Netflix’s debut season of Emily in Paris drew completely undeserved critical vitriol, but I was personally smitten by the breezy and playful romantic drama. There is much to be said about a comfort show, one you can turn to just for the cutesy vibes and popcorn entertainment. All things considered, I don’t forsee the second season gaining many new converts. In sanding down some of the finer edges, Emily in Paris loses a bit of the luster that it made it so exciting in the first place. Emily’s growing social media presence and career goals take a backseat to an all-new love triangle and expansion of her fluency in French.
Emily (Lily Collins) is finally beginning to adjust to her new normal in Paris, comfortably working for her ad agency beside boss Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu). Her love life however is on the fritz, stuck between new French classmate Alfie (Lucien Laviscount) and former fling Gabriel (Lucas Bravo). Her friend Camille (Camille Razat) is also wrapped up in her fresh breakup with Gabriel, whilst Emily’s roommate Mindy (Ashley Park) aims to shed her image even further by joining a scrappy street band. As Emily does everything in her power to promote Camille’s family brand, Champere, mounting pressures at work bleed into her floundering love life.
The problems this time around begin early on. Nothing exciting happens for several episodes, with the first one feeling fresh and new not arriving until four episodes deep. I have several questions. Why wait so long to get into the love triangle—why are we not introduced to Lucien Laviscount as the love interest properly until the halfway point? Why was the opening episode not our intro to the excitement of the last two episodes? I honestly felt the boldness of the narrative direction would fill a full season with ease.
Even with flaws aside, the show’s trademark humor remains, as only Darren Star could provide. A hilariously bad attempt at writing an apology letter in French is an embarrassing highlight of the entire season. The chemistry between the new characters and returning ones is excellent, and the season itself closes out on a very strong note. I enjoyed Sylvie and Mindy this season, probably the most out of anyone. Kate Walsh makes a show stopping return as Madeline that shifts the story in a huge way. The finale, though a reset of sorts romantically, is swimming with possibilities that I pray we will be able to see continue on.
Season one of Netflix’s Emily in Paris was one of my favorite shows of 2020. I cannot say the same about the sophomore effort, yet there is still an immense draw to these lusciously-sketched characters. The promise remains for future seasons, especially considering an exciting back-to-basics final two episodes. We leave Emily at a dramatic crossroads, unsure of which vital decision she will make next. Either way, despite its flaws, I had a good time following Emily’s story this season. I will be anxiously awaiting whatever lies beyond, should season three become a reality. Team Gabriel forevermore!
Season 2 of Emily in Paris pops the top off the melodrama when it premieres exclusively to Netflix on Wednesday, December 22nd.