I'm not going to bury the lede here: Emily in Paris is hot trash.
That said, I binge-watched the latest season in a daze of haute-couture and cringe intercultural exchanges, wondering what the hell France ever did to the US to deserve something like this.
We start season 2 where we finished season 1. Emily is still a crap migrant (sorry, she's white and fancy, so I guess we can call her an expat), unwilling to make the meagrest of efforts to learn the language and the ways of the country that has welcomed her. She's also still a crap friend and crap at her job, causing never-ending headaches to clients and colleagues alike.
She's a millennial Carrie Bradshaw-wannabe whose personality is inversely proportional to the complexity of her outfits. Save for a few good coats and a great head of hair, Emily Cooper has no redeeming features.
She is the portrait of thin, white privilege, a woman who doesn't need to try, a made-up stereotype of the basic millennial, the human version of a selfie. Why, mon dieu, can I not stop watching this absolute piece of TV rubbish?
Not to give the whole plot away but it all goes something like this: Emily dresses up to the nines every morning and goes to work, screws some stuff up, then leaves work and screws some more stuff up, in between taking the occasional selfie and having some dude inexplicably fall in love with her.
In season 1, she was already irritating beyond belief but the plot at least gave her an excuse. She was just an ignorant American who'd just landed in France without so much as opening up the Wikipedia page about the country.
But now - what's your excuse Emily? You've been there a while and you still can't say more than two or three words in French (and insist on saying "thanks" instead of "merci" even though that's definitely one of your three words). Two days on Duolingo would get you further than that and it would have the added advantage of us not having to put up with your terrible flirting with the British dude in your French course. S'il vous plait, Emily, if there's a season 3, put us out of our misery, download Duolingo.
With season 1, released at the start of the Covid pandemic, we at least had the excuse of some much-needed escapism. But now, two years in, what's the deal, Emily?
Despite being set in 2020, season 2 makes absolutely zero mentions of the pandemic and there's not one mask in sight. So, on the plus side, there really is no reason to ever rewatch Emily in Paris, not even as a historical document of our times.
I would have much preferred to watch a whole show centred around Emily's friend Mindy or even Luc, Emily's genuinely nice colleague who takes her for a birthday picnic in front of the tomb for Honore de Balzac, who, judging by her expression, I'm pretty confident she's has never heard of.
So why did I give up hours of my life to this show? I guess, ultimately, we all need somewhere to channel our negative energy into and, of all the possible things to channel it to, an absurd fictional character is not a terrible place to send it to. All the drama in Emily in Paris is absolutely low stakes, and no one really cares what happens in the end. And maybe that's the whole point of it.
Maybe the same Emily that helped us momentarily escape the grips of the pandemic in its early days is now back precisely to be the focus of our negative energy, a welcome reprieve from remembering that what we actually hate is this stupid world we're living in right now.
• Season 2 of Emily in Paris is currently streaming on Netflix in New Zealand, in case you find yourself with absolutely nothing better to do.