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Emily In Paris review: season 3 simply extends the show's mindless extravaganza

Congratulations to Netflix for making Emily In Paris one of the most glamorous yet insipid series on TV

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Lily Collins in Emily In Paris season 3
Lily Collins in Emily In Paris season 3
Photo: Netflix

Netflix’s Emily In Paris is nothing if not consistent. Consistently vacuous, that is. Darren Star’s half-hour comedy is visually decadent but narratively mind-numbing. It’s what makes the show ideal background viewing material because nothing significant occurs to warrant your complete attention. To date, Emily In Paris’ approach to the Parisian adventures of Chicago native Emily Cooper (Lily Collins) has been “rinse and repeat,” and the show’s 10-episode third season stays true to these roots. Storylines—unlike the snappy outfits—are recycled to a grating degree. Unfortunately, no amount of flashy wardrobe changes and gorgeous scenery make up for a tedious plot, pacing, and protagonist.

Despite most of the actors’ efforts, Emily In Paris is still a chore. The show suffers by trying to be superficially earnest instead of fully embracing its whimsical nature. The new episodes carry on the trend of being equal parts boring and confusing. How many times does the audience need to relive the Emily-Gabriel-Camille-Alfie love square? (Hint: Until the last-minute cliffhanger of season three). Emily’s romance has a similar trajectory: She chooses one man, only to pine for the other. At least EIP establishes Laviscount and Brave as swoon-worthy leads, and creates a solid chemistry between Emily and Alfie, even more so than in season two, making the tug-of-war even worse.


However, a similar complication now applies to her professional life, too. She’s pulled between working for Madeline (Kate Walsh) at Savoir or joining Sylvie’s (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) marketing agency. Emily has a tough time choosing and it lands her in hot water. Quelle surprise.


The third season begins with the most Emily In Paris-esque frame of all time: Emily in a pink tulle dress atop the glittering Eiffel Tower at night, wistfully staring out at the city she now calls home. It sells the dreamlike fantasy of Paris exactly as intended. And it’s what the show usually feels like: A basic (dare I say, “ringarde”) travelogue from the limited perspective of an uninteresting American millennial. So, naturally, now she’s a part-time influencer who goes live from segway tours, bumper car rides, and hot chocolate runs. In that sense, EIP is the equivalent of mindlessly browsing through TikTok—an overlong scrolling session that feels like an amusing enough waste of time.

It doesn’t help that Collins isn’t allowed to bring any acting range to Emily, or that the show fails to flesh out traits or add depth to its titular figure. We all know that Emily’s excellent at her job, whether promoting a McBaguette, a sunscreen, a snooty fashion designer, or Gabriel’s restaurant. But what about her history, likes or dislikes, and her educational background? Anything to explain how she can afford couture fashion daily and struggles to attain a work visa. Collins looks perpetually flummoxed, but at least her hair is never out of place, not even when Emily cuts her own bangs.

In many ways, Emily might feel like a spiritual successor to Star’s other heroine, Sex And The City’s Carrie Bradshaw. Both are white women who fail upward, and if they mess up at their workplace things are magically and quickly alright. Then there are the love triangles, female friendships, and the ability to make everything about themselves. But at least Carrie—whom we also knew very little about going into SATC—developed defining qualities over the years. Emily, and by extension Collins, is still in limbo even after three seasons.

Emily in Paris Season 3 | Official Trailer | Netflix

Thankfully, everyone around Emily has slightly more to offer. Her BFF Mindy Chen begins to find success as a singer. Ashley Park remains an MVP in this role, flawlessly slipping into character and acing her dialogue delivery. It’s a good thing she belts out covers of Dua Lipa and Lady Gaga in season three, an antidote to Emily crooning Dionne Warwick’s “Alfie.” But Mindy sort of disappears in the middle episodes as she gets caught up in her own love triangle. Actually, that’s the recurring theme of season three. Emily, Mindy, Sylvie, and Camille are all involved in the trope of juggling multiple love interests. It dampens the fun because we see the same plot for all the women. (At the risk of pulling an Emily In Paris, gosh this show loves to be rote).


EIP does boast a prolific costume designer in Marylin Fitoussi, especially for Sylvie and Camille’s chic style, and an impressive crew like directors Katina Medina Mora and Peter Lauer, cinematographers Seamus Tierney and Steven Fierberg. Their elaborate work sets the landscape beautifully. And that’s why Emily In Paris is a visual treat—look out for a couple of Gabriel and Emily scenes halfway through, and an episode set in Provence, that is a standout. At least it captures a stunning French vibe, even if the show portrays the culture and its people in laughably stereotypical ways. Emily In Paris is obviously a form of escapism; for that, it gets the credit, even if it doesn’t deserve much else.