Bling Empire episode 1 drama: An angry Power Ranger and too many necklaces

“If you can’t afford it, you’re in the wrong place.” Words to live by. Which is why I live in a basement flat.

(Image credit: Netflix)

A new series in which we digest the dramatic arcs and standout moments in each episode of the new Netflix all true reality show, Bling Empire.

Netflix's latest foray into reality takes the Selling Sunset format of bringing together a group of people who seem to know each other, showcasing a load of multi-million dollar houses and interesting designer clothes, and then multiplies it all by 1,000,000,000. Yes, that's a billion. Some of the cast are billionaires. Others are just multi-millionaires.

Bling Empire revolves around a group of rich Asian and Asian-American friends living in LA. A group so wildly moneyed-up they make the Selling Sunset crew look like a bunch of Stirling Ackroyd rejects who have been left to flog car-parking spaces, for well over the estimated market value.

But the jewels in the crown of Bling Empire are the high impact dramatic exchanges that have the ability to make you feel a bit sick inside, even though you know you're not responsible for pissing off Anna Shay and are merely an innocent bystander who has no ability to influence the situation whatsoever.

Which brings us neatly to the two main dramatic arcs of episode 1...

Episode 1 Drama: Andrew Gray

So far, the former Red Power Ranger is the shows main antagonist. He's already displaying questionable behavioural tendencies towards his girlfriend Kelly Mi Li (because he overslept), which makes for uncomfortable viewing/listening - much like Tom Cruise's Mission Impossible crew rant back in December 2020. It's as if Andrew has gone back to acting school, studied Lee Strasberg, and brought some crazy Method Cruise energy to his role. Let's compare the two...

Tom Cruise (full transcript here) "I don't EVER WANT TO SEE IT AGAIN!! EVER!! And if you don't do it, you're fired! If I see you do it again, you're fuckinging gone. And anyone on this crew does it, THAT'S IT! And you, too. And you, too. And you. If you ever do it again, that's it."Andrew "What the fuck is going on? Your lack of effort drives me fucking crazy! You can easily say, ‘I’m not going to leave this hotel until I let Andrew know!’ Would you want me to do that to you?!! Yes or no?? I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ANYTHING BUT YES OR NO!! YES OR NO??!! Keep it simple... YOU THINK YOU'RE FUNNY?!! I’m upset."

Episode 1 Drama: Necklacegate

Ep.1 set the scene for the ultimate power-player clash between our new life-idol, Anna Shay and her friend/nemesis Christine Chiu. It seems that whilst OG matriarch Anna has been hiding away in Michelin-starred Paris, Haute Couture Christine has taken up the mantle of Bling Empire Empress. But Anna is back, and "wants to go to parties again". Same.

A cordial yet tense exchange takes place during Anna's lil house party, when Christine shows off her big sparkly necklace. But wait! Anna recognises that necklace. Anna owns that necklace. Both Anna and Christine have same Louis Vuitton high jewellery pink sapphire and diamond necklace. They both have the same one! Anna says it’s not a big deal. It’s fine, like, it's totally not an issue. At all. C'est la vie. No biggie...

However, a new seating plan is suddenly re-distributed resulting in Christine being shoved to the outer edges and is not happy. She was only wearing the necklace as a sign of respect to host Anna. It's not a competition! Anna think so too. "You cannot compete with what I was born into."

No context quotes from episode one

  • “We were so close to buying a barn. I didn’t buy it.”
  • “I think one (paperweight) is enough.”
  • “Her money comes from weapons.”
  • “You’re hidden under your furs.”
  • “My horses fly Emirates.”
  • “I just feel like I need to be more prepared for earthquakes fires, nuclear bombing…”
  • “They’re ‘aint no dick that good.”
  • “I love Air France.”
  • “If you can’t afford it, you’re in the wrong place.”
Holly Rains

Holly Rains is the digital editor of Marie Claire UK. She has over 10 years journalism experience, working as an editor and writer, specialising in digital media, content strategy and dog breeds. Prior to Marie Claire, she has held senior staff positions at ELLE UK, Grazia and Company magazine.

Holly is a frequent speaker, panelist and interviewer on a range of subjects including media trends, careers and entertainment. From working with Reuters to provide global red carpet coverage for events like the BAFTAs, to discussing fashion and beauty trends on network TV, she was also the host of the Marie Claire series ‘Holly’s First Dates’, where she regularly interviewed a mix of inspiring woman and A-list celebrities (including Jack Black, Dakota Fanning and Renée Zellweger)  - a series which garnered half a million views in its first two months. And was approved by The Rock.

Her love of office-based meetings means that the days of discovering the melting point of Cadbury's Flakes are long gone, but when she isn't dreaming of scheduling in meetings, she likes to think about social media, and how best to avoid it whilst still retaining the title of 'digital' editor. She also likes learning about emerging technology, Influencers and how to become a Financially Responsible Adult.

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