Amid its glitzy escapism and head-turning fashion moments, Netflix's romantic new offering, Emily in Paris, has also received some criticism claiming it represents Parisian culture from a narrow viewpoint.
One of the stars of the series, Lucas Bravo (who plays Gabriel, a chef who is Emily's neighbor-turned-complicated-love-interest), recently spoke with Cosmopolitan about the backlash from French critics — and said he does understand where they're coming from.
"I think they're right, in a way," Bravo said. "We're portraying clichés and we're portraying one single vision of Paris. Paris is one of the most diverse cities in the world. We have so many ways of thinking, so many different nationalities, so many different neighborhoods."
"A lifetime wouldn't be enough to know everything that's going on in Paris. It's an entire world in a city," he added.
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Emily in Paris follows Emily Cooper (Lily Collins), a young woman from Chicago who gets the chance of a lifetime to live in Paris for a year and lend an American influence to the social media behind a French marketing firm.
Along the way, she comes up against Parisian clichés that are often addressed in pop culture, both negative and positive: difficult living situations, food to die for, people urinating outdoors in the open — and, as Emily's newfound best pal Mindy says, the assumption that all French people have no problem being rude to your face.
So in a sense, while Bravo understands critics' points, he believes they may be misguided about the series' approach and what it's trying to accomplish with Emily's particular narrative.
"At some point, if you want to tell a story about Paris, you have to choose an angle," he told Cosmopolitan. "You have to choose a vision. French critics, they didn't understand the fact that it's just one vision. They're like, 'Oh, this is not what Paris is.' Of course. Paris is many things."
At the end of the day, Bravo believes the series gives viewers a catalyst that allows them to imagine wanderlust-laced realities they might not be able to actually live right now due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"People want to travel. Reality is so rough these days, and we've been going through such a difficult time that I think the show is so lighthearted, it's so colorful, the fashion, the romance, the traveling," he said. "Darren Star's vision is so colorful and alive and funny. People needed something to just escape."
And as for season 2? The star says the show "planted a few seeds about different characters"
"Like Camille, when she kisses Emily on the mouth, and she's like, 'I'm not sorry.' And then when they're in bed, and I'm liking the picture, it's all little seeds," he explained. "Anything could happen between the three of them. I think Darren wants this second season to be really open-minded."
When asked if he wants Gabriel to end up with Camille or Emily, Bravo teased: "The way we left things, Gabriel is definitely more excited, or more intoxicated by the promise of going further down the road with Emily, that's for sure. Because since she got here, so many amazing things unlocked for him, you know. But Camille is really strong-willed, she's an amazing woman, and she could very well come back."
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