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New RomCom Series Stereotypes French Culture

By Tatiana Torres

Netflix’s new romantic comedy series Emily in Paris, starring Lily Collins is causing quite a stir among some of its viewers. The show comes from the creator of Sex and the City and Younger and some people were left expecting more. 

Emily in Paris follows Emily, a young American woman from Chicago, who leaves her life behind and moves to Paris for an unexpected job opportunity. She is asked to bring an American perspective to a French marketing firm. 

Many have been left unimpressed by the French clichés and stereotypes found in the show. Since its premiere, it has received backlash from French critics. 

French radio station RTL claimed that the show warped their city so much it was unrecognizable. “Between the beret, the cocktail dresses and the impeccable streets, Parisian had a hard time recognizing their everyday life,” they wrote. 

Others love the show and what it offered to viewers. Alondra Santiago, senior psychology major at The University of Tampa, was among those that found the series to be enjoyable. 

“I would recommend it to anyone,” she said. “Emily in Paris brought attention to how difficult the workplace can be when someone is an outsider, which is a good thing to see if one is planning or has dreams of working out of the country.” 

The show climbed into Netflix’s top ten almost immediately after it premiered on Friday, Oct. 2. 

“I thought the show did a great job portraying the French culture,” said Santiago. “Although I can understand how some critics say the cultural ignorance was a little too much. I thought it was a good way to show how differently Americans live compared to the French.”

Juliana Marquez, junior advertising and public relations major, was one of the many that watched the series as soon as it was released. 

“I understand the frustration of french viewers and critics because the series is filled with French stereotypes. The show overall definitely depicts cultural ignorance,” said Marquez. “They kept commenting that Paris is a romance city, basically repeating every stereotype there is about Paris.”

Critic Charles Martin from the French publication Premiere, wrote, “we learn that the French are ‘all bad’, that they are lazy and never arrive at the office before the end of the morning, that they are flirtatious and not really attached to the concept of loyalty, that they are sexist and backward, and of course, that they have a questionable relationship with showering. Yes, no cliché is spared, not even the weakest.” 

In an article published by the New York Times, multiple French interview subjects scoffed at the show’s portrayal of life in Paris. “The clichés are so many and so concentrated that they pile up like a collection of little stories that become comical in their exaggeration,” Phillipe Thureau-Dangin, owner and director of French book publishing firm Exils, told the Times. 

“I didn’t take the portrayal of the French too seriously so I think the critics are being too harsh,” said Kana Chanthabadith, senior advertising and public relations major. “It’s just a fictional TV show.”

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