Written By: Micah Croom
With 2020 finally being over, it seems as if everyone and everything is seeking a fresh start, preparing to be out with the old and in with the new. Netflix is bringing this ideology into full force with the projected expectancy of nearly 100 IP’s (Internet Properties) being introduced this year. One of the shows that seems to be making the most headway is Bling Empire, a series produced by Jeff Jenkins, who was also responsible for producing multiple seasons of Keeping Up With The Kardashians in the past. Bling Empire is similar to that of the Kardashians’ series, but with the focus placed on a different culture nestled within Los Angeles.
The show is based upon the wildly affluent & rather intriguing lifestyles of Asian Americans living amongst the masses in Beverly Hills. Each character accumulates their wealth in unique and peculiar ways. Some are becoming entrepreneurs after facing financial travesties, others are genetically connected to Chinese Royalty, and some are simply the offspring of Silicon Valley billionaires. What makes the storytelling of this show unique is that these characters and their stories are all gradually unraveled & depicted, not just through the lens of a Sony FS7 camera, but also through the eyes of one of their closest peers, a foster child. Andrew is the first voice we hear when clicking on the selection title for the program, and it’s through his eyes that he explains how his friendship came to be with these powerful individuals. What’s ironic about Andrew is that although he seems to somewhat take the position of narrator throughout the series, Andrew himself is not rich and does not come from a wealthy upbringing. This background indirectly allows him to serve the casual viewer as a relatable tour guide into the world of these mega-millionaires.
However, what holds our interest the most during the series is that despite the products these entrepreneurs market, they still offer what all great reality TV shows have: drama. From time to time it may seem as if certain instances of the episode may have been “overproduced”, but the majority of the content seems to be authentically captured. As the old saying goes, “more money, more problems” and this is certainly displayed through each of the characters’ own individual hardships of infertility, domestic abuse, identity issues, relationship trials, and complete envy over each other. The show closely resembles the narrative of Kevin Kwon’s famous novel Crazy Rich Asians, but only this time in real life, inside the heart of Los Angeles.