Don't be fooled by the title of Ramit Sethi's new docuseries (I saw it as a reality show), misleadingly titled How to Get Rich. If you have, say, $30 in your bank account and are looking for a magic mantra that would make you a millionaire in a few days or overnight, well, be realistic and definitely don't expect this show to give you any "secret tips." The title seems like a late April Fool's Joke or something akin to a clickbait-y headline. Netflix really wants you to click on that play button, though what you end up watching could very well leave you with an underwhelming feeling.
In How to Get Rich, Sethi - an American entrepreneur and self-proclaimed finance adviser - mends the lives of people with moderate to high incomes who are having trouble managing their money. Sethi guides them in a way that would make it possible for them to lead a rich life; for that, he asks them to carefully consider his advice and do some homework. What are those pieces of advice? Close multiple accounts, don't give percentages to financial advisers; multi-level marketing is a trap, and don't be shy about discussing finances with your partner. Some people are asked to get a job to increase their income, and it's funny how they manage to land a job without any stress.
But then, you never believe that the people Sethi talks to are really under any financial strain. Shows like How to Get Rich sell themselves as Reality TV, but everything in them looks excessively artificial. I have seen fictional films emanate more conviction. Toward the end of the first episode, a man switches off the camera. The second episode picks up from where the last one ended, but the camera is on and continues to record the conversation. In another episode, a gymnast looks at Sethi in such a way as if waiting for her cue to greet him. Small things like these burst the bubble of Reality TV and expose the scripted truth lying underneath.
There is a brief segment here called "Ramit On The Street," where Sethi meets and guides the strangers he comes across on the street. His suggestions sound wishy-washy and appear as superficial as those inspirational quotes that often aggressively come up on the screen, like "Your biggest growth is ahead of you" and "The #1 investment you can make is on yourself." Ugh. But the show doles out these bits with pride. It's too self-absorbed to notice it sounds uninteresting. The tears the people shed look utterly fake, and I almost laughed at an "emotional moment" at one point. There are shots of Sethi walking in slow motion, and the series, too, similarly sells mediocrity with confidence.
How to Get Rich is made for an audience with a short attention span. No shot is allowed to stay on the screen for more than five seconds. Yet, it's easy to get bored while watching this series. Everything is bright and shiny and empty. It's all glitz. I am not a fan of such reality shows, so someone who likes these types of things might find something enjoyable in this exercise. The Internet is full of people who share similar tastes with one another. Find someone who likes shows like How to Get Rich. Start surfing. Before I leave you, let me put forward the following questions I have in my mind: "Did the people get paid for appearing in this series? If yes, how much was the compensation? Will they invest that money to pursue their rich life as per the guidelines given to them by Sethi?"
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