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An American in Paris Watches ‘Emily in Paris’

Courtesy Netflix

The Netflix show tells us exactly what TV producers think of young women: all mermaid curls, no brains

For what felt like ages I held out against watching Emily in Paris (2020). As an American in Paris I loathe the stereotype of the American in Paris, and only relented when BBC Scotland 杭州要帮民营企业留住人才 计划明年底完成4万套蓝领公寓. Ah, I thought. A chance to tell the world – or, well, Scotland – how much I loathe this stereotype.

I’m only mildly embarrassed to admit I watched the whole show in two nights. I may even have giggled at a few of the jokes, and sighed at some views of Paris, even though Paris is right outside my door. ‘Paris of the mind is preferable to the real thing,’ as Moyra Davey once wrote. But once I’d left the bubble of pleasure the show created, I was left with a hangover of ambivalence.

The writing is objectively terrible; it feels like it was written by a scattershot team consisting of The One With the Jokes, The Hack, and The One Who Went to Paris Once. The Hack is responsible for all the flat-footed dialogue (“you’re not stepping on my toes, you’re stepping into my shoes!”), coming up with lines like Carrie Bradshaw at her punniest (“I’m petit mort-ified!”). The Funny One is, occasionally, very funny (see the vagin jeune storyline). And The One Who Went to Paris Once must be responsible for the white-washing of the city, the xenophobia towards the French, the unflinching commitment to being as ringarde as possible, and no that does not mean basic.

Courtesy Netflix

But what rankled about the show, I realized, isn’t all it gets wrong about France and the French – this is fantasy, not Italian neorealismo. It’s the show’s limited and, yes, misogynist conception of who Emily is, and who it allows her to be.

There is an element of Everywomanness to her. She is hard-working, plucky, and resourceful when faced with challenges and trials, and doesn’t have any inconvenient special talents like, I don’t know, speaking French to get in the way of the target audience identifying with her. Like Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress, she’s your average questing hero(ine). But where John Bunyan’s seventeenth-century religious allegory wonders if salvation exists, and if so, how can we attain it, in the world of Emily in Paris, redemption comes in the form of Instagram followers and bank. “Beyoncé’s worth far more than the Mona Lisa,” quips her best friend, approvingly. Paris is the City of Destruction and the Celestial City all at once.

11. “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” (Stanley Nelson)
5. Repeats & highlights are as good as the main match, so am gonna watch them.
n. 保护,防卫
据透露,二月份哈迪德眯着眼睛试图模仿佛像,冒犯了许多人,在那之后她的签证申请就被驳回了。
大多数接受调查的人都提到了社交媒体的积极影响,包括与熟人社交、获得更多信息等等。
Inga Beale出任伦敦劳埃德保险公司CEO,Mary Barra 出任通用汽车高级副总裁,这些都为2013年的女性地位写下了浓墨重彩的一笔。接下来的一年,女性地位还将继续发展,但进展会缓慢而微小,但你一定能随处看到女性的权力和影响力。再怎么说,就连日本都开始鼓励女性工作了呢。
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他会在自己的独唱专辑中尝试什么样的歌曲呢:《Sweet Creature》(《可爱的人儿》)和《Ever Since New York》(《自从来到纽约》)是温馨的原声抒情歌曲;而在《Kiwi》(《奇异果》)这首歌中,他大声地炫耀着自己的欢乐;《Two Ghosts》(《两只幽灵》)则是一首为分手而惋惜的歌曲。
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Yet like a good comic hero, Emily is also somehow worse than us: witness the many people online complaining that she is, in fact, not relatable; she is ‘arrogant,’ ‘annoying,’ ‘entitled.’ She is these things, it’s true, but all these people on the internet, schooling Emily in how not to be a terrible obnoxious unlikable person reminds me of what the literary scholar Patricia Meyer Spacks wrote about gossip: that it’s society’s way of regulating itself and determining what is acceptable. So is, apparently, amateur TV criticism.

Courtesy Netflix

Elsewhere, Stockholm School of Economics was a big winner, climbing 16 places to 28, not only recording the best year-on-year progression but also recovering from a drop of 11 places last year.
加强农村公共设施建设。
Libby把这首歌放在了YouTube频道的评论部分,我把它摘过来了。我将大量的可爱的表述和英式的俚语都用不同颜色区分开了。你能猜出其中的意思吗?“OMG”表带什么意思?
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This 1977 file photo shows Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as he introduces the new Apple II in Cupertino, Calif.
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In their blatant careening towards the monaaaaaaay that such a show might be expected to generate, Emily in Paris’s producers have demonstrated that they don’t give a fine fuck about writing, characterisation, interior life. (Don’t get me wrong: this isn’t some Forsterian diatribe about round or flat characters. That’s the domain of amateur TV critics.) What they do seem to care about is building the perfect woman, and then tearing her down.

