‘Emily in Paris’ Loses Its Camp Magic in Messy Third Season – Rolling Stone

“Everybody likes to watch a story about two people trying to fight against their natural attraction to each other,” declares bouncy chef Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) as he walks in the dark with Emily (Lily Collins) in the new season of the series Emily in Paris.

Gabriel and Emily have just left a very uncomfortable outdoor screening of a French classic How to lose a boyfriend in 10 days, and the two—whose willy-nilly energy fueled essentially the entire series—walk down the boulevard and exchange glances, but nothing else. And it’s true: their chemistry practically drips off the walls of the bubblegum pink Instagram installation where they end up. But what once felt like a fun slide through a magical alternate universe has become, by season three, a stagnant decision that no one is willing to make.

That frustrating indecision runs through nearly every aspect of the third season of Darren Star’s series, which was released in its entirety on Netflix today. When we last left Emily and Savoir crew at the end of season two, Sylvie (Filipina Leroy-Beaulieu) has just quit her marketing company along with the rest of the staff, a radical and (as we see this season) somewhat short-sighted display of loyalty to designer Pierre Cadault (Jean-Christophe Bouvet). Emily, feeling down about the colleagues she’s grown so close to, is overjoyed to find that they want her to come too.

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Warning: minor spoilers follow

However, Emily feels ambivalent as usual. When we open season three, she still hasn’t decided whether she wants to work for her Chicago boss Madeline Weaver (Kate Walsh) in the new Savoir, or Sylvie in her as-yet-unnamed company. Instead, he lies and works for both – indecision. At the same time, she wants to commit to a hunky British banker, Alfie (Lucien Laviscount), but keeps finding herself distracted by Gabriel. “Are you just trying to have it all?” jokes Sylvia at one point. “It’s so American.”

Camille (Camille Razat) and Mindy (Ashley Park), Emily’s closest friends, also have passive love interests — people they seem attracted to but are reluctant to pursue. For Camille, it is the Greek artist Sofia (Melia Kreiling) who appears to her in the confessional duplication of the art installation. For Mindy, it’s Nicolas de Leon (Paul Forman), scion of the powerful luxury conglomerate JVMA – someone who, unlike her previous boyfriend, understands the pressures of being a very rich heir. Sylvie – Emily’s undeniably sexy French boss – wears her age and experience as a badge of honour, so it’s frustrating to see her take a similarly laissez-faire approach to her love life, doing little to stop her young photographer boyfriend from leaving , then quickly falls back into bed with her semi-estranged husband.
The most frustrating part of the new season, however, is that even when a character is forced to make a decision, it is predictable and without consequences. Madeline – an ur-American with perky breasts and a nasty French accent, despite supposedly not knowing the language – decides to return to Chicago and confront Emily, saying she’s also booked the ticket. Emily, who has finally made an active choice, says she wants to continue her Paris adventure – “running towards something”, as she puts it. Madeline appears on the verge of rage – she is Emily in Chicago not far on the horizon? — only to hug his young protégé and tell her to have a good time. Likewise, when Emily, Sylvie, and the rest of the French crew cause a ruckus at one of Cadault’s shows, the anger she received from Nicolas, who now runs Cadault’s company, quickly dissipates. He’s mad for half the episode and then everything goes back to normal for Emily. When Mindy gets mad at Emily for putting her in the middle of work drama, the anger doesn’t last half the time. a cafe.

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Emily in Paris. (L to R) Ashley Park as Mindy, Lily Collins as Emily, Camille Razat as Camille in episode 301 of Emily in Paris. Kr. Stéphanie Branchu/Netflix © 2022


Perhaps the only people who show any real agency are the men on the show, and then only when they’re fighting for career gains. Cadault, an aging designer signed to his company, and his long-time rival Gregory Dupree (Jeremy O. Harris) vie for creative control of the fashion house. Gabriel fights for a Michelin star so much that he puts his friend’s relationship at stake. (Emily remains a workaholic—“You’re so good at your job,” her friends keep telling her, as she eschews the French style and turns every outing into a business meeting—but without any real goals other than bringing brands that interested, into the world.) Sylvie, as strong of a character as she is, spends the season fighting off offers she doesn’t want, resorting to eventual blackmail if necessary.

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Part of what made the last two seasons Emily in Paris the show’s willingness to embrace offbeat humor and larger-than-life fashion was compelling. This allowed everyone to submit to normality. This season should lean toward the show’s situational absurdity, both in behavior and style. By the time the characters come together in the finale for the season’s first real showdown, it’s too late—the show’s momentum is lost, and even the horror feels like a last-ditch attempt at drama. “Not choosing is still a choice,” Alfie says in the first episode, berating Emily for not choosing him over her job. By not choosing to come down hard on his characters, Star lets them drift ambivalently through their world: still technicolor, still campy, but without the sense of adventure that made the show so enjoyable to begin with.

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