If you’ve ever seen a show created by Darren Star, you already have a pretty good idea of what the romance situation shapes up to be on Emily in Paris. In season one, we meet Emily Cooper (Lily Collins), an ambitious twenty-something marketing executive from Chicago who unexpectedly lands her dream job in Paris when her company acquires a French luxury marketing company. Earnest Emily — clumsily offending every French resident she comes across — is tasked with revamping the company’s social media strategy into something more friendly for American audiences, which leads to a lot of butting heads between her and her coworkers. Luckily, her love life thrives in France — by which I mean, of course, that it quickly becomes a tangled hot mess.
By the first season’s finale, Emily’s romantic mishaps leave her caught in the web of two very suave European gentlemen: Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), the hot chef neighbor who happens to be dating one of her only two friends in Paris, and Mathieu Cadault (Charles Martins), the hot businessman who runs part of his uncle Pierre’s couture house. From those descriptions, you might already have made your decision on which man you think sounds better for young Emily’s heart (congratulations, you’ve rightly chosen my side), but as we all know, love is always so much more complicated than it seems! With that in mind, two POPSUGAR editors have come together to settle the Gabriel-Emily-Mathieu affair like civilized women and debate which duo reigns supreme. We both agree that Emily doesn’t need a man, but it’s a romantic comedy and we love love, so we’re also ready to defend our favorite pairing!
Kelsie Gibson: Throughout the first season, Emily in Paris follows some classic romantic comedy tropes, and Emily and Gabriel’s first interaction is no exception. Emily accidentally mistaking Gabriel’s apartment for her own is the perfect meet-cute, and from the moment they lock eyes, it’s clear they have a connection. As they stumble through their first conversation together, I was blushing right along with them. Their longing looks basically signify that something big is about to happen with these two, and this is just the beginning. As a huge fan of rom-coms, I live for these grand, romantic, and sometimes dramatic love stories. Would I want a relationship like this in real life? No, but this is fiction and sometimes we need a little escapism in our everyday life.
Just like any good rom-com, Emily and Gabriel’s relationship is a slow burn as they constantly try to figure out the timing. When she meets Gabriel, Emily is unavailable, but when she finally breaks up with her boyfriend in Chicago (honestly, that was for the best because he was the worst), we find out that Gabriel is actually in a relationship. Even though I know they can’t be together, that didn’t stop me from shipping them. Out of all of her romantic love interests, Gabriel is, without a doubt, the most charming — and not just because he’s easy on the eyes. Compared to the rest of Emily’s suitors (who are completely awful, BTW), he seems to genuinely care for Emily as a person. They have such great chemistry from the very start. It’s easy for them — that is, until it gets very complicated.
Mekishana Pierre: I am all about the meet-cute and sizzling connections — I just don’t understand why we can’t have that and healthy relationships at the same time! Emily has a habit of falling fast and hard when she meets a man that she’s attracted to, and with Mathieu, it was different. There was the initial attraction, but because they’re essentially coworkers, they don’t immediately act on it. Mathieu admires Emily’s work, her ideas, and her creativity, encouraging her over-the-top ideas when others would scoff at them, and ultimately, trusts her with his family’s business.
“I enjoy indulging in the grand, romantic, and dramatic love stories, but I also appreciate the love stories where people just appreciate learning one another.”
When they eventually fall into each others’ arms, it’s not the fireworks display that Emily and Gabriel’s nighttime tryst is, instead, it’s the warm burn of a campfire, and I like that! Mathieu is a grown man pursuing Emily, he isn’t her dirty little secret, and he’s taking his time. He’s whisking her away for a celebratory trip, not flipping cheater omelets in his apartment. I enjoy indulging in the grand, romantic, and dramatic love stories, but I also appreciate the love stories where people just appreciate learning one another and their troubles don’t mean their relationship is toxic. And let’s be honest, there will never be a point in time when Emily and Gabriel’s relationship can get over how it started, which is while both of them were seeing other people.
