As the latest installment in this reality show franchise debuted, I was curious about how this show would address issues of race and culture. Historically, reality shows have tended to indulge in gross materialism and occasionally sprinkle in ham-handed cultural exposition. But Bling Empire seemed to be different, as it was one of the few American shows with an all-Asian cast and focused on uber-wealthy Asians. So far, however, the show has mostly plodded along, focusing on petty drama between members of the cast and not much else.
The show centers around a group of wildly wealthy East and Asian American socialites who live in Los Angeles. Many of them are self-made millionaires, and they all seem to be very narcissistic. Each member’s net worth, background, and source of income is highlighted in order to put the bling-y lifestyle into perspective.
It’s hard to take these folks seriously, but they are a joy to watch. Cherie, a fashion designer and beauty icon with a reputation for throwing the most fabulous parties, is my personal favorite. She’s also generous with her wealth, helping to fund the wedding of a fellow cast member and giving a homeless person a month’s worth of food.
Another standout is the sassy and savvy Christine Chiu, wife of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. She’s a force to be reckoned with, often donning diamonds and Dior as she disses her friends in one scene and breaking down in tears in a doctor’s office in the next.