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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 首尔大兴“绿色建筑”. 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.

她说道:“我认为,由于这家公司没有打击盗版或其他恶意修改游戏行为的能力,所以他们把一个14岁的孩子当替罪羊来以儆效尤。”
[.depri'vein]
The implosion of a giant subprime mortgage lender in 2007?The collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008?
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玛戈特·瓦尔斯特伦(Margot Wallstrom)
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中国最高纪律监管机构日前表示,去年共有1300名涉嫌经济犯罪的外逃人员回国接受审判,其中腐败官员347人。
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Baoneng is believed to have borrowed heavily to fund its share purchases in Vanke and is now the developer’s largest single shareholder with a 25 per cent stake.

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

n. 会议记录,(复数)分钟
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The questions can seem like a sudden reversal after decades of rising multiculturalism, through the civil rights movement in the United States and the European Union’s opening up of borders.
财新经济学家何帆表示:“这表明宏观经济已进一步趋稳,经济结构正在改善。今后必须协调财政政策和货币政策,尽可能避免大规模刺激。”
数百名为爱痴迷的爱尔兰球迷在球场外集体围着并示爱法国金发女郎。一名仰慕者最后甚至索吻成功。
瑞典
n. 董事,经理,主管,指导者,导演

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:

"Moreover, most Chinese families only have one child, so many of us return to China because we want to stay close to our family and friends," said a student surnamed Su, who gave up his job in the UK and returned to take care of his mother in China.
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Consider:

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

In March, Ford completed its exit from the luxury car market by selling Volvo to China's Geely Automobile for $1.6 billion. Although the sale represents a sharp loss - the company paid $6 billion for the Swedish automaker eleven years ago - Ford posted an annual profit of $2.7 billion in 2009, its first profitable year since 2005. Assisted by the 'Cash for Clunkers' program (not to mention Toyota's accelerator woes), Ford recaptured its position as the nation's largest carmaker in February. Which is why Ford's CEO Alan Mulally can now look abroad, including big markets like India, where it recently introduced the compact Figo.
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IT/通信/电子/互联网行业的应届生签约最高月薪为4867元,同比去年下降826元;紧随其后的是金融业和交通/运输/物流/仓储行业,平均签约月薪分别是4692元和4457元。
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Gabriel: Well, there’s just one problem.

Emily: What’s that.

Gabriel: I like you.

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他也是个妥妥儿的喜欢刺激事的家伙。
埃玛·莫拉诺一生中唯一的成就可能就是坚持。她活了117岁,并把自己的长寿归功于生鸡蛋和没有丈夫。她于4月15日去世。
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One of the men even swoops in to give the girl a quick kiss on the cheek. He turns around in mock-embarrassment and gives his friend a hug, while the young woman speaks to her friend in French.

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