Dec 23, 2022 • 3M

Reflections on "Emily in Paris"

We need to have a talk.

Open in playerListen on);
Charlotte Clymer is a writer and LGBTQ advocate. You've probably seen her on Twitter (@cmclymer). This is the podcast version of her blog "Charlotte's Web Thoughts", which you can subscribe to here:
Episode details
(image credit: Stéphanie Brunchu // Netflix)

[This blog will always be free to read, but it’s also how I pay my bills. So, if you like what you read, please consider a paid subscription.]

Friends, I have been deeply concerned in recent days by the frequency of people in my life—smart, wonderful, hardworking people—who reveal that they are watching “Emily in Paris”, for the first time, with the wrong expectations.

I want to help by setting the record straight: you don’t watch “Emily in Paris” for the writing or character development. That’s not why this show exists.

You watch it purely for the vibes.

It is a low-effort, live-action adult cartoon. It’s not supposed to make sense.

Would you overanalyze Bugs Bunny in viking warrior opera drag or question Wile E. Coyote’s curious, unfettered access to industrial-strength explosives?

Of course not. You would spark a blunt, eat your cereal, and enjoy the damn show.

Watching “Emily in Paris” with critical nuance is like excessively ruminating over the tragic inconsistency of dress sizes at Forever 21 or wondering why Trump doesn’t have a public library card. It’s a waste of your time.

You watch “Emily in Paris” for the relentless onslaught of gorgeous couture this woman couldn’t possibly afford, the charming cast who can’t help but be charming, the crude and clownish rendering of French culture that reduces it to caricatures meant to be consumed through the American Gaze for uncultured dorks like us, and the hot people having sex with other hot people.

Any attempt to make sense of all this is a waste of the viewing experience.

It isn’t even a case of the show being so bad that it’s actually good. It transcends good and bad. It is derived from our pleasure center, created in a lab purely for the high.

It is fatty, salty, delicious eye candy for American viewers who crave beautiful and unknowable Parisian chaos that doesn’t actually exist anywhere other than in our own dorky ass minds, and that is why we love it.

It is the furthest thing from prestige television, let alone the real world, and we are grateful for that.

So, pour yourself a bowl of Reese’s Puffs, and say: OUI.

Give a gift subscription

Hi, I’m Charlotte Clymer, and this is Charlotte’s Web Thoughts, my Substack. It’s completely free to access and read, but it’s also how my bills! So, please do kindly consider upgrading to a paid subscription: just $7/month or save money with the $70/annual sub. You can also go way above and beyond by becoming a Lifetime Member at $210.