[There are spoilers ahead for Emily in Paris season 2. If you haven’t finished the whole season, bookmark this page for a later date!]
Most people would say that Sylvie Grateau, the no-bullshit head of Emily in Paris’s fictional Savoir marketing firm, is the villain of the series. On the surface, that’s definitely true. She’s constantly mean to Emily, making fun of her lack of French while excluding her from various business deals and client meetings. She was the opposite of welcoming when Emily first arrived in Paris, and you could even argue she was hostile. But season 2 of the show reveals what I’ve personally known all along: Sylvie is the only good character on this show. Allow me to explain the hottest of takes.
Throughout both seasons, Sylvie has been the only character consistently willing to call Emily out on her bullshit—and there’s a lot of bullshit. Remember in season 1 when Emily lost track of a famous movie star and the incredibly expensive necklace she was wearing, so Sylvie had to swoop in and save the day? Or in season 2 when Sylvie had to do damage control after Emily embarrassed herself in front of the owner of the Saint Tropez beach club? Sylvie has saved Emily’s ass multiple times, and she’s not afraid to point out when she does. That’s why I think she got such a bad rep during the first season especially. It’s hard to root for a character when their whole arc is actually just cleaning up another character’s mess. They’re going to look like the bad cop, always. And Sylvie got stuck in that box in a major way.
But the difference is that in season 2, we get to see Sylvie’s wonderfully complicated layers. My jaw actually hit the floor when it was revealed that the owner of Laurent G is, in fact, her husband. Leave it to Sylvie to have a husband as hot as that guy and not tell a single person about it. She’s not trying to have people all up in her business, and I respect that. And speaking of business, she’s constantly pushing Emily to get off her phone and enjoy her life. “It’s illegal to work on the weekends in France,” she tells her when they inadvertently rendezvous in Saint Tropez. That’s called the wisdom of age, people!! Take notes! No Instagram following is worth experiencing your year in Paris through an iPhone screen. And honestly… the amount of joie de vivre it requires to date someone as young as that photographer guy? Sylvie pulls.
The final episode of season 2 is where she really shines, though. After being interrogated and undercut by Madeleine with accounts Sylvie’s been in charge of for actual years, she decides that no, she won’t be bossed around by this American lady with no taste. She sells her portion of Laurent G, takes her literal and metaphoric bag, and goes elsewhere. Sylvie has simply been around too long to sit by and watch her position dwindle. She could have just hung out at Savoir and coasted into an early retirement (she’s a French woman, so we will literally never know how old Sylvie is and therefore how close she is to retirement), but it takes a certain amount of wisdom to know when it’s time to stop taking shit from other people and be your own boss.
Sylvie somehow walks this tightrope of not letting her work define her, but also not letting her relationships define her, either. She’s fully her own person. Emily could—and hopefully will—learn a thing or two.
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