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An American in Paris Watches ‘Emily in Paris’

Courtesy Netflix

The Netflix show tells us exactly what TV producers think of young women: all mermaid curls, no brains

For what felt like ages I held out against watching Emily in Paris (2020). As an American in Paris I loathe the stereotype of the American in Paris, and only relented when BBC Scotland 北京昌平半年房价涨近三成 刚需客“迁出”海淀. Ah, I thought. A chance to tell the world – or, well, Scotland – how much I loathe this stereotype.

I’m only mildly embarrassed to admit I watched the whole show in two nights. I may even have giggled at a few of the jokes, and sighed at some views of Paris, even though Paris is right outside my door. ‘Paris of the mind is preferable to the real thing,’ as Moyra Davey once wrote. But once I’d left the bubble of pleasure the show created, I was left with a hangover of ambivalence.

The writing is objectively terrible; it feels like it was written by a scattershot team consisting of The One With the Jokes, The Hack, and The One Who Went to Paris Once. The Hack is responsible for all the flat-footed dialogue (“you’re not stepping on my toes, you’re stepping into my shoes!”), coming up with lines like Carrie Bradshaw at her punniest (“I’m petit mort-ified!”). The Funny One is, occasionally, very funny (see the vagin jeune storyline). And The One Who Went to Paris Once must be responsible for the white-washing of the city, the xenophobia towards the French, the unflinching commitment to being as ringarde as possible, and no that does not mean basic.

Courtesy Netflix

But what rankled about the show, I realized, isn’t all it gets wrong about France and the French – this is fantasy, not Italian neorealismo. It’s the show’s limited and, yes, misogynist conception of who Emily is, and who it allows her to be.

There is an element of Everywomanness to her. She is hard-working, plucky, and resourceful when faced with challenges and trials, and doesn’t have any inconvenient special talents like, I don’t know, speaking French to get in the way of the target audience identifying with her. Like Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress, she’s your average questing hero(ine). But where John Bunyan’s seventeenth-century religious allegory wonders if salvation exists, and if so, how can we attain it, in the world of Emily in Paris, redemption comes in the form of Instagram followers and bank. “Beyoncé’s worth far more than the Mona Lisa,” quips her best friend, approvingly. Paris is the City of Destruction and the Celestial City all at once.

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我经常觉得不开心
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n. 休息寓所,撤退,隐居
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但是这并没有阻止科学家在实验室发展人造大脑。今年奥地利的科学家仅从干细胞开始,成功地创造出等同于9个周大的婴儿的大脑。目前,这些大脑只有豌豆大小,也不能思考。阻止这些试验品发育成具有完全功能的大脑的因素是它们没有血液供给。
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The local court gave Zhou a lenient sentence due to the teenager's age and frank confession of the crime, according to the report.

Yet like a good comic hero, Emily is also somehow worse than us: witness the many people online complaining that she is, in fact, not relatable; she is ‘arrogant,’ ‘annoying,’ ‘entitled.’ She is these things, it’s true, but all these people on the internet, schooling Emily in how not to be a terrible obnoxious unlikable person reminds me of what the literary scholar Patricia Meyer Spacks wrote about gossip: that it’s society’s way of regulating itself and determining what is acceptable. So is, apparently, amateur TV criticism.

Courtesy Netflix

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Developer:Dontnod Entertainment, Square Enix
徐成光在新闻发布会上表示,截至上午10时20分,已打捞出97具遗体。
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2013年北京入境游客的减少可谓出乎意料。此前北京市出台了72小时过境免签等多项新政策,其目的正是为了促进旅游产业发展。
体积大未必就是好的。
In month-on-month terms, consumer prices fell 0.1 per cent after having risen 0.7 per cent a month earlier.

In their blatant careening towards the monaaaaaaay that such a show might be expected to generate, Emily in Paris’s producers have demonstrated that they don’t give a fine fuck about writing, characterisation, interior life. (Don’t get me wrong: this isn’t some Forsterian diatribe about round or flat characters. That’s the domain of amateur TV critics.) What they do seem to care about is building the perfect woman, and then tearing her down.

As I watched the show, I kept thinking of Hilary Mantel’s 2013 lecture for the London Review of Books about Kate Middleton and the ‘royal body’. The Duchess of Cambridge, Mantel said, ‘appeared to have been designed by a committee and built by craftsmen, with a perfect plastic smile and the spindles of her limbs hand-turned and gloss-varnished.’ With her perfect abs and immobile mermaid waves, Emily, more so even than Middleton, who is, let’s not forget, a real person, actually has been designed by committee, not to continue the royal line but to sustain the franchise.

