Just How Absurd Is the Reality TV Spinoff of ‘Emily in Paris’? A Paris-Based Expat Weighs In

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single American, upon arrival in Paris, must be in want of a hot French date.

This is the premise behind the latest American-produced stab at exploring the expat experience in gay Paris, this time in the form of a reality TV series from Bravo. If the network’s housewives are real, the Real Girlfriends in Paris, which premiered earlier this month, may be even realer.

“Cheers to new and long friendships! May they be as long as the d*cks we—nevermind,” toast Adja Toure, Kacey Margo, and Victoria Zito, newfound friends and three of the show’s six lipgloss-loving cast members in one of the pilot’s early scenes.

To be fair, the girlfriends have set out to achieve some other goals in their new city, too. Kacey from southern California wants to make enough money as an English teacher to make ends meet in Paris—a noble cause. Victoria, having escaped her “very Christian” background in Texas, has come to Paris to make it as a fashion designer. Meanwhile, Margaux Lignel, who has grown up between New York and Paris, is supposedly seeking financial independence from her wealthy French father, starting by living on a meager 2K a month rather than the 10K she has grown accustomed to. Her father says he wants her to want to make it work, and she confirms that she really, really does. It’s all very inspiring, yet the project feels doomed in advance, like a modern, ultra-vulgar take on an Edith Wharton novel.

Sidenote: Margaux’s perfectly deadpan French father is the only true Parisian in the pilot. He marches into his daughter’s apartment and lovingly insults her dog, her choice of scrambled egg seasoning, and her glaring inability to open French windows—or make a living. He is the perfect antidote to the saccharine orgy of over-effusive compliments that go on in the dinner party scene later in the episode. 

Said soirée, thrown by art and culture theorist Anya Firestone, is the crown jewel in the pilot’s frivolous plot. The evening is clearly intended to demonstrate the height of Parisian sophistication to Anya’s new expat pals, who are duly impressed on arrival. Having struggled for days to find recipes for a low-carb Thanksgiving dinner, the immaculately turned-out intellectual of the group answers the door in the most figure-hugging pair of shiny copper trousers anyone has ever seen.

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