Netflix Original “Emily in Paris” Introduces Independent Female Lead

Screenshots from Netflix trailer

*Slight spoilers*

It’s no secret that I love [more like am obsessed with] romantic comedies just as much as the next girl, but there’s no denying the fact that rom com tropes are always surrounded around the main character falling in love. This is obviously expected when the name of the genre literally has the word “romantic” in it, but is it too much to ask for a strong, independent, career-focused main character who also just happens to fall in love?

In recent years, a variety of rom coms have been released that have begun to stray away from the classic stereotype and center characters around each other, rather than male counterparts. Films like Netflix’s “Set It Up” and “Always Be My Maybe” are clear examples of this, and now the newest Netflix Original series “Emily In Paris” joins the list. 

Though “Emily In Paris” consists of nine 30-minute episodes, it really just feels like one long extended romantic comedy. Lily Collins is Emily Cooper, a marketing expert and blossoming Instagram influencer who moves from Chicago to Paris to work for a French marketing firm. Before you ask, no this is not one of those “I’m quitting my job as soon as I fall in love” romance tropes [I’m looking at you, Hallmark].

When Emily leaves Chicago, she actually leaves behind a boyfriend — though, it’s no surprise that their long distance relationship will inevitably fail. But more to my point, she is not escaping to Paris to find love, she’s embarking on an adventure to gain new professional experience. As Emily navigates the new city, viewers watch as she slowly wins over her colleagues at Savoir, one of the most prestigious marketing firms in Paris. After befriending a few equally charismatic and ambitious women, signing contracts with elite fashion designers and other brands and learning some very broken French, it’s clear Paris is exactly where Emily is meant to be. 

On one particular assignment, Emily is given the task of managing an American actress who is known for her appearances in American romance movies [meta, right?]. Her French colleagues quickly dismiss the American genre, saying it is too “unrealistic” to which Emily replies that such films give viewers hope — and that’s exactly what “Emily In Paris” does. From the artistic cinematography to the runway-ready outfits to the main character’s growing success within her career, the series has all of the elements necessary to make a viewer want to impulsively pack up and move across the world … I’d be lying if I said the thought hadn’t crossed my mind, too.

Of course, no romantic comedy-esque plot would be complete without at least one love interest [and a few steamy French flings], but it doesn’t revolve around that storyline. Rather, it is simply a side plot intended to pull at the heart strings of every hopeless romantic with a Netflix subscription. Still, Emily is an incredibly independent and career-oriented main character and I am eagerly awaiting a second season!

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As a senior studying magazine journalism at Ohio University and a passionate feminist, I created Freely Femme as a way to use my love for storytelling to highlight some of the most inspirational women in my personal life and beyond.

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