Emily Cooper (Lily Collins), finally feels at home in Paris. Season 2 of Netflix’s romantic comedy hit “Emily in Paris” The title marketing guru was at a crossroads. Should she return to her life in Chicago, or stay in her messy new life á Paris? It was difficult for her to choose Paris. She broke up with Madeline Walsh, her American boss (and very pregnant). And thus, “Emily in Paris” Season 3 begins with a series of almost slapstick routines as Emily tries to be in two places at once without bothering anybody. Can she make it to both a client dinner at the Eiffel Tower and her boyfriend’s going away party? Who will get first dibs on the McDonald’s account, the old firm or the new? It’s exhausting and quickly goes predictably wrong, but that’s when Season 3 suddenly kicks into a new gear, and the show becomes better than it’s ever been.
The show is just as Emily has found herself.
The first two seasons were a great success. Not much has changed. The outfits are still outrageous in ways both good and bad (look out for the brass nipples on a dress Sylvie wears to a fancy event), Mindy (Ashley Park) still sings in almost every episode, and while Emily and her current boyfriend Alfie (Lucien Laviscount) still can’t find the sparks between them, her forbidden chemistry with Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) is still off the charts. Their future is also still on the table somehow, despite Camille’s (Camille Razat) shenanigans and the return of that nonsensical pact she made (and immediately broke) with Emily to not date the guy she is now dating.
What has changed for the better is Emily’s attitude. Now that she’s accepted Paris as her home, Paris seems to have accepted her, too. The drama no longer comes from her misunderstandings or her distinctly American way of moving through the world, and she’s no longer constantly embarrassing herself. Now, the conflicts come from a place that feels a lot more grounded and relatable, even as Emily’s world remains heightened and fantastical.
Emily, clad in competing plaids from head-to-toe, considers the impact of her career on her relationship with her boyfriend and friends. Mindy is contemplating what she needs from a relationship, while Mindy performs Dua Lipa songs wearing full bodysuits. Sylvie (Philippine Leroy Beaulieu), finds herself confused between her younger boyfriend (her ex-husband) and her ex (her ex-lover). Julien (Samuel Arnold), attempts to figure out how to assert him when Emily is there. There’s a lot here for young professionals to connect to, and to drool over. Almost every scene is a journey from hating an outfit to coveting it and wondering if it’s actually possible to make a crop top, miniskirt and knee-high boots work appropriate, and there’s a brief moment where Emily explores “funemployment” in a way that might make a millennial in this layoff-prone world want to throw her massive cup of hot chocolate at her.
This season, even Emily’s problems are a dream, but it no longer feels like a slap in the face, as it did when the first season premiered at peak pandemic. Now, it’s a balm to watch Emily come up with colorful social campaigns on the spot. Hot air balloons Can you can luxury champagne? Yes, why not. Let’s all live in a world that works like this, a world where it doesn’t sound like Elon Musk bought Twitter.
The downside to such a stellar season is that there’s a sense that the show is winding down a bit. “Emily in Paris” was already renewed for a fourth season, and the story set up by the Season 3 finale feels decidedly more grown up than any previous twists, meaning Season 4 is likely to be a more grown up season. Netflix shows don’t tend to go past four or five seasons these days, and it wouldn’t be a shock if Season 4 is announced as the last. It would be a huge disappointment, though, since the show finally found the perfect spot that it had been searching for.
A protagonist doesn’t have to be likable, but she does have to be watchable, and Emily has been nearly unwatchable in the first two seasons. Now, she’s very watchable, mostly likable, and occasionally OK with taking a backseat in favor of her French friends and their increasingly complicated storylines. While I won’t be returning to this show to rewatch the first season, other fans may find it a very satisfying journey to see Emily’s world and how much she has learned about French.
French-speaking viewers will be pleased to know that the show seamlessly switches between English and French. Graphics have been an integral part of the story. I barely noticed any changes in language unless I was trying out my 200-days of Duolingo French. While the native speakers are still too fast to understand, at least I would have understood Emily’s diner who was allergic mushrooms (champignon). Perhaps she should have made more of that mistake. She’s still learning.
“Emily in Paris” Season 3 is now streaming on Netflix.