Emily in Paris: What critics are saying about season 2 of the much-derided Netflix show

New series of the show has split opinion after its first season was almost universally panned by critics

Roisin O'Connor
Tuesday 21 December 2021 15:33
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Emily in Paris Season 2 trailer

Reviews are in for the second season of Netflix’s hit show, Emily in Paris.

The series stars Lily Collins as the title character, a naive but ambitious twenty-something who moves to Paris from Chicago for a new job opportunity.

The first series was widely panned by critics for its clichéd depiction of Paris and French people, as well as the unlikeable traits of its main character. The show, however, became a hit for Netflix and is now one of the streaming giant’s most successful comedy series of all time and, controversially, received a number of Golden Globe nominations.

While many critics have maintained their negative opinions about the show for its second series, The Independent’s critic Ed Cumming was, shockingly, won over.

“Here is a partial list of all the people who will not enjoy Netflix’s new series, Emily in Paris,” he wrote in his season one review.

“1. French people

2. French speakers

3. Expats who live in France

4. Anyone who has been to France

5. Anyone who has been exposed to any culture set in France

6. Anyone who has seen a picture of the Eiffel Tower

7. Anyone who’s eaten a croissant.”

However, just over a year later, Cumming said of season two in a five-star review: “Like Emily, I have been on a journey of self-discovery with this series. I could talk about the clunkingly obvious script, the thinness of the characters and plot, and Collins’s one-gear performance in the lead. But what would be the point?

“Emily is critic-proof, and it’s not aimed at grouchy old hacks like me anyway. It is a fantasy world, a make-believe vision of Paris with no Covid, no stakes, no problems that can’t be easily resolved with a chat and a new outfit. It is exactly what it is, harmless escapism, and on its own terms it is enormously successful.”

Other reviews, including The Telegraph’s, were less impressed.

In a two-star review, critic Anita Singh said: “By the end, I think I’d worked out why I enjoyed Emily in Paris at some level. This isn’t a show aimed at me. It’s aimed at 12-year-old me, who would have found Gabriel dreamy (rather than two-timing) and liked Emily’s Bratz doll styling. I would have believed that being a successful marketing executive consisted of posting selfies. At that age, I existed happily on a diet of sugar.”

A lukewarm review forThe Hollywood Reporter commented: “Emily Cooper doesn’t exactly arrive in Paris a rube with Cinderella fantasies — she’s already educated, fashionable and a rising star in her field. But she’s missing finesse. That je ne sais quoi.

“Where confectionary Season 1 explored culture shock and culture clash, meatier season two delves into Emily’s personal growth. Her emotional progression is gradual and almost imperceptible until the last two episodes of the season, when you suddenly realise that yes, she might still be grating to the last, but she’s no longer the wide-eyed naïf she was when she stepped out of that cab in the fifth arrondissement. There’s hope for Emily just yet.”

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“If you’re a hate-watcher, this season still has its share of insufferable social media posts and ridiculously over-the-top moments,” The Wraps review said.

“You still get the feeling that Emily is unaware of her great fortune. There’s still no indication of why she must share a tiny hovel with Mindy when both women have designer wardrobes. It’s still easier to understand what Emily sees in her paramours than to grasp what they see in her (besides the fact that she’s cute and well-dressed).

“What does she want? Why has she barely grown in her time in Paris? Mindy has a far more interesting backstory and more compelling motivations — why isn’t this show about her? Still, there’s something to be said for banal fun, especially these days.”

Emily in Paris season two is released to Netflix on Wednesday 22 November.

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