Why Emily in Paris is 2020’s Ultimate Hate Watch

Too many berets, not enough struggle. But enough pretty to numb out.

Laura Belgray
9 min readOct 12, 2020

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I recently bought a tub of corn nuts from the local IGA. Once in a while, I love corn nuts. They’re fried, but I pretend they’re healthy because…I don’t know why. These corn nuts had a particular nasty flavor. Maybe from palm oil? It makes everything taste like fake butter, like scratch ’n’ sniff popcorn would taste if it were scratch ’n’ lick. I was going to throw them out, but instead I decided to eat them because they were there, and soon polished them off.

That’s my Emily in Paris experience in a (corn) nutshell.

I despised the first fifteen minutes. I was going to call it a day after half an episode, but a friend was able to talk in so much more detail about why the show sucks (“Did you see the spontaneous singing scene? OMG cringe”), I started feeling legitimate imposter syndrome. I wanted to hate it with more authority, so I hit RESUME on episode 1 and pushed on through.

It didn’t get better, but it grew on me until I found myself addicted.

Like a twelve-year-old, I watched it on my iPhone in the car, and whined “DAMMIT!” when it froze and buffered as we lost cell service on the road.

My husband: “I thought you hated that show,”

“I do! I’m hate-watching it. Fuck the service out here.”

If ever there was a right moment for a so-so show, it’s this one for Emily in Paris.

All anyone wants is to turn away from the shit show that is 2020 and look at some pretty. Emily in Paris is a mental bubble bath. A tepid one, but it does the trick. It’s a tub of corn nuts with an aftertaste that fades because you’re that desperate for something to shove in your mouth.

The Guardian and British Vogue already dug into the show’s cliches and inaccuracies about French life, so I’ll only touch briefly on my beef with the croissants and the berets:

OK, we get it! You’re in France! The show is as heavy-handed about taking place in France as “The L Word” was about lesbians. In every episode of that show, someone would say, “Well, you know how it is with us lesbians!”

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Laura Belgray

Copywriting expert, co-creator: The Copy Cure, author: Tough Titties, writer of the only newsletter anyone opens & reads. Get help w words at talkingshrimp.com