Everything wrong with ‘Emily’ in Paris

Pragya Goenka
6 min readNov 13, 2020


The arrogant and irritating Protagonist: Although I love the beautiful and talented Lily Collins, it is only this much an actor can do with a poorly written character. ‘EMILY’ is a communication grad, who with a series of coincidences finds herself working in the romantic city of Paris, and the challenges of adjusting to a new city and culture. She is supposed to be pretty, clever, hard-working, charismatic, and other ‘American values’ one can give to the main character, the only thing is she is none of those.

The most irking thing about her character is it’s zero development throughout the series. She is the same person as in episode 1, in episode 10 just with a few English-speaking French friends, this leaves the viewer wondering what was the point of the journey it didn’t affect her in any way. Especially when there was so much room/scope for it. She had personal issues( like the constant need to be liked by everyone or how to maintain a healthy social media balance) that could have been addressed and would have made her more relevant to the current audiences but these were just mentioned and then forgotten about. She didn’t even learn french (despite the ‘classes’), not even the basics by the end. Here are a few qualities of her that make her insufferable

a. Irresponsible

  1. She lost the 2 million watch and the person she was responsible for because she was clubbing and then rather than informing her seniors about it she tries to lie .(which could have made the situation worse)

2. She got the bookings wrong for a very important client( I mean you have been working in a country for at least a month at this point and not know how its date system works? Would it hurt you double-check it?)

3. She had sex with a 17-year-old brother of a friend (she lusts her boyfriend as well btw), maybe talk to the guy a little, I’m not against the idea of hookups here and thus consider the first night with professor Thomas an example and was fine. But what happened with Camille’s brother, was irresponsible.

b.Arrogant(as pointed out in the show itself)

  1. She comes to a city and not even bother to learn the local language or a little about the common mannerism. The majority of the time she behaves as a tourist and genuinely never tries to accept Paris. She complains about people not accepting her, but the majority of the time, she is the one judging them and making them uncomfortable.
  2. Every time she learns something new about their manners, way of living, or culture, she cites how different it is from ‘the American way’ and implies that the French way is wrong. Imagine a french working in America trying to change the whole cooperate way of working? as ridiculous as it sounds, that is what Emily tries doing during the whole series, rather than adjusting, learning, and adding to the company, she creates problems due to her rigid stereotypical thinking and stubbornness.

c. Short sighted

  1. She lacks any kind of vision for life. Although she is supposed to be this hardworking professional full of goals, we never see her talking about anything significant thing that she is working for. It seems like she doesn’t have any long term goal and just focuses on the next promotion or just keeping her job.
  2. When Sylvie repeated told the kind of identity she wants for their brand, Emily disagrees with her vision but never shares what she wants the brand’s identity to be, despite her(Emily) being so clear when it comes to the brand identities of their customers.

d. Whinny

  1. Emily constantly keeping whining about how lonely she is, but every time like EVERY time, she is sitting alone in a cafe or party or bench, she finds an English speaking friend or a love interest. And still rather than being happy she still feels alone?
  2. It’s ok to have principles, and it’s completely fine to make people around you aware of them, but Emily seems like trying too hard. I mean yes, I get it you don’t want to get involved with your clients or someone already committed (I know, I know) but why keep rubbing it in everyone’s face in it?

e. Hippocrate

  1. She says ‘ There is a lot we can learn from each other’, but throughout the series, she tries to teach everyone the ‘American way’ rather than taking a few things from french. For a change, it would have been nice to see her evolve picking up a few things from her time in Paris.
  2. The whole series she keeps judging people for not being professional but in the end, she is the one who first loses a person, she is responsible for due to her partying and then simply gives up (she doesn’t even inform her superiors about it) and gets involved with a client, and cheats on him with her friend’s not completely separated boyfriend.
  3. She pretends to be this bold, gets things done girl but in the end, it is always Gabriel who saves her (how is his restaurant still running with all his attention on her), broken shower ask him for help, messed up restaurant booking ask him to cook, lost a person he carries her around, where are her people’s skill she boasts about with the hotel receptionist.

She is the definition of everything wrong with today’s Social media. And please do not give me the argument that the show was intending to comment that, because if it was, it failed in it again. As the character is shown to have benefited multiple times from her social media following. And can she learn basic boundaries, like why are u posting pictures of someone without their knowledge, let alone permission?

Also throughout the series, we see Emily asking for favors and ‘help’ but never see her actually helping someone. Her social media popularity would have helped Mindy with her singing, like 1 post? She never tries to reach out to Camille or even when Gabriel discusses their problems with her, she just sits quietly not saying anything constructive.

Also, she sucks at managing finances, throughout the series we see her wearing expensive designer pieces which would be difficult for anyone to buy who is in the initial stage of her carrier but still complains about not being able to afford ‘couture’ to Pei-re?

In the end, Emily comes across as a pretentious, distressed, whinny, social butterfly with little to no character growth. There are characters like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, which were so written and showed the world that femininity should not be associated with ‘dumbness’ or weakness, but Emily is not one of them.

Any ideas on what character I should dissect next?