“Are you still watching?” La vie à Paris

Dunia Sarkis

Is quarantine getting you down? Does your
life feel on loop, with days blurring into weeks
and weeks into months? Have you stared at your
computer screen for hours in the cozy darkness
of your room, ignoring your responsibilities and
worries, wishing you could just leave this flawed
world and enter one where your problems
dissolve within 20 to 60 minutes?
Have I got the column for you. Welcome to
“Are You Still Watching?”, where you give me
your top TV picks, and I recommend some
binge-worthy shows you may not have heard of
yet.
Every person has their own passions, and
I’m no exception. Some people collect stamps;
others read books, play chess, or do math. Most
people are pretty good at these passions and
are even commended for them. This is where I
differ. My greatest talent is watching TV, and I’m
good at it, maybe even one of the best around,
but I’m told I’m lazy and should stop rotting my
brain with nonsense, get off the couch, and do
something useful with my life.
Still, I’m a very skilled watcher; I’m practically
a pro at recommending shows. So the least I can
do is hone my skills and help you find your next
favorite TV series. Today’s themes? France and

Romance.
If you haven’t seen
“Emily in Paris,” you’ve
at least heard of it. It
was a huge success
when it was released on
Netflix last fall. If you’re
not familiar with the
story, our protagonist,
Emily, travels to Paris
for a marketing job.
She expects a wonderful

Parisian experience full of beautiful sights, high
fashion, and delicious pastries. While some of
her expectations are fulfilled (we often see her
indulging in a crispy pain au chocolat), Emily is
surprised by what she finds.
Upon her arrival in the city of love, she
experiences a cultural disconnect: many
conversations get lost in
translation, people
around her are rude
and lazy, and French
traditions give her
some trouble. It’s a
fun, easy show, full
of flirting and
uncomfortable
situations.
For a different
perspective of Paris,
you might like “Call My Agent!” While “Emily in
Paris” shares an outsider’s view and amplifies
stereotypes of the French, “Call My Agent!”
will show you the real, authentic Paris. The
show follows the talent agency, ASK, and its
employees as they deal with all of the conflicts
of their misfit actors. Though the show is
in French, English subtitles are available to
accommodate your viewing needs! This show

is one of my all-time favorites. It’s laugh-out-
loud funny, heartfelt, and once in a while, you

get a beautiful shot of the Parisian skyline. The
characters grow before your eyes (we LOVE
character development here!), and you may
find yourself wishing you could partake in their
gossip. The best part? Every episode features a
famous French actor (How did they get so many
legends on the show?), and you may even spot
some familiar American faces.
You might also like “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”

Paris may be the world’s most romantic city, but
a close second is West Covina, California. Surely,
you’ve heard of it! No? Well, follow Rebecca
Bunch there, and soon you’ll see. Bunch, a
big-shot lawyer, runs into her high school
sweetheart in the busy streets of Manhattan. He
tells her about his hometown, West Covina, and
in an attempt to regain his love, she drops her
job and follows him there. This show does not
take place in Paris, and the closest you’ll get is
the Season One song, “Sexy French Depression.”
Oh, did I forget to mention? Rebecca’s thoughts
are expressed through song. We get to watch
her sing about love triangles, mental health,
and much more. Who doesn’t love spontaneous
song-and-dance numbers?
Though “Call My Agent!” isn’t always as
glamorous as “Emily in Paris,” it’s charming
and more real. I was drawn to the nuanced
characters and felt invested in everything they
did. I resisted watching the last episode for so
long because I was devastated that it had to end.
As for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” its romance is
nowhere near as fairytale-esque as in “Emily in
Paris,” but the complexity of the love storylines
makes it entertaining. Also, the songs are
beyond catchy (I guarantee you will have some
strange songs stuck in your head if you watch
this show!). I find endless joy in this show, which
addresses important topics while managing to
be captivating and upbeat.
As you may have noticed, I love talking about
TV. So, if you like these shows, let me know. I
hope they bring you as much joy as they have
brought me. Send your favorite shows my way
(dsarkis@bbns.org), and I’ll try to find you a
new favorite series! What are you waiting for?
Click that “Continue Watching” button, and
binge away!