Sydney’s Crazy Rich Asians

Welcome to an hour of your life you will never get back.

Sydney’s Crazy Rich Asians makes The Real Housewives of Melbourne look like the Best Documentary at the Oscars.

The first in 10’s 2019 Pilot Week is a dud, a trumped-up advertorial for a luxury travel & events company and its founder, Karim Gharbi. It isn’t clear if he is Asian but he has wealthy Asian clients, several of whom we meet in this Screentime reality show.

Clearly subscribing to the genre of wealthy, Insta brats feigning drama for the cameras, this is thankfully narrated by Lee Lin Chin. That’s pretty much where the good news ends.

Amongst the clients are ‘Southeby’s Auctions mogul’ Lulu, ‘charity princess’ (I have no idea what that means either) Crystal, and ‘international beauty queen’ Emily. Showing a clear lack of storytelling, there’s no attempt at endearing us to these unknown women. I could care less about them, nor the bloke constantly telling me how stressed he is in trying to meet their whims.

Over the course of the hour we watch them get zapped with a Vitamin intravenous drip, go on a date at Bennelong restaurant, get swimming lessons from a hunk at Hotel Intercontinental Double Bay, and meet ‘Chinese Yacht King’ Jeffery who wants a boat party on the harbour, pronto.

These serve as loose, unrelated fodder which are nothing more than colour and movement.

The central event is a fashion / dog show fundraiser for Sydney Dogs & Cats Shelter. It has to be said the scene visiting the shelter is horrific with a whimpering, shaking dog clearly in distress. While Crystal sheds tears and Karim expresses concern, they agree to a fundraiser, but not to address the dog’s immediate crisis.

As event management dramas lurch from one disaster to another (model won’t wear dress, red carpet has stains… you get the drift), Karim is constantly on his phone or instructing his young assistant Jenny to problem solve, which she does with more humility than anyone else we meet. As a result I found her to have the more interesting story, afforded fleeting screen time.

Having endured this TV hour (seriously, an hour!) the fashion show didn’t even tell us how much was raised for the dog’s home -and certainly not how much they took out for expenses and fees.

Based on the rip-off title I thought I was going to get some insight into various cultures living it up in Sydney (Chinese, South Korean, Thai, Japanese, Malaysian etc).

Instead I watched an advertorial for somebody running an events company manufacturing conflict land hogging the camera time. Was this show commissioned or handed over for free?

If Pilot Week is to test our interest in a full series, my vote is Dear God No.

Sydney’s Crazy Rich Asians airs 9pm Sunday September 8 on 10.



  1. Lee Lin Chin was the only good thing about this show. I think it would have been better if she was the “crazy rich Asian” bossing the concierge around to cater to her every whim. The over-demanding and short tempered schtick worked for her on The Feed (e.g. The Real Newsreaders Of Sydney). Make an actual series out of it. And half-hour eps.

  2. hannigans_heroes

    I’m friends with one of the cast members and can confirm that the production has agreed to and paid for any set up or costs involved with any and all future fundraisers in the show, to ensure that 100% of money is for the charity. For my friend, it was an integral part of the contract that she signed, as well as the entirety of her paycheck to be donated to her chosen charity.

      • hannigans_heroes

        Money wasn’t collected by production for the charity, it was collected by another party to ensure nothing was deducted. I agree that it should be noted on the show.

        One of thing that production did leave out, was that the dog (Snowy, I believe?) featured at the shelter was adopted immediately after, however it wasn’t shown in the episode.

  3. This show plus the one about Roxy Jacenko sound like a return to the trash that was the Being Lara Bingle / The Shire era. At least when these shows both flop 10 can say “it was just a pilot”. Is it just me or does this year’s pilot week sound like a major disappointment already? At least Part Time Private Eyes sounds promising. Actually the Being Lara Bingle / The Shire era was under the watchful eye of the new Seven CEO…

    • carolemorrissey

      Yeah I’m not fussed by this years shows either. The only one that appeals is the private eyes one. I’ll give them all a go but I can’t stand Roy Jacenko. I can remember what a horror she was on Celebrity Apprentice. I’d never heard of her before that & wished I still hadn’t heard of her after it.

  4. “Karim Gharbi” sounds like a pretty Asian name to me. His roots may not trace back to the Orient, but the Middle East and the subcontinent are no less Asian than the south eastern variety.

  5. I was hoping this would could be good, though I had suspicions that it wasn’t as good as one may have hoped. I think that this, being one of the fastest to be filmed and completed, would have been pretty crappy anyways…hopefully the other shows might be better? I think 10 could really do with a bit of Catfish Australia w/ Casey Donovan & Patrick Abboud this year, though I think that Part Time Private Eyes will be a success.

  6. In your comment on how this would make “The Real Housewives of Melbourne” look like the Best Documentary at the Oscars, for that, I would’ve gone “The Real Housewives of Sydney”, which was even worse than Melbourne.

    If this doesn’t get picked up as a full series, then we’ll know there is a God.

  7. thedirtydigger

    TEN would have paid zip, zero, nothing for this junk.
    Screentime would have had the whole sheemozzle financed by the starry-eyed events company boss who fancies himself as a TV personality. Encouraged by the production company no doubt about what a super talent he is …
    And would they have charged a pretty penny for sure !
    So it’s really nothing more than crappy advertorial content and should be declared as such.
    And by the way Ten and Screentime – and here’s a free tip for inexperienced players – the moment you label anything ” Sydney” then the rest of the country who don’t particularly care for the Harbour City won’t even bother tuning in …

  8. I’m surprised that you thought that this turd would provide something deeper David… giving you insight into the cultures of Sydney? God bless you David haha.
    Reading your review, I feel justified in my thoughts that it is exactly the shallow, pulpy rubbish I thought it would be. Come on Ten, this pilot week is your chance to showcase some local talent and ideas… what a shame.
    And it’ll get a series order…

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