In episode two of Emily in Paris, Netflix’s new Younger-meets-Sex and the City half-hour comedy, Emily Cooper (Lily Collins) snaps a photo of two young children (who, mind you, are not hers), and posts them to social media.
There’s nothing particularly engaging about the image, other than the fact that the children are young and blonde and very French-looking as they play-fight with a baguette – they are also the charges of a trilingual nanny whom Emily has befriended during a quick break from the office.
She posts the image to her new Instagram account, @emilyinparis, with the caption, "#Battle Royale at the Palais Royale." A few scenes later, we see that the post has garnered thousands of likes — more than her kissy-faced selfies — and earned her a horde of new followers apparently thirsty for poorly composed images of 21st century Von Trapp children.
Of all the elements of the show that seem laughably unrealistic — from Emily’s paid-for studio apartment in the heart of Paris, to her disgustingly hot downstairs neighbor — her social media “prowess” is perhaps the most shockingly outlandish. The portrayal of what performs on social media, and Emily’s “knack” for the platform, is honestly disrespectful to anyone who has ever been tasked with creating content.
Is it camp? Satire? Or is the show written by a bunch of Gen Xers or Boomers whose profile photos are selfies taken in low light as they gaze down at the camera phone in their hands? Because one thing’s for sure: Emily’s social content, like the show itself, is bad.
I have another theory for why Emily’s social media accounts garner thousands of engaged fans after she posts photos of pooping dogs and a marble statue that she captions, tiresomely, “chiseled abs”: She’s hot.
At this point, you don’t need a $1,000 ticket to an “influencer conference” where you must refer to fellow attendees as #bossladies, to be aware of the fact that selfies outperform photos of food, or your view, or a dog taking a shit, Every. Single. Time. And if you’re conventionally hot — read: thin, white, and dressed in couture chaos by Patricia Fields herself — it doesn’t take much for those likes to start popping off.
To confirm my theory, I reached out to 3 social media editors. Here’s what they had to say.
Peyton Dix, Special Projects Editor at InStyle
"Although I am obsessed with the show (I live for white mess), I would both block and report little miss @emilyinparis in an instant. She uses hashtags not a single soul would engage with, proposes half-baked social projects, and goes viral by reclaiming the vagina?? The latter is actually probably the most accurate. Anyway, the best friend should be the lead."
Meg Zukin, Senior Social at Variety
"Emily starts off with 48 followers. My grandma currently has 162. The problem for me with this show is its foundation. No 20-something who works in digital media (and probably was in a sorority at a Midwestern school?) would have such a small following. Her trajectory from selling pharmaceuticals to launching campaigns for luxury goods is completely unbelievable to me. Her ideas aren’t bad, but in the real world she would need to show some KPIs (or at least a deck!) before executing."
Hunter Harris, Staff Writer at Vulture
"It feels realistic that a white girl with dark lipstick and soft curls can say the words “social media” and convince Boomers she knows what she’s talking about. This girl walks around typing out HASHTAGS and saying the word ENGAGEMENT and these French people just let her rock. Sounds about white."
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