Emily in Paris season 2 mirrors the mediocrity of its debut season

The second season of Netflix original Emily in Paris came out in late December, and to no one’s surprise, had little improvement from season one. From upsetting portrayals of characters to a poorly developed script — the show did not deliver.

Jan+8%2C+2017%3B+Beverly+Hills%2C+CA%2C+USA%3B+Lily+Collins+arrives+for+the+74th+Golden+Globe+Awards+at+the+Beverly+Hilton.+Mandatory+Credit%3A+Dan+MacMedan-USA+TODAY+NETWORK

Jan 8, 2017; Beverly Hills, CA, USA; Lily Collins arrives for the 74th Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton. Mandatory Credit: Dan MacMedan-USA TODAY NETWORK

Olivia Augustine, Arts Reporter


Many avid Netflix users were unhappy with the decision to renew Netflix original Emily in Paris after canceling other shows like Julie and the Phantoms and On My Block. Disappointingly, season two did little to redeem the damage already done by the show’s debut season.

As a faithful Lily Collins fan, I felt obligated to give season two a chance. Unfortunately, she doesn’t live up to her performances in movies like Love, Rosie or Mirror Mirror. Collins’ character, Emily, feels one-dimensional and honestly, a little annoying.

That being said, I attribute most problems regarding the character of Emily to the show’s script. From season one to season two, Emily undergoes little to no character development. The audience learns nothing new about who she is and lacks the necessary depth a protagonist should have.

In fact, there are only two characters in season two that show any character development at all. Emily’s Paris supervisor Sylvie, played by Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, remains a disrespectful, arrogant character, but at least the audience gets a sense of how she ended up that way.

Emily’s best friend, Mindy, is the most developed character on the show. Mindy, portrayed by Ashley Park, starts season one unemployed, but maintains an optimistic and positive attitude. By the end of season two, she’s rediscovered a passion for singing, and traded a part-time illegal job at a drag club to be a lead-singer in a small, but talented band.

There is one redeeming quality of the show — Emily’s fashion choices. Some might disagree, saying that her looks are “too out there,” but I find her style refreshing. Her uses of colorful layering and intentional mismatching represent Emily taking risks, where in other areas of life, she won’t.

Season two also introduced a second love interest for Emily, Alfie, a British banker on work in Paris. Played by Lucien Laviscount, Alfie’s personality traits contrast Emily’s well. Laviscount has won the heart of Emily in Paris fans and turned the love dynamic of the show into something of a love rectangle, a welcome complexity to the show’s plot.

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My only complaint is that their relationship feels somewhat forced. It’s very clear from the couple’s first romantic interaction that Alfie will simply be a pitstop on her road back to her original love interest, Gabriel.

Perhaps my least favorite part of the entire season was the portrayal of Emily’s boss from Chicago, Madeline. Portrayed by Kate Walsh, hopes were high for this character. Instead, it felt like she was created as a joke.

With Walsh’s character being pregnant, she was dressed in short dresses and high stiletto heels – whether that was supposed to be funny or it’s just ignorant, I’m not sure. She also constantly came across as loud and obnoxious. Overall, I found this portrayal of a successfully working pregnant woman to be problematic and in poor taste.

Season two of Emily in Paris may have had a couple of high points, but all in all, the show was not well-developed from the first season, portrayed certain characters in particularly unpleasant ways, and ultimately felt forced and predictable.

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