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Why Emily In Paris’ Lily Collins Appreciates Her Character’s ‘Annoying’ Qualities

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(Image credit: Netflix)

When Emily in Paris premiered on Netflix back in 2020, fans eagerly raced through the first season for a lot of reasons. Hot French men? Check. Hilariously questionable fashion? Yes. And it was the Sex and The City creator’s latest project? Sounds perfect. It ended up being frequently lauded as the definitive show of the quarantine era. Simultaneously, though, it faced a lot of backlash for being kind of problematic, annoying, and excessive, among other things. But the lead star, Lily Collins, actually appreciates her character's perceived “annoying” qualities.

The series intentionally played up a lot of the stereotypes that seemingly divide American people from French people. (And evidently, one of its actors sees a particular cliché as very much true on the French side.) Yet by doing so, many on both sides of the proverbial pond found the characters to be two-dimensional, or flat. Emily herself rubbed Americans wrong because we don't particularly like to perceive of ourselves as overtly chipper and ringarde.

It really is a razor-thin tightrope the show is walking. But Lily Collins is looking to shift the stigma of Emily's characterization. In an interview with Nylon, the actress reflected:

A lot of the qualities that Emily has, if you put them on paper, would seem so annoying. To have someone be optimistic, bright, and bubbly — it's sad to think that people would look and go, ‘That’s a lot.’ They’re such beautiful qualities, and the fact that she can partner that with being vulnerable and asking for help and making mistakes — she’s not infallible.

To be sure, excessively happy people aren't always in vogue. They tend to trigger and scrape against us Darias of the world. But Emily's wide-eyed optimism is precisely why so many got hooked on the show during the pandemic. It was an uncertain time and a character like hers, so wholeheartedly certain and easy-going, was like living a collective fantasy. Escapism, as they say.

Still, Emily in Paris wasn't just discredited because of Emily's incessant cheeriness. Viewers also frequently noted that Emily's privilege as a white woman seemed to precede her. It felt like she might’ve been making a name for herself by flying by the seat of her pants, not necessarily skill level. However, creator Darren Criss previously said he wouldn't apologize for the glamorization of his lead character's life because it was simply her own point of view as an “American girl who has never been there.”

Despite (or maybe because of) all the water cooler conversations, Netflix renewed the dramedy a second season. From what we know so far, some important characters have been will become series regulars. Moreover, based on the teaser trailer, it seems like everyone is taking a vacation to St. Tropez.

One thing in particular is very likely to happen in Emily in Paris Season 2: Camille finds out about the cheating.  In which case, Paris might just make a stereotypical less-happy Parisian out of Emily yet. The new season premieres on Netflix on December 22 but, in the meantime, check out our list of other great shows to watch if you liked Lilly Collins' series.

Lauren Vanderveen

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.