Emily in Paris season 2 review: Lily Collins finds her French footing in fluffy romcom follow-up
While Netflix's romcom seems more at home in its Parisian setting, American social media strategist Emily is still tough to root for, Lauren Morris writes.
While 2020 will be best remembered as the year of lockdowns, isolation periods and lateral flows, it did give us lots of excellent TV to pass the time whilst trapped in solitary confinement, from Feel Good and Schitt's Creek, to I May Destroy You and The Crown. It was also the year that gave us Emily in Paris – Netflix's controversial comedy-drama that many loved to vocally hate and others hated to secretly love.
Now, with the UK just a few coughs away from yet another lockdown, the series starring Lily Collins is back for a second season of messy love triangles, reductive takes on French culture and excessive selfies that'll make you want to delete Instagram for good.
The first season of Emily in Paris ended on a rather juicy cliffhanger, with the titular Chicagoan social media strategist sleeping with her handsome chef neighbour Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), who has just split with Emily's new friend Camille (Camille Razat) after deciding to move back to Normandy. While the pair finally put to bed (quite literally) the palpable sexual tension between them, the series ends with Emily's client Antoine (William Abadie) offering to team up with Gabriel to finance a restaurant in Paris – which means he'll be staying for good.
Season two pretty much picks up where the last one left off, with Emily fretting over her affair with Gabriel whilst working hard at PR firm Savoir and preparing for a romantic break to Saint-Tropez with her semi-boyfriend and client Mathieu Cadault (Charles Martins). You can tell that the show, created by Sex and the City's Darren Star, listened to its critics ahead of the second season, after many reviews branded the social-media-obsessed American as a loud, entitled tourist.
In the new season, Emily is definitely less obnoxious, having relaxed more into her picturesque Parisian surroundings, while her peers are no longer just walking French stereotypes, with Savoir's formidable boss Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu), the brazen Julien (Samuel Arnold) and odd-bod Luc (Bruno Gouery) all receiving their own storylines in this series.
That being said, Emily is still somewhat unlikeable no matter how hard the charismatic Lily Collins tries to convince us otherwise. As much as the comedy-drama would like us to, you can't quite bring yourself to root for someone who doesn't seem particularly sorry for ripping the clothes off of her best friend's freshly single ex and breaking the heart of her adoring businessman boyfriend. In one episode, a character angrily tells Emily – whose French still hasn't improved since season one – that she is an "illiterate sociopath" and at some points in season two, you can't help but agree.
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You could argue that Star's most popular character creation – Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) – wasn't a stranger herself to infidelity, selfish behaviour and cringe-worthy faux pas moments. However, there was still a lot to love about the seminal New York columnist, who was witty, edgy and very three-dimensional. Unfortunately, Emily is no Carrie Bradshaw and, much like the show, still lacks depth and is as basic as you can get.
As much as I've just ripped into the Netflix show, those who loved the first season will still want to book a one-way ticket to watch the romcom's second run. As the romantic drama around Emily, Gabriel and Camille is ramped up, Paris finally becomes the City of Love for Emily's roommate and disowned Chinese heiress Mindy (Ashley Park) and Savoir's glamorous yet intimidating boss Sylvie, with the two characters being introduced to brand new love interests.
Meanwhile, Emily soon meets 30-year-old Londoner Alfie (Waterloo Road's Lucien Laviscount), a businessman on a secondment in Paris who dresses like David Beckham but speaks like a Love Island contestant. From being a football-obsessed day-drinker, to regularly saying "sorry luv", "bevvy", "babes", "go on the lash" and even "hunky-dory", Alfie is as many English stereotypes as you can get, all rolled into one, suave package.
Fun, fashion-forward and funny, Emily in Paris's second season makes for a very easy watch if you're after a fluffy romcom full of colourful characters and lovers' tiffs to get you through the Christmas holidays, but if you're looking for a sitcom with substance, I would say non merci to this messy comedy.
Emily in Paris season two arrives on Netflix on Wednesday 22nd December. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, or visit our TV Guide.