As I watched the show, I kept thinking of Hilary Mantel’s 2013 lecture for the London Review of Books about Kate Middleton and the ‘royal body’. The Duchess of Cambridge, Mantel said, ‘appeared to have been designed by a committee and built by craftsmen, with a perfect plastic smile and the spindles of her limbs hand-turned and gloss-varnished.’ With her perfect abs and immobile mermaid waves, Emily, more so even than Middleton, who is, let’s not forget, a real person, actually has been designed by committee, not to continue the royal line but to sustain the franchise.

On the radio they asked me if I identified with Emily at all and I said uhhhh for what felt like forever in radio time, before saying no, no, not at all. Because when I moved here I wasn’t anything like Emily; not only had I learned French at school, I had a few more notions of Normandy beyond Saving Private Ryan (1998). When I moved here, there were no smart phones, no Instagram, and the American in Paris narrative was about coming here and doing something creative – writing, painting, dancing, whatever – not making sales pitches like Don Draper in stilettos. But I can’t deny our commonalities.

Courtesy Netflix

I have a lot of sympathy for the American girl abroad. I’ve been her, I’ve taught her, I occasionally hear from her, reaching out for help finding her feet. But on Emily in Paris, she’s another version of the jeune fille, the young girl, whom everyone feels authorised to hate. Think of every teenage girl on television, with few exceptions – they’re all whiny and intransigent and bothered, and we never really know why. The radical French philosophy collective Tiqqun published a polemic in 1999 called Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young Girl, which reads her as the ultimate consumer: when she thinks she’s expressing herself she’s only expressing commodity culture; she has no depth, no intimate reserves, she is all Spectacle.

The young girl is not a gendered concept, but ‘the model citizen as redefined by consumer society since the First World War, in explicit response to the revolutionary menace.’ Although the terms in which Tiqqun make their argument are deeply sexist, their essential point holds: we are all young girls under the capitalist patriarchy. But the young girl herself, the actual gendered young female human animal, is always rife for exploitation, not least by Tiqqun. 

In her recent book Females (2019), Andrea Long Chu echoes this argument (though in markedly un-misogynist terms), choosing to put it this way:

[slu:]
Suspecting that the water had been mixed with something harmful, Tang reported the incident to the class monitor and teachers.
2、《蝙蝠侠大战超人:正义黎明》

The jeune fille is all of us, but when she becomes the star of the show she’s none of us – just a skinny body on which to project our fucked-up ideas about beauty and female behaviour. Emily in Paris is a missed opportunity to say something real, for instance, about being a foreigner – an experience it would behove Americans to experience from time to time. (To wit: that early scene where Emily’s normcore boyfriend holds up his brand-new passport saying ‘Look what I got!’)  It is difficult to move to a foreign country, especially to a city as notoriously closed-off as Paris, and really, genuinely lonely, in a way the show doesn’t make room for. It is soul-crushing to find yourself rejected for the very compliance that, back home, you believed made you valued and loved.

I’m angry that when the producers decided to tell the story of a young woman, they declined to give her a more textured existence. That they ask her to speak not French, but a dead, prefabricated English: fake it ’til you make it. At one point someone accuses her of being arrogant. ‘More ignorant than arrogant,’ she says, sadly. Why does she have to be ignorant? I groaned at my computer. Because that’s what the producers think of young women: all mermaid curls, no brains.

Courtesy Netflix

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但来自宾夕法尼亚州(Pennsylvania)的玛蒂?齐格勒(Maddie Ziegler),她的人生完全不是这么一回事。

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Gabriel: Well, there’s just one problem.

Emily: What’s that.

Gabriel: I like you.

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《少女日记》,导演玛丽尔·海勒。
Death may be behind the ritual of the critic’s top 10 lists, including that of physical media: Lists are easy to read on cellphones even if the deluge of entertainment media increasingly makes comprehensive viewing near-impossible. More than 900 movies will have opened in New York by the end of this year, many slipping in and out of theaters quickly and racing toward on-demand oblivion. Even so, I watched several hundred features over the year and liked quite a few; the major studios and the independent sector released the expected junk but, as usual, movies of merit. What follows are my favorite moving pictures of 2015 and another 10 miscellaneous notes on the year.
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