This piece spoils the cliffhanger ending for Emily in Paris Season 1 (not that readers should care.)
If readers have been on social media and any point since the first season’s release on October 2nd they likely have seen something related to Emily in Paris. A certain stripe of female viewers lusting after the shows hunky male leads. Commenting on central character Emily (Lily Collins)fashion choices. Yerning over the shows in-universe Instagram account. Any viewer that looks for anything beyond the materialistic in their entertainment complaining about the show being abysmal whilst they hate-watch.
As a critic, you have to give everything a fair chance. That said 15 minutes into the pilot this viewer had a good idea of exactly what horrors he was in for over the next nine episodes .the fact it comes from Sex And The City creator Darren Star and is not intended for an audience of 26-year-old, male freelance Bloggers is not a point against it. Netflix has some good to great originals that have a broader appeal beyond a clear target audience. GLOW, Dead To Me and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (rough around the edges but better than you might think.) come to mind. These shows are all ending in favour of more algorithm friendly dreck that Emily in Paris is the absolute nadir of. Granted my only extended knowledge of Sex And The City before starting the creator’s newest effort is Mark Kermode’s hilarious review of the second feature film (one of the last great reviews of Kermode’s Golden age.)
Anything said by Kermode in what is one of the best bits of film criticism ever put to video/audio could be applied to Emily in Paris. It’s a nasty, stereotypical, embarrassingly out of touch assault on the eyeballs. There’s not even have any particularly mimetically memorable bad moments. Say what you will about other Netflix embarrassments like the Scott Buck Marvel shows or Jaden Smith vanity project Neo Yokio. The “ice cream” scene from the first season of the latter is much more memorable than anything this ten-episode blight on the golden age of television has to offer. The original version of this scene does not have the gross looking filter over half of it or the pitched up audio but it is the only complete copy available on YouTube.
The same goes for Jaden Smiths embarrassing stab at western anime. Critically though neither of these projects shows outright contempt for the audience. Scott Buck and Jaden Smith may be two of the worst creative minds to ever be given the reigns of a streaming show. That said there work gives off the impression they believe in the story they are telling. Emily in Paris doesn’t have a shade of this in its “creative” DNA. Slogging through this season conjures nothing more than a boardroom of algorithm hungry Netflix executives. They know this show will hit several demographics very effectively. multiple season contracts for the stars will be drawn up as they bring the axe down on some much better shows. These may have equal or greater appeal to a core audience who only chooses to invest in shallow turn your brain off the TV if the cost /locations are conventionally attractive enough for their liking. The season ends on the shallow cliffhanger of “which man is she going to choose” because of course, it does. At a minimum, the core audience that watches this trash unironically and wouldn’t know what even mediocre TV looks like if it slapped them in the face will be back.
Emily in Paris is one of the worst streaming shows a viewer could have the misfortune to subject themselves to. Unlike other infamous examples that have gone down during the streaming era, this feels entirely cynical in its construction from top to bottom. Five hours designed to hit the widest number of demographics humanly possible both positive and negative. There’s no care for what these individual audiences might think as long as they keep the shows social media and watch time analytics looking good. It has unfortunately been renewed for another season. Well, it would be nice to think that the Netflix viewing public would wise up and refuse this pile of concentrated garbage. Being realistic this seems unlikely. The show has made big enough splash in a relatively short amount of time. Unless the second season completely tanks viewership from unironic watches Darren Star and his team will be able to unleash their assault on the Netflix algorithms for as long as they want. It’s just disappointing that the success of this blemish on the streaming landscape means better shows will fall by the sword.