It may be popular with audiences in America, but not everyone is charmed by Netflix‘s new rom-com series, Emily in Paris. In fact, the French are a little miffed with Darren Star’s take on the City of Lights. Emily in Paris follows a midwestern transplant in the chic European city, but she arrives with zero grip on the native tongue and finds herself guilty of many faux pas in each and every episode.
It may seem like a quirky, cute take on the “American in Paris” theme for us over here, but the people who know Paris as their home are not impressed. Actually, they’re a little annoyed. Since the show first premiered, French critics have been ripping it to shreds in their reviews. French radio station RTL even claimed that the show warped their city so much it was unrecognizable. “Between the beret, the cocktail dresses and the impeccable streets, Parisians had a hard time recognizing their everyday life,” they wrote.
In another review, this one from the French publication Premiere, critic Charles Martin wrote of the show, “we learn that the French are ‘all bad’ (yes, yes), that they are lazy and never arrive at the office before the end of the morning, that they are flirtatious and not really attached to the concept of loyalty, that they are sexist and backward, and of course, that they have a questionable relationship with showering. Yes, no cliché is spared, not even the weakest.”
One of the sharper digs came from the French website Sens Critique, which claimed that the show was so unrealistic that you “have to strongly love science fiction to watch this series, knowing that Parisians are mostly friendly, speak irreproachable English, make love for hours and that going to work remains an option.”
And in an article published by the New York Times, multiple French interview subjects scoffed at the show’s portrayal of life in Paris. “The clichés are so many and so concentrated that they pile up like a collection of little stories that become comical in their exaggeration,” Philippe Thureau-Dangin, owner and director of French book publishing firm Exils, told the Times. “Maybe the creators of the series are trying to mimic Molière. Molière also exaggerated and created impossible situations for comic effect.”
But not all of the backlash is coming from Parisians themselves. Chicago Pizza chain Lou Malnati’s has their own beef with the series after Emily in Paris snuck in a dig about their pizza. In one scene, Emily tells her boss, who’s had bad Chicago style pizza, that she “must have gone to Lou Malnati’s” if she found it “disgusting.” The pizza chain was not chuckling at the line, and issued a press release condemning the joke and the series’ writers.
“While the writers of Emily in Paris may not be fans of deep dish pizza or Lou Malnati’s in particular, generations of Chicagoans would strongly disagree,” they wrote, adding, “Malnati’s is always the first to participate in good-natured banter with pizza lovers from New York or California,” wrote the pizzeria. “However, it feels especially unkind to disparage anyone during these difficult times, given that most restaurants are struggling to hang on.”
Regardless of what you think of the series, one thing is for sure: all of the attention is only helping Emily in Paris, which is currently ranked as the No. 1 show on Netflix.
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