Some people would say that Dubai Bling is the only reality show worth watching on Netflix right now. We are those people. It was simply so easy to fall in love with Dubai Bling season 1. The absolutely beautiful pettiness and their nonchalance around it was entertaining in a way we could not have predicted. That has obviously continued into Dubai Bling season 2; however, it feels like it has failed to pack the punch of the previous season.
The audience has no doubts about the authenticity of the events. The exaggerated cast entries every ten minutes make sure of that. Therefore, why not make the drama likable? Dubai Bling season 2’s biggest problem was that they just piggybacked off the drama of season 1 instead of bringing something genuinely new to the table. Some might argue that the entire show is just a bunch of ultra-rich people fighting over nothing, and that would be true. But the main difference is, when did anyone expect substance from the drama? The audience signed up to see how a bunch of rich people in their 30s behave like entitled teenagers or like Justin Bieber in the early days of his career. It was funny how all of them, the one who made the mistake and the one at the receiving end of it, kept repeating the same dialogue when asked their opinion of the other person. It was cringe-worthy but beautiful because of the silliness. However, that behavior comes with an expiration date. It shouldn’t have extended beyond season 1, or at least, there should have been more actual fuel added to the fire instead of all of them just yelling at each other whenever they met. In the absence of that, the magic of season 1 was simply lost, and season 2 felt a few episodes too long.
To take the liberty of further commenting on this season’s drama, what did the cast, other than Safa and Zeina, bring to the table? For two seasons, Lojain has been saying nothing except that she is happy to ‘not’ be a part of things. It’s becoming harder to understand her purpose in the show then. As for Farhana, since she and LJ have made up, her story took the Sima Taparia route, from ‘Indian Matchmaking’, but with an ‘elite matchmaker’ in Dubai. It is as funny as it sounds. Danya and Bliss’ troubles are quite realistic for the matter, though they aren’t as much fun since they are rooted in real-world problems. This reality show was supposed to be an escape, but there isn’t as much of it this season.
Our favorite person in the last season was Safa. She still holds that title, and more than anything, we appreciate her dedication to being extra enough to wear ‘Papa Don’t Preach by Shubhika’ (an Indian designer) in the hot markets of Mumbai. Also, who styled her in Gaurav Gupta? The saree was fantastic, but the makeup and ‘bindi’ needed to be rethought. On the contrary, Zeina was surprisingly impeccable with her Indian fashion choices. However, Safa had our hearts when she called an autorickshaw a ‘tuk tuk’ and decided that ‘jaldi’ must be pronounced as ‘jildi.’ Amidst it all, Fahad emerges as a surprising favorite, though we are not fans of how he talks to Safa. Yet, he is not the only culprit in this regard.
Let us make it clear that if you were expecting free-thinking and feminist men and women from Dubai Bling seasons 1 and 2, the joke is on you. Go into it with your expectations managed. The men will be annoying, from Ebraheem to Fahad and even DJ Bliss and Kris, for that matter. There is also someone called Salim thrown into the mix to get your blood pressure rising. It is here that you must remember that provocation was the point of these curated interactions between the cast. Netflix knows what it is doing, and so do the cast members. They are completely aware of what they can say on camera and what they should avoid. It is impossible that the political incorrectness was a slip of the tongue or situation when you have global brands crowding to sponsor the show. Therefore, just remember to not give in to the purposeful trolling of the audience by Dubai Bling season 2 and just enjoy the silliness.
On that note, did anyone else notice that this season’s ‘bling’ was considerably different from last? Season 1 was about the Bulgari bling, whereas Season 2 had that twisted nail-shaped jewelry that we just couldn’t place. Also, Safa’s lip makeup and the women’s tiaras and headgear deserve a special mention. It was all perfect, yet too much at the same time. Perhaps the only slip was that Zeina did not wear enough of her own brand during the season. She chose the perfect platform to raise awareness about her brand and perhaps launch it, but even during that time, she was wearing Versace instead of ‘I Am The Company.’ That is not a good look, figuratively.
Mona Kattan, as a new cast member, cannot be overlooked. She was all sweet and gracious, but where was the drama? What did she really add to the show other than launching her own perfume brand on the platform? Even Ebraheem was not stirring enough trouble for people, and this is simply not what we signed up for.
But as the show progressed, we couldn’t help noticing that all the married couples seemed obsessed with babies. In season 1, Safa and Fahad’s arguments about a second baby were the central conflict after Zeina and Ebraheem’s fight. Was it the wisest creative choice to just extend those conflicts with other couples in season 2? At least Safa and Fahad’s fight was fun. He promised her a bigger house in exchange for a second child (let’s not get into the problematically transactional nature of this), whereas Safa just wanted the house. In season 2, she has a baby but not a house. However, she got some bigger diamonds and a huge car to make up for it, though season 3 may get her the house, or at least the makeover she is after. We don’t see the couples in season 2 getting into any such interesting arrangements, which makes us question what is in it for us. It wasn’t real trouble or real advice we were looking for.
Either way, Dubai Bling season 2 needed to be better. The pettiness was consistent, but the drama did not match up to it. We refuse to let go of our love for this show yet, but it has a lot to make up for if it returns for a third season.