an American who has come to show the French just how brilliant she is, despite their disinterest in her. Emily obsessively posts her journey in Paris on Instagram, because nothing quite registers for her unless she does. She is persistent, and she doesn’t speak French, and you can sympathize with her boss, Sylvie, who is sophisticated and glamorous and exhausted by Emily’s pluckiness. Sylvie is beautifully played by Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, who steals the show with her hauteur. There are many, many scenes of Sylvie sighing with disgust over Emily, bemoaning the younger woman’s lack of subtlety. I savored each one.