The cast of the Netflix reality series Singapore Social are game for a second season but only if they have more creative input on the show.
Four cast members — tech entrepreneur Nicole Ong, fashion influencer Mae Tan, YouTube personality Vinny Sharp and actor-model Paul Foster (aka the Mayor of Singapore) — got together recently to mark the show’s first anniversary. Absent from the gathering: singer Tabitha Nauser and burlesque dancer Sukki Singapora, who later joined in via a phone call from the UK.
Singapore Social follows the lives of six Singaporeans — per official synopsis — “as they defy expectations and traverse the tricky terrain of career, romance and family”.
The 10-part series premiered on Netflix Nov 22, 2019 to poor reviews, with most dismissing it as a Crazy Rich Asians wannabe and for misrepresenting Singapore and glorifying the cast’s vacuous lifestyles.
The reunion was held at Mae’s three-storey Bukit Timah house last week. A 22-min Instagram video was uploaded on Dec 28 (Mon) where the cast addressed the brickbats thrown at them.
“Fundamentally, it was a slight culture shock to most Singaporeans who are not as acclimatise to the [reality TV] genre,” Vinny said. On top of that, with a title like Singapore Social, people expected the show “represent the nation holistically”.
He added, “It’s impossible to bequeath the responsibility [of representing the culture of an entire nation] to six individuals. They wanted to see themselves in us because they felt our lifestyle, or just the way we spoke, did not necessarily resonate with most people and that was the reason to scrutinise and demonise us.”
Elsewhere, Mae felt they didn’t get to share their real stories because of the 500 hours’ worth of footage, only a few made it to the final cut. “There was a lot of things the audience didn’t see or things we did that weren’t shown,” she said.
That’s why Sukki found it “disconcerting” that she had no control over how she was portrayed on-screen. “I rather be judged on the merit of the real me than a highly-edited me that might confuse the public,” she said over the phone.
While Sukki is disheartened by the criticisms, she is also encouraged by feedback from fans, praising the show for representing Asians on the streaming service. “These messages outweigh any negativity surrounding [the show].”
For that reason alone, she would consider returning for a second season, that is if the show is renewed. The others agreed too but only on one condition.
“It would be nice if we have some sort of control over the narrative and how we want to be portrayed instead of [giving] what people want to see,” said Mae. “I would only do the show if I get to be an executive producer.”
At time of writing, Singapore Social has yet to be renewed. 8days.sg has reached out to Netflix for comment. Watch the reunion video here:
Singapore Social is available on Netflix.
Photo: Screengrab from Paul Foster/Instagram