Selling Sunset has grown into a dynamite franchise. Quickly dominating Netflix airwaves and premiering at number one amidst season five’s April 22nd release, the series has gained popularity over the course of three years. According to Parrot Analytics, the show, which follows a firm of luxury real estate agents as they finesse the Hollywood housing market with style and sass, ranks at the 88.2% percentile in the reality genre.
At the heart of the drama this season was the power couple incessantly force fed to audiences, Chrishell and Jason. Their dilemma boiled down to children—Chrishell’s desire for and Jason’s against—and whether one would concede for the other. The two ultimately end up splitting, and at the reunion, we see how their breakup has impacted them. Jason cries, Chrishell cries, and we hear news that Chrishell has moved on with someone drastically different than previous partners: 27-year-old nonbinary rockstar G Flip.
Being in a queer relationship comes with a lot of scrutiny at the hands of friends, family, and society as a whole. My girlfriend and I have been followed, catcalled, and sexualized in public settings more often than I can remember. Historically, queer relationships have been seen as promiscuous, temporary, or dirty, an image perpetuated through media, news, and everyday language. Because of this, queer people are typically prone to being unfairly criticized, demeaned, and scrutinized based on negative stereotypes deeply engrained in society.
News of Chrishell’s relationship broke during the Selling Sunset reunion that aired on May 6th, and immediately, people were on edge. Host Tan France, one of several Queer Eye cast members, moderated the reunion and handled Chrishell coming out aggressively, continuing to question her despite Chrishell’s clear discomfort. After asking Chrishell if there was anything new to tell us, hinting at the rumors in tabloids about her relationship with G Flip, France pushes for answers following Chrishell’s elusiveness on dating. “Who are you enjoying?” he asks. She fiddles with her hair nervously, touches her face, and avoids eye contact before being forthcoming about her relationship with the musician.
The entire mood shifts following Chrishell’s reveal. The cast looks around at each other as if to confirm this is, in fact, who Chrishell is dating, with Maya’s reaction quickly becoming the most memeable response. Immediately, the cast’s behavior shifts as the camera sweeps over their faces to catch the disbelief. Try as some may to argue these reactions as “genuine astonishment,” the entire thing felt like a “gotcha” moment set up by producers to put Chrishell on the spot. Mary stammers over her words, Maya’s jaw drops, and Davina looks wide-eyed at photos of G Flip and Chrishell. Subconsciously, their responses, through stuttering, blank stares, and overall confusion, sends the message that Chrishell’s news is shocking, and something to be looked at outside of the ordinary. Their behavior becomes distant and cold—they’re avoiding eye contact, looking panicked, and making faces, a clear exhibition of detailed microaggressions queer individuals face every day.
“A key feature of microaggressions, and particularly microinvalidations, is that they are frequently non-deliberate and unconscious on the part of the actor,” details report Validation of the Sexual Orientation Microaggression Inventory In Two Diverse Samples of LGBTQ Youth. “These subtle forms of discrimination can seriously impact the mental and physical well being of the individuals who experience the discrimination or invalidation resulting in psychopathology, emotional distress, and poor physical health.”
As if the looks shared between cast members weren’t enough, France quickly follows up with no time for discussion as they move into a clip from G Flip’s new music video “GET ME OUTTA HERE”, featuring Chrishell. There’s heavy making out between G Flip and Chrishell in the video, something her co-workers watch in real time before her, and after, France proceeds to shame, fetishize, and disregard queer relationships through very coded questioning. He engages the other cast members and their history with same sex relationships asking if they’ve ever tried “dabbling,” indicating queerness is something to try on.
Mary refuses to answer the question, saying her “parents are going to see this,” and France asks the others if they’ve ever been “dirty birds” or “naught” in regards to doing anything with other women. Emma shrugs and says she has and in response, France gets up to high five her, fetishizing queer relationships as some passing party trick for straight women to engage in. In doing so, France highlights historical assumptions that queer relationships are sultry, sexy, and some “dirty little secret.”
Considering the constant harassment people in queer relationships face in real life, it’s devastating to see someone like France—who himself had a difficult time coming out—perpetuate outdated the same stereotypes that have historically impacted queer women for years.
Already, Chrishell has faced a wave of backlash she otherwise wouldn’t have if moving on with a cis-het man. Coming off a season where the ideas of a cis-het suburban lifestyle between Chrishell and Jason are largely pushed, Chrishell has been under a microscope since the wrap-up. Her Instagram comments section have blown up with homophobic comments, with fans saying they’re “highly disappointed in her” for dating G Flip, and others stating they’re “not a fan of her anymore for dating a girl now.”
Currently, her comments are shut off.
With how Selling Sunset co-stars responded to Chrishell’s news of being in a queer relationship, it’s no surprise viewers followed suit. Excusing their behavior at the reunion as anything other than homophobic sends a message that nervous side-eyes, awkward glances, and other microaggressions, such as referring to kissing same-sex partners as “dirty,” is okay. As queerphobic remarks pour in on Twitter and YouTube, public opinion reinforces, quite bluntly, an age-old misconception that queer relationships are impulsive, unrealistic, or worse, “just a phase.”
