I thought Emily in Paris was a film. A romantic comedy. Something I could watch for an hour and a half – digest it, feel good about it, then move on with my life. I’d even planned making an evening of it with my friend who lives around the corner. We like to watch ‘stuff like that’, while eating poke bowls. We don’t plan the poke bowls. We never plan the poke bowls. It just seems to happen. Last week, I texted her:
‘Do you want to watch Emily in Paris this Friday?’.
She was busy.
The salmon could wait. And probably for the best. I didn’t realise Emily in Paris was, in fact, a ten-part series. I was thinking that some scenes were going on for a bit too long – like the whole taking-her-bags-up-the-stairs-when-she-moves in part. The estate agent hanging awkwardly around. Shouldn’t it be more a case of; no need to flirt on the stairs, thank you very much, we need to get to the next shot!! But then the credits rolled after half an hour and, oh yes I see – now it all makes sense. So how would this have worked around mine and my friend’s usual viewing habits? Would I have stayed for the next 8 hours? Or would I have left at a reasonable time, but with an uncomfortable feeling at the back of my mind that we just cut our Parisian journey together, short?
I was drawn to Emily in Paris like a moth to a flame. I knew, from the moment my friends slid into my DMs with the trailer, that it was going to be an important part of my life. And, yes, this might sound a bit over the top. A bit dramatic. But when a production’s got Sex and the City’s Darren Star on board and a space in the Netflix scheduling diary at a time when we need things on TV to look forward to, I couldn’t help but wonder; what’s there not to be dramatic about?
I’m glad it was a television show because it ended up sticking around in my life for longer than expected. And by this, I just mean the actual viewing length. I haven’t even got to the part where I acknowledge the thinking time it has taken up. Like when you walk away from a holiday with your partner, a good date perhaps, a meet up with a friend, a cosy night with your family** – and you feel all warm, going over the happy thoughts.
** provided there’s been no arguing.
I like the way Netflix doesn’t give you a chance to say ‘No! I don’t think I can! I really have to go to bed now! You just try to stop me!’ before it goes right on to the next one. It worked its charm and reeled me right in. Would Emily and Gabriel would end up together? How often does Camille visit her family, because if that was my home, I would be there all the time? Would Emily’s boss stop being so unnecessarily and perhaps unrealistically mean? Or, PLOT TWIST, would Emily and Luc end up being the happily ever after we were searching for? (Maybe not).
It kept me company over Friday night and Saturday day (that’s how long it took me to watch it and no, I didn’t really come up for air). I am very happy spending time solo – but I also really wasn’t in the mood to spend another Friday watching TV. I don’t literally think my television is my best friend (although Marina, of Mary and Marina Gogglebox fame, recently said that very thing on a recent episode and it did make me feel like we were sort of family). And, let’s be honest, there is probably an extent to which we can relate to Emily in Paris. Some of the behaviour was highly inappropriate for a workplace. I’d crumble in the corner in my boss treated me like that on a daily basis. The amount of social media usage would make me unbelievably anxious. I could not ‘hang out’ with a guy I was pretty much in love with. And I think I’d have real digestion problems if I was eating a baguette that size every day.
Then again, what I really liked about this show was that just when you thought it seemed a bit too far-reaching – a bit unobtainable – a bit out there, it draws you back in. It comes back down to earth. It brings in elements that many of us can tap into. Like feeling lonely. Putting something on Instagram and making everyone believe you’re having the time of your life, when you’re absolutely not. Fancying a boy and then finding out it might not be the perfect relationship you imagined. Getting a lovely Airbnb only to realise there’s no lift and you’ve got to walk about 2 miles to get up there. Not feeling good enough at work.
Etc etc etc.
Lots of people have picked up on plot holes within the show and not let them go – one of my friends recently sent me multiple voice notes with everything that she felt was wrong with the series. And I didn’t want to hear it. Because I know what it is. I know what it’s trying to be. And I know how it makes me feel. It’s comforting to have a reminder that no matter how glamorous something seems, we can all feel lost. We can all struggle at work. We can all feel unsure of ourselves. We can all fall in love. And we can all have our hearts broken.
So thank you, Emily. And thank YOU, Gabriel. So very much.