On the radio they asked me if I identified with Emily at all and I said uhhhh for what felt like forever in radio time, before saying no, no, not at all. Because when I moved here I wasn’t anything like Emily; not only had I learned French at school, I had a few more notions of Normandy beyond Saving Private Ryan (1998). When I moved here, there were no smart phones, no Instagram, and the American in Paris narrative was about coming here and doing something creative – writing, painting, dancing, whatever – not making sales pitches like Don Draper in stilettos. But I can’t deny our commonalities.

Courtesy Netflix

I have a lot of sympathy for the American girl abroad. I’ve been her, I’ve taught her, I occasionally hear from her, reaching out for help finding her feet. But on Emily in Paris, she’s another version of the jeune fille, the young girl, whom everyone feels authorised to hate. Think of every teenage girl on television, with few exceptions – they’re all whiny and intransigent and bothered, and we never really know why. The radical French philosophy collective Tiqqun published a polemic in 1999 called Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young Girl, which reads her as the ultimate consumer: when she thinks she’s expressing herself she’s only expressing commodity culture; she has no depth, no intimate reserves, she is all Spectacle.

The young girl is not a gendered concept, but ‘the model citizen as redefined by consumer society since the First World War, in explicit response to the revolutionary menace.’ Although the terms in which Tiqqun make their argument are deeply sexist, their essential point holds: we are all young girls under the capitalist patriarchy. But the young girl herself, the actual gendered young female human animal, is always rife for exploitation, not least by Tiqqun. 

In her recent book Females (2019), Andrea Long Chu echoes this argument (though in markedly un-misogynist terms), choosing to put it this way:

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The jeune fille is all of us, but when she becomes the star of the show she’s none of us – just a skinny body on which to project our fucked-up ideas about beauty and female behaviour. Emily in Paris is a missed opportunity to say something real, for instance, about being a foreigner – an experience it would behove Americans to experience from time to time. (To wit: that early scene where Emily’s normcore boyfriend holds up his brand-new passport saying ‘Look what I got!’)  It is difficult to move to a foreign country, especially to a city as notoriously closed-off as Paris, and really, genuinely lonely, in a way the show doesn’t make room for. It is soul-crushing to find yourself rejected for the very compliance that, back home, you believed made you valued and loved.

I’m angry that when the producers decided to tell the story of a young woman, they declined to give her a more textured existence. That they ask her to speak not French, but a dead, prefabricated English: fake it ’til you make it. At one point someone accuses her of being arrogant. ‘More ignorant than arrogant,’ she says, sadly. Why does she have to be ignorant? I groaned at my computer. Because that’s what the producers think of young women: all mermaid curls, no brains.

Courtesy Netflix

但“平均”讲的是以前的情况,不是未来的事实。乐观言论不会让牛市重启,新的警告声音也不会刺破旧的泡沫。周期有自己的生命,该上行的时候上行,该下行的时候下行。这是很自然的事情。
Premiered in August, the 48-episode TV series is a fictional story, with a plot centering on struggles and romance during the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC).
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Gabriel: Well, there’s just one problem.

Emily: What’s that.

Gabriel: I like you.

Do not forget why you're attending these conferences, who you're doing this for -- we are your own children. You are deciding what kind of world we will grow up in. Parents should be able to comfort their children by saying "everyting's going to be alright" , "we're doing the best we can" and "it's not the end of the world". 不要忘记你们为何而来到这里开会,你们为谁做事情?我们是你们的下一代,你们正在决定我们将要在一个什么样的环境中成长,父母需要能够宽慰孩子们,告诉他们“一切都没问题,那不是世界末日,我们正在尽其所能的改变”。
Belgium
While 221 people fell off the billionaires list this year, 198 people joined the ranks. Twenty-nine from the 2015 list died, while another 29 rejoined the list after having fallen off.

保罗·乔治,克里斯·保罗,卡梅罗·安东尼,戈登·海沃德,吉米·巴特勒,德里克·罗斯,保罗·米尔萨普,J·J·雷迪克,埃里克·布莱索,德怀特·霍华德……自去年以来,换了东家的球员名单还在不断增加。
项目长度:13至15个月
Mr Na said that although South Korea had signed a trade agreement with China, there were plenty of other ways in which Beijing could punish Seoul.
10. "Arrow" (2.2 million)
有些热门剧已经走得太远,应该降降温了,却仍在大张旗鼓,比如《唐顿庄园》(Downton Abbey)、《丑闻》(Scandal)和《复仇》(Revenge)。ABC频道的新剧《逍遥法外》(How to Get Away With Murder)是一部有趣的替代品,它是一部耸人听闻的夜间肥皂剧,讲述不法辩护律师的故事,简直可以称为“法律与无序”。
Dreamworks Animation

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