‘Emily in Paris’ season 3 receives harsh reviews for couture and faux-French culture

By Clara Faulkner, Managing Editor and Living Arts Editor

Spoiler Alert

Season three of “Emily in Paris” released on Netflix on Dec. 21, and it is the most vivaciously hated season yet. Despite the corny jokes and ridiculous plotlines, it’s a thoughtless vacation from life that you simply cannot help but binge.

Over the course of its first two seasons, the show has created its own world inside the heart of Paris, just as Emily Cooper—played by Lily Collins—has. 

A young and driven marketing executive from Chicago, Emily relocates to Paris when her company, Gilbert Group, acquires a French marketing firm. Emily leaves Chicago for Paris in pursuit of a lifelong desire of success, and immediately becomes a style icon and socialite in the City of Light.

Emily’s life is always changing; she takes on new marketing clients, initiatives, and ways to undermine her relationships, both business and romantic. 

The plot of season three revolves around astute business magnate Sylvie Grateau—played by Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu—who responds to the upheaval at marketing agency Savoir by establishing a competing agency, Agence Grateau. 

The audience finds out that Emily has been working covertly for both firms without letting anyone know. The ancillary characters in the series developed more in the recent episodes through Emily’s turmoil with both firms, which saved the season. Having said that, the storylines diverge and lead to a weak climax in the last episode, all paired with a sloppy cliffhanger.

It feels as though season three ends just when it begins to get interesting. The cliffhangers become worthless as previous seasons’ events are settled—the entire new season is placid.

The show’s ability to embrace eccentric comedy and over-the-top clothing was an unexpected way that contributed to the success of the last two seasons. The actors did their job; the clothes are fab—it’s certainly mainstream enough for people who don’t know French.

The show’s third season, however, fails to live up to expectations, and instead comes off as merely ordinary.

For this season, the show’s tone and stylistic elements should have embraced the lunacy of the situations they depict. 

While the season-long love triangle between Emily, Alfie (Lucien Laviscount), and Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) is resolved in the dramatic end, it’s already too late. Instead of introducing a new plot and adding to the excitement, it undermines the complexity of the characters. The characters in the show are well-constructed and possess intriguing narratives, but the storyline shifts every episode, making it hard to identify with them on screen.

The most aggravating thing about the new season is that no matter how much pressure is put on a character to make a choice, that choice is always obvious and has no real repercussions.

The hatred that Emily receives from Nicolas, who is now in charge of Cadault’s firm, rapidly disappears after she, Sylvie, and the rest of the French crew raise an uproar during one of Cadault’s events. After being upset for about half of the show, he and Emily get along again.

This lack of consequences for decisions taken throughout the show makes it difficult for the viewers to really become invested in the characters.

Sylvie’s growth throughout the show is emphasized, offering a fresh angle while also providing a glimpse into her backstory for the first time. She is proud of her age and experience, but it’s puzzling that she seems to have the same laid-back attitude toward her romantic relationships.

After her young photographer lover abruptly left, Sylvie went right back to sleeping with her somewhat estranged husband. Despite the surprise and hurt of being abandoned by her lover, Sylvie seems to have no real qualms with going back to what she knows—a common theme throughout the season.

The narrative of the season can be summed up as a tangled web of relationships and difficult choices with no clear resolutions. On the upside, Emily’s catastrophic professional life provides entertainment and relatable comedic humor. 

For two seasons, “Emily in Paris” transforms a satirical, unrealistic lifestyle into something accessible and achievable. The 30-minute episodes are straightforward and include enough fresh subplots to make season three worthwhile.

However, while season 3’s finale was dramatic, it was also short, leaving a lackluster conclusion.

In the episode, Camille reveals Gabriel and Emily’s affair to all and leaves him at the altar. Even though Emily and Alfie did not sign up for any of this turmoil, it looks like their relationship has come to an end, leaving the audience awaiting the next season.

The fourth season of “Emily in Paris” has been greenlit by Netflix. The show is one that viewers will hate at first but come to love as a guilty pleasure, making it an international hit.