Hilarious Emily in Parasite satire puts French twist on Bong Joon Ho's Korean classic
Lily Collins' Emily Cooper — protagonist of Netflix's new, insufferably sweet comedy Emily in Paris — spends most of the series, well, in Paris, though she can't speak French. Chances are she doesn't know Korean, either. But, thanks to a satire born from the minds of two Instagram geniuses, Emily is now fluent in the universal language of hilarity.
"This is the dumbest thing we’ve made," acupuncturist Russell Brown and creative director Mark Jacobs tell EW via email of launching their Emily in Parasite Instagram page, which splices images of Collins into Bong Joon Ho's Best Picture-winning thriller Parasite to side-splitting comedic effect. "It started as a text that made us laugh and became an Instagram account as a supplement to our doomscrolling, to distract us from the Amy Coney Barrett hearings. The wordplay worked like a good drag name and summed up Emily’s inopportune existence."
As nonsensical as the concept might be, the duo feels the juxtaposition of Emily's wide-eyed ignorance with the Parasite cast's stony seriousness is actually thematically in-line with the tone of the Darren Star-created series, which follows the titular, social media-obsessed twenty-something luxury marketer as her American sensibilities (and eye-straining fashions) clash with her Parisian colleagues after she's sent overseas to develop the brand.
"It’s very Emily to impose her American perspective on a movie about Korean class horror," the pair writes. "A White American abroad working at a marketing firm, trying to succeed as an influencer, as wish-fulfillment princess fantasy is also horror. It’s all horror."
Also terrifying to Brown and Jacobs, they note, is the thought of Emily in Paris being an earnest project: "When the account started, we’d only seen the first three episodes. Since then, we’ve seen the fourth. We couldn’t tell if the show is making fun of this person or not but we don’t think they are? The show wants us to root for her — we think — but she's not a hero, her arc is not heroic," they observe. "In 2020, audiences are finally less likely to give this character a free pass. The arch appreciation of insufferable things — like Sway House, Paris Hilton, Ramona Singer — feels uglier and less clever than ever. It’s expired for us, at least, and we’ve consumed some dark matter."
Still, they say, there's meaning in the frivolity of their send-up, which has garnered thousands of new followers in a matter of days, including Emily in Paris supporting actress Ashley Park: "Ultimately, these are really hard times and getting harder, for many more than others," they finish. "We’re just happy to make people smile about something truly stupid and inconsequential, which is what we were trying to do for each other. Also please vote."
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