This image is from the official trailer for “Emily in Paris Season 2,” distributed by Netflix.

I’ll be the first to admit it: “Emily in Paris” is one of my favorite TV shows. Ever since the first season dropped on Netflix in October of 2020, I was hooked. Lily Collins (“Tolkien”), gorgeous shots of France, a fun romance? Sign me up. I finished the first season’s ten episodes in record time and sat around waiting eagerly for season two — which dropped right as the University of Michigan went on break for the holidays when I’d have plenty of time to binge it. The show has improved in a lot of ways, but the second season reinforced some flaws as well.

“Emily in Paris,” from “Sex and the City” creator Darren Star, quickly became some of Netflix’s most-watched content, though not all of the attention was positive. Critics and viewers alike hated the countless clichés and stereotypes of the French. That didn’t change much in season two, as Emily’s Instagram influencer status became even more far-fetched. While going viral can happen to anyone at any time, the level at which it happens to Emily is unrealistic (something which users on TikTok are quick to make fun of).

One of the biggest — and most exciting — differences between the two seasons is that when Emily is not around, the French characters actually speak French! Who would have thought?

Emily’s sad attempts to practice her French continue to be a running joke in the first half of the season. In one episode, she tries to write Camille (Camille Razat, “The Accusation”), the rich Parisian who befriends Emily at the start of season one, a letter in French as an apology, but when read aloud it makes absolutely no sense.

The show finally gave more attention to minor characters like Mindy (Ashley Park, “Girls5Eva”), Julien (Samuel Arnold, “Antony and Cleopatra”) and Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, “Call My Agent!”). Madeline (Kate Walsh, “Grey’s Anatomy”), Emily’s boss in Chicago, has a much larger role in the second half of this season as well. After a surprise arrival at Savoir, the French marketing company Emily works for, Madeline uncovers a few business practices that the American workplace would consider unethical. She tries taking control of the French offices and conforming them to the style of her Chicago firm, only to have Sylvie quit and open her own firm, with her employees and their highest-paying clients in tow. Seeing Sylvie and the others walk away was satisfying, even though, for that moment in time, Emily’s job seemed up in the air.

One of the biggest areas where the season fell flat was in the romance department. Season one left off with a cliffhanger: Emily spent the night with Gabriel (Lucas Bravo, “Smart Ass”) before he leaves Paris for good, only to find out the next morning that he’s staying. Emily then got a text from Camille, her friend — and Gabriel’s ex-girlfriend (hence the need for a letter of apology). Much of the promotion for season two played into that “will they/won’t they” romance, only for it to appear exclusively at the very beginning and very end. Emily doesn’t want to sacrifice her friendship with Camille in order to date Gabriel so she tries to stay away, only increasing the sexual tension that made their relationship so enjoyable the first time around. But after Camille finds out that they slept together, she stops speaking to both of them, and Emily suddenly moves on to Alfie (Lucien Laviscount, “Katy Keene”), the handsome Brit in her French class. The chemistry between Emily and Alfie felt forced and was nothing compared to that between her and Gabriel. Emily’s relationship with Alfie felt like a poor excuse to let Emily keep speaking English without feeling guilty, too.

Even worse, Camille’s treatment of Emily is completely swept under the rug. Her reaction to finding out about Emily and Gabriel is justifiable, but she does a complete 180 with Emily and gets her to enter a “no dating Gabriel” pact only to take him back herself. There’s no explanation as to why Camille goes behind Emily’s back like this (beyond Camille’s mother cryptically suggesting it), and after Emily discovers they have gotten back together, there isn’t any kind of confrontation. Season two ends on a similar cliffhanger to season one: Emily’s future with Gabriel is up in the air, and this time she’s the one who might not be staying in Paris. 

Despite how much audiences seem to dislike this show, it’s still being watched, even if it’s just to hate on it. “Emily” wasn’t designed to be a profound, culturally accurate show. It’s trash TV. Not all trash TV is necessarily bad; perhaps the level of escapism it provides is what makes it so enjoyable. Considering that season one dropped as the world slowly started to open up again, if it had featured heavier content, audiences still may not have responded positively.

Taking in the scenery of France feels comforting, and it’s easy to get sucked into the romance, regardless of which character is at the forefront. There’s no telling yet whether the bad reviews will be factored into the decision to renew “Emily” for a third season, but I will definitely be watching if it does.

Daily Arts Writer Hannah Carapellotti can be reached at