After hearing so much about Emily in Paris, I had to watch/study it to make my own opinion. Some say it’s an avalanche of stereotypes and clichés, some love the way Paris is showed; but what’s true or false about it? Here is what I think about the show… Watch out: spoiler alert!!
In Emily in Paris, quite a few things about French culture are actually very true:
- Lots of people in Paris are mean, negative and/or not welcoming, especially if you’re excited and friendly
- They do have an English accent like that
- You can absolutely step into dog poo and dog people don’t really care about it
- When Emily smiles in the morning and her boss says:
- Why are you smiling like that?
- I’m just saying « bonjour »; it’s a beautiful day in Paris.
- There’s not so much to be happy about; we have a big day and if you keep smiling like that, people will think you’re stupid.
Yep, typical French negativity right there! I’ve been through this SOO many times myself, and I’m French! I also remember reading the testimonial of a Canadian guy who moved to Paris for work and left before the end of his contract because he couldn’t stand it anymore. He said that he didn’t want to stay in a place where kindness is perceived as a weakness and not a quality; I agree 100%! Unfortunately, it is something that most travelers are not aware of…
- The difference between getting fired in France and North America: the first time I came to Canada, I was so surprised to hear that someone can just get fired without any notice and be escorted out without even being able to stop by at their desk… I think it’s quite violent; it is definitely not like this in France.
- The difference between French movies’ ending and American movies’ ending: I used to dislike French movies because they were mostly pretty sad and/or boring for me… Don’t get me wrong, I know there are some masterpieces out there and some will remain classics no matter the generation! But I’m a romantic and joyful person so I love happy endings! I’m glad to see a different kind of French movies now; if you want to know more, check my article about 7 French movies you should see on Netflix!
You know what? Now that I think about it, this might be the main issue in French culture: we need more happy-ending movies! That’s how you get more positive and smiling people! Here we go, I just saved an entire culture thanks to Netflix lol!
In Emily in Paris, some things about French culture are actually false:
- Streets are not that clean! I understand that it’s not chic obviously to show streets with gums, all sorts of liquids and body fluids or dog poo but it’s the way it is… Attractive, isn’t it?
- The first dialogue when she arrives at the office is honestly just a joke: first, people don’t smoke inside anymore, it’s forbidden, then the whole thing about US people being fat and French people smoking for pleasure, LOL! #stereotypes #clichés #ignorance
- We go on with employees starting work at 10:30am (as in French people are lazy workers) and the boss showing up 45 min late, who then says « I’m not having lunch, I’ll just have a cigarette. »; PLEASE, give me a break…
- It’s NOT always sunny; you can definitely see the fake blue sky lol!
Ok so now, do we have to talk about the French class? Lol, maybe not! I can tell you one thing though: my French classes are way more fun!
To give you a more realistic perspective, here is a funny video that Topito made: Emily in le vrai Paris
Now after all this, I need to say that I still enjoyed Emily in Paris. Here are some things I loved about it:
- The first dinner at the restaurant when Emily says:
- Maybe I’ll educate the chef a little bit about customer service.
- (Her friend answers) You think you’re gonna change the entire French culture by sending back a steak?
So funny! I totally agree about the quality of customer services in France; when I moved to Canada the difference really surprised me and made me realize how much work French companies need to do regarding this!
- The whole thing about masculin VS féminin; it was even more funny as a French teacher! And then the tweets from the first ladies, oh my! I wonder if the French president’s wife actually saw this lol!
- The date conversation for the restaurant reservation: another very funny example of cultural differences!
- The French version of These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ in episode 5
- The eggplant conversation at Camille’s parents’ château, which is a joke that you can only get if you speak both French and English!
- The gentle-mocking moment between the 2 ladies from the US
- The conversation about being fired in France and how the 2 coworkers are trying to help her keep her job
So I guess to sum it up, I can say that overall it’s good entertainment, but the beginning of the show is so full of stereotypes and I really don’t like the culture of clichés, no matter the culture… It gets better along the first season so I didn’t have the same feeling at the end.
I’ve been talking with a friend of mine about this show; she’s not from France but she lives there, and it was interesting to see that we don’t have the same perspective. She was telling me about how the US culture is actually showed through many stereotypes and clichés as well, and how you can actually really feel the love for Paris through Emily’s eyes.
The shock between the US culture and the French culture is what makes it funny, especially when you can recognize yourself in the situations. I guess if you see it like that, it’s not too bad. 😉
One more thing though: I was expecting way more French in the show, I think that’s the real French touch!
Now tell us what you think about Emily in Paris in the comments!
Have you seen it? 🙂