I take a look at this sitcom that is just the best kind of trashy.
Emily (Lily Collins) is a Chicago-based marketing expert whose boss, Madeline (Kate Walsh) gets pregnant unexpectedly, resulting in Emily taking her place in the firm’s new French fashion branch, Savoir. Emily, who does not speak French, quickly draws the ire of her new boss Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu), but slowly bonds with her co-workers Luc and Julien (Bruno Gouery and Samuel Arnold). She also starts to become attracted to her downstairs neighbor Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), a prominent local chef, and becomes friends with local nanny Mindy (Ashley Park) and local art gallery manager Camille (Camille Razat). Emily keeps trying to bring a lot of America to Paris, but Paris is definitely going to fight back.
First of all, I want to say that there needs to be a spin-off focused on Mindy. In every scene in which she appears, Mindy makes it clear that she has had an incredibly interesting life and that she is a more dynamic personality than Emily. On the other hand, this show was made by Darren Star, so it was inevitable that the main character has to be the most boring one. Additionally, since it’s a Darren Star show, one of the biggest characters is the location, which, being Paris, works really well. Parisians are clearly a little exaggerated in the series, but from what I have heard from people who work, live, and travel there, the depictions aren’t as far from reality as you would think. The city is beautiful and old, older than anything in the United States, and the series highlights all of the magic within.
Lily Collins does a good job as Emily, although it’s sometimes cringeworthy how much the character seems to refuse to adapt to her new locale. I mean, she constantly tries to override French tradition with Americanism, the exact thing that most other countries hate about Americans (also the English). It’s also a little unpleasant how often some people, particularly Sylvie, criticize her for not speaking French, despite the fact that she only had about a week and a half to move to France unexpectedly. Admittedly, she doesn’t improve very much over the course of the first season, but it gets old that they don’t accept that she essentially was dropped into this job without warning.
The dialogue in the show is pretty good, but I’ll admit that it often relies on some crude jokes or cheap laughs. It’s a little trashy, but let’s be honest, that’s not a reason not to watch. The supporting cast is great, with, again, special shout-out to Ashley Park as Mindy. Even the episodic or background characters are usually pretty well-crafted, even if they’re a bit stereotypical. It’s a sitcom, so that’s to be expected. The show’s relationship dynamics are a bit different than some shows because of the difference between American and French relationships. For example, one of the recurring characters has a wife and a mistress and the two are friendly and it seems fairly open. Not a thing that you see as “normal” in US television.
Overall, it’s not a bad show at all. If you liked Beverly Hills, 90210 or Sex and the City, you’ll probably like this.
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
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