Making Sense Of Selling Sunset, Netflix’s Best New Reality Series

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Netflix is overflowing with content. There are too many original series and too many opportunities for the streaming service to ask, "Are you still watching?"
But not enough of you are watching Selling Sunset and it shows. The show is a glorious, catty, bottled-blonde, stiletto-wearing masterpiece. It's Netflix's first answer to the beloved genre of glossy reality TV series, better known as a "docusoap" — it's like the love child of The Hills and Million Dollar Listing.
After binge-watching season 1, all eight glorious 30-minute episodes of it, I feel qualified to both question and praise the series. Created by Adam DiVello, the brains behind MTV's iconic '00s series The Hills and The City, the show manages to make the high-stakes world of real estate in Hollywood feel extremely low-stakes. The women are mean to each other, but not that mean — their tiffs end almost as soon as they begin. They co-list homes together, go on latte breaks together, and compliment each other's outfits while sometimes meaning it. As soon as they lose a deal, they get another, even better one. It's relaxing because the reality of being an A-list real estate agent is not what Selling Sunset is trying to sell. Instead, it shows us that everything is better with a tan and a glass of wine.
In addition to the crew of lady real estate agents, the show stars two bald millionaires — the Oppenheim twins, Jason and Brett, both former lawyers — who run The Oppenheim Group. Then there is the staff, made up of six tall women who know how to sell the shit out of a house and how to bother the shit out of each other. For a show dealing with real estate worth millions of dollars, the stakes are laughably low — and that's what makes it so good.
Chrishell (her name is a combination of Chris and Shell, referring to the man, Chris, who helped deliver her at a gas station, Shell, in Kentucky) is the new girl at the company and the show's premise is that the other women, Mary, Maya, Davina, and Christine, will haze her. So was the original pitch for the show: What if This Is Us star Justin Harley's wife joins this bougie brokerage firm and everyone is a little mean to her?
After episode 1, you'll be hooked. After episode 3, you'll be wondering if Mary, teacher's pet and ex-girlfriend of Jason, made the right choice accepting an engagement ring with a fake diamond from Romain, her French baker model lover who is 11 years her junior. Yes, those are all real and accurate words to describe his background, occupation, and role in the show.
By episode 7, you'll be wondering how Chrishell didn't throw her drink in the face of tall blonde Christine, the taller one who has a fondness for leather and taking a shot while the sun's still out. By episode 8, you'll be missing your new best friends and wondering when season 2 is coming (as of now, it's unclear if a follow-up season has been green-lit). The show has the potential to be even more dramatic (a Pump Rules or The Hills: New Beginnings crossover, anyone?), but until that happens, here is a list of my favorite things about the show, in no particular order:
They're driven around in Rolls Royces to show houses. That's insane.
Heather, pictured in the pink shirt above, has a boyfriend who is a Slovakian hockey player. Her coworkers tease that he doesn't really exist. And, in fairness, I can't find him on social media.
Christine, in the green skirt, calls one of her clients a "bitch" who can't cook after she doesn't like the kitchen during a home tour.
Mary, wearing the red dress, has a boyfriend named Romain (she pronounces it romaine, like the lettuce) who she met while showing properties to him and his pastry chef friends. She is 36 and he is 25, which I only mention because Mary brings it up. A lot. The women think it's a power move that she is the one with the arm candy. And he order lattes with whole milk.
In one scene, Maya, in the black mesh top and who is originally from Israel, says, "silent of the lamb," referring to the awkward silence at the office. When no one understands what she means, she repeats, in the same tone, "The silent of the lamb."
Davina goes to Burning Man instead of a charity event and then tries to explain Burning Man to Chrishell.
They all have very good spray tans.
Everyone owns Chihuahuas.
Taye Diggs looks at a house and is credited as the guy from Netflix's Set It Up, which is blatant promo.
They're fighting to sell a $40 million house and two of the women bring men who definitely can't afford it out for a look. Everyone pretends like it's a possibility that they could buy the home.
Christine brags about how easy it was to get her real estate license. According to her, you go to the doctor, get a lot of Adderall, you study for "like three months," then take the test. Easy.
The owner of the dog-walking app WAG buys a house and does not smile once during the process.
Chrishell drags an ex-boyfriend who turns out to be Glee's Matthew Morrison.
Mary gets engaged and the women are flabbergasted that her ring is made up of "moissanite" and not a real diamond.
Just the amount of awkward silences, in general.
I also have a few unanswered questions after season 1:
1. How does the rest of the staff of OG feel about the series (you can see the rest of the agents on the website)? Were the guys even asked to be on it? Is it embarrassing for them? Were they not allowed to come to the office during filming?
2. Does Mary's adult son really like Romain?
3. Why does Christine think that being 5'8" is absurdly tall?
4. Are they good at their jobs? (According to this article, no.)
5. Is Heather still dating her hockey player boyfriend?
6. Will Brett or Jason ever settle down?
7. Has anyone actually put an offer on the $40 million dollar house?
Selling Sunset is streaming now on Netflix.

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