The groundbreaking series Sex And The City gave Gen Xers and millennials a reason to tune in and celebrate the (unrealistic) lives of 30-something women in New York City.
Fast forward to today, the same creator of Sex And The City and And Just Like that has created a chick-lit series in the form of Emily In Paris, starring Lily Collins as its lead character. Now, as the series returns for Season 2 on Netflix, will it be able to shake off criticisms of a cliche-filled view of the French capital and living ways, while keeping its viewers entertained at the same time?
Collins, who plays Emily, seems to think so. “I would say that in this season, Emily immerses herself more in the French culture and starts to speak the language better. She takes more influence from those she’s meeting and feeling a bit more comfortable within the city itself,” Collins shared with Yahoo Life SEA in a roundtable interview recently.
If we didn’t have these moments of emotional distress and turmoil and the realness of what the situations bring, it wouldn’t make the show as relatable
In the first Season of Emily In Paris, we saw American marketer Emily moving to the fashionable city of Paris after the company she works for acquires Savoir, a top-notch agency representing some of France's biggest brand names.
There, she tries to find her footing without speaking an ounce of French and gets her heart stolen by her neighbour Gabriel (played by Lucas Bravo). However, she encounters a slight problem: Gabriel already has a girlfriend named Camille (played by Camille Razat). Along the way, she befriends Mindy Chen (played by Ashley Park), a nanny for a wealthy family, who then becomes her close confidante.
Minor spoilers ahead
In Season 2, after stumbling into a love triangle with her neighbour and her first real French friend, Emily is determined to focus on her work — which is getting more complicated by the day. In French class, she meets a fellow expat, Alfie (played by Lucien Laviscount), who infuriates and intrigues her.
Will Emily shake off the drama with Gabriel and Camille, or will she learn to grow and own up her mistakes? “I think Emily was very tormented at the end of Season One because she’s deeply a good person; deep down, she’s just a really good girl who has a strong moral compass,” Collins revealed a little more about her character. “If we didn’t have these moments of emotional distress and turmoil and the realness of what the situations bring, it wouldn’t make the show as relatable.”
Collins also had an eye-opening experience stepping back into the character’s shoes and filming in the middle of the pandemic.
“I was so excited to get back into Emily, (sic) she provided me with so much joy and fun. And also learned so much about myself from playing her in Season One that I was excited to see what I had learned throughout the pandemic in the last year and a half now. It’s always a joy to play a character that you can relate to, which also teaches you something. So I was really excited to kind of use the skills that Emily had taught me to use my voice more,” Collins shared.
As for Park, we will be seeing her bubbly character leaning more on Emily as she expands her musical ambition. “We see her faced with circumstances that we haven’t seen her in, and situations where she doesn’t quite know what to do; we will see her lean on Emily a lot more this season and really pursuing her passion in singing,” Park shared. “There’s also a lot of comedy within it. Actually, with the tone of this season, I was laughing out loud on the table reads much more because we are familiar with these characters and their relationships.”
More fun. More passion. More bachelors!
In the trailer of Season 2, we see Emily drawn to a new man, Alfie, who could potentially distract her from Gabriel. “Being the new kid at school, the new kid on the block, I got to meet Lucas Bravo, and I swear to God, people don’t stop waving their hands when they see him in the stands! And Lily Collins, I swear to God, she is a dream to work with – also, Ashley and everyone!” Laviscount shared.
In an advanced media preview of this series ahead of its launch date, we got to watch how Alfie lets his guard down with Emily and even shows her his softer side.
“I felt like I really kind of understood Alfie and what it’s like to be in a foreign city. And I think we all understand what it’s like to be lonely, right? But yeah, who doesn’t want to be happy? Who doesn’t want to fall in love with that city,” Laviscount said.
On whether they would be friends with their characters, Bravo thought long and hard before adding: “(With Gabriel) I wanted to be a modern man who’s connected to his feminine and vulnerable side. I’m not exactly like Gabriel, but we do share some strong straits of personality.”
Laviscount even thinks their characters could be fond of each other. “The most beautiful thing about our characters is that we’re in our own lanes. We really become brothers in the show. People would think of us as competing, or whatever, but (their relationship) is kind of incredible. Gabriel looks at Alfie, and likewise – they are the consistent things in each other’s lives.”
Emily in Paris is now streaming on Netflix.