Kelsie: Out of all the guys Emily dates in the first season, Mathieu is the most forgettable to me (I literally forgot his name when I was writing this). It’s not that he’s boring per se, but he and Emily just don’t have any sparks. After all the bad guys she has dated, I get that he’s the safer bet. He treats her well, he’s successful and wants to whisk her off on romantic vacations at a moment’s notice, but even Emily has her doubts. Are they compatible? Sure. But will they last in the long run? My guess is no. In the words of Blair Waldorf, “People don’t write sonnets about being compatible, or novels about shared life goals and stimulating conversation. The great loves are the crazy ones.”
Mekishana: I love the Queen B as much as everyone else, but I would never, ever, ever take relationship advice from her real or fictional!! Her most lasting relationship is the most toxic of them all and that quote was what she said to justify it. (Team Dair forever!) I’m woman enough to agree that Emily and Gabriel have great chemistry, but as soon as she finds out he’s dating Camille, it becomes entangled in the forbidden nature of their relationship. Any romanticism gets sullied by how Emily not only kisses Gabriel again, but also how Gabriel seemingly doesn’t care about how Camille would feel about him pursuing a friendship with a woman he desires. When Emily and Gabriel make love in the season finale, it’s two people knowing they’re doing something wrong, even with Gabriel and Camille being “over.” Emily is still seeing Mathieu and is also friends with Camille, it’s breaking all the rules of friendship there could ever be!
Kelsie: I get that the whole Gabriel-Camille-Emily love triangle is messy. Emily getting together with Camille’s boyfriend is breaking some serious girl code. Honestly, I think what I hate most about the love triangle isn’t that Gabriel and Emily can’t be together, but that Gabriel pretty much led her on. Maybe he was just being nice to her in the beginning, but that doesn’t mean he has to let her shower in his apartment? That being said, I also don’t think Gabriel should stay with Camille if he honestly doesn’t love her anymore. It’s not fair for either of them. And if he and Emily think they have something real, they should let Camille know that as well. Maybe they should have waited to spend the night together until after they actually told her? But hey, this is TV and the writers had to leave room for another season.
“I want to see more of her wearing cute clothes, getting less ignorant of French culture, and basking in the joys of having a hot, rich, older boyfriend who treats her well without causing drama.”
Mekishana: See, I don’t even believe that Emily and Gabriel really have anything special. What do they even know about each other outside of the facts that they’re attracted to one another and enjoy good food? Yes, Gabriel cares about Emily and they were good friends for a minute there, but if we’re being honest, I think Emily would see the most growth in a relationship with Mathieu than Gabriel. And not just career-wise! Mathieu finds Emily charming, but he also challenges her while encouraging her to learn more about French culture (which she desperately needs to). The older man is steadfast and established, he doesn’t need, he wants her — and he doesn’t have baggage that will ruin her friendships! We romanticize dramatic relationships so much, we forget how exhausting they are. And Emily and Gabriel have all the ingredients to be super exhausting.
Kelsie: If we’re being completely honest, maybe the best thing Emily needs to do is be single for a while and figure out what she truly wants. If the show does get renewed for a second season, I’d love to see her excel at work, have fun adventures with Mindy, and just enjoy Paris without all the romance drama. Maybe after a whole season of self-discovery she’ll eventually find her way back to Gabriel? Isn’t that the perfect romantic comedy ending anyways?
Mekishana: It depends on your perfect romantic comedy! When I imagine Emily’s future seasons, I don’t want to spend episodes watching the fallout of her sneaking around with Gabriel and attempting to get Camille to forgive her (you know that’s where we’re headed). I want to see more of her wearing cute clothes, getting less ignorant of French culture, and basking in the joys of having a hot, rich, older boyfriend who treats her well without causing drama. Her work life is dramatic enough! But either way, just like every other Darren Star creation, I’m going to tune in to see what happens next!