Image: Courtesy of Netflix
On April 22, we returned to the offices of The Oppenheim Group when Netflix dropped season five of Selling Sunset. In the show’s tenure, the drama has always felt manufactured, but between the 20-million dollar real estate and the Hunger Games-esque wardrobes, manufactured is the show’s very essence. And while this season brought the property porn and over-the-top outfits we’ve come to expect, it failed to deliver compelling story arcs. Because even though the cast of realtors continues to grow, the entire show is carried on the teetering shoulders of one Christine Quinn.
Since season one, Christine went full method as the baddie. Unlike the rest of the cast, she had no qualms about her role as villain—and between her antics and outfits, she often put Cruella de Vil to shame. But the fundamental flaw of Selling Sunset is the majority of the cast is blind to their own bland personalities.
This season, Chrishell literally started secretly dating the boss and seemingly hard launched her relationship on-camera. But the milquetoast repartee of the cast made this top-tier reality TV setup fall flat. How easy would it be for Mary to have misgivings about her ex-boyfriend dating her best friend? Or for the office to question if it’s ethical for one of their own to date the boss? The drama-making opportunities were ripe for the taking! But the women of the cast apparently made a pledge of sisterhood, supporting everything the others did—everyone except Christine. But undying sisterhood does not make good television. Even Troop Beverly Hills and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants had some in-fighting. Mary-Kate and Ashley didn’t travel the world without some inter-twin conflict.
Season five of Selling Sunset could be summed up as The People vs. Christine Quinn. In seasons past, Christine’s role as the singular villain worked because she always had people in her corner. As a storied member of The Oppenheim Group, her history with Mary gave us something to watch as Mary waffled allegiances, but now they’ve fully severed ties. Last season, Christine fell out with her longtime allies Heather and Maya. And now, even her sidekick Davina switched teams in an effort to get a storyline that wasn’t about failing to sell a $75 million dollar house. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out for her.
The cast never missed an opportunity to discuss Christine. She was quite literally their only topic of conversation. And while producers attempted to get ahead of the one dimensionality of the drama by adding Chelsea Lazkani to the mix, bulking up team Christine, the rest of the cast missed their cue to spice things up.
Even when the producers created opportunities for the women to repair their relationships with Christine—setting up one-on-ones with Amanza, Heather, and even Mary—none of the women took the bait and instead chose to continue feuding with her. It seems the women want Christine out of their office and off the show, but they don’t realize this will be their downfall.
Before the season premiered, Christine tweeted: “30 minutes till the launch of #SellingSunset enjoy the new season and all of its 5,000 fake storylines!” The figure in her tweet likely in reference to the $5,000 Emma claimed Christine was offering to pay her clients to switch agents. Whether that storyline is fake or not, Emma missed the point. Christine didn’t need more drama centered around her, the rest of the cast needed to create conflict of their own.
This is the first time Selling Sunset filmed a reunion, dropping May 7 on Netflix. Reunions cap off a reality TV season, closing the door on feuds and resetting allegiances to shake things up for the coming year. Queer Eye’s Tan France will host. As a gray-haired gay man he is Netflix’s answer to Andy Cohen, but can he take the mantle to drive the drama and resolutions necessary for a successful reunion? To top it off, Christine did not attend the reunion because she said she tested positive for Covid—nor did she attend virtually because she wasn’t feeling up to it. Chrishell and Mary implied Christine lied to skip the reunion and photos show Christine on-set filming a commercial three days after the reunion taped, so that may be true. But either way, what Mary and Chrishell don’t see is it’s truly their loss. A reunion without the villain will likely give us nothing.
Last week, Christine announced she left The Oppenheim Group to launch her own venture with her husband: RealOpen, a platform to buy and sell real estate using crypto. (Villians love crypto.) It’s unclear if her new job will impact her return to season six of Selling Sunset, but the rest of the cast better hope it doesn’t—because without Christine there is no show. The reality is, the women need to step up their game and learn to make their own drama rather than living off the work of Christine Quinn, or the future does not bode well for their reality TV careers.
Image: Courtesy of Netflix
If you haven’t started (and finished) watching Selling Sunset by now, I’m not sure what you’re waiting for. It’s one of the most important cultural artifacts of our generation (I’m exaggerating, but only slightly). I’ve already broken down the reasons why everyone is obsessed with it, and season four really can’t come soon enough.
Because I can’t stop thinking about this dumb f*cking show, I decided to rank the cast members from good to evil. That probably sounds dramatic, but if you’ve seen the show, you try telling me that Davina isn’t evil. That may seem like a strong word, but just remember, this is reality TV. Being evil isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this context, and being good can be boring as f*ck. Also, this article is full of spoilers for all three seasons, so if you’re not caught up, this is your warning.
Chrishell is an angel, and I won’t accept any opinions to the contrary. At the beginning of season one, she was brand new at the Oppenheim Group, and despite her being warm and friendly, Christine did her best to make her life a living hell. It was sort of a Scheana vs. Stassi situation, except Chrishell is nowhere near as annoying as Scheana. Chrishell has always sort of been the protagonist of Selling Sunset, but this became extra clear in season three, when her divorce became a central storyline. We may never know if there was more to the story, but I don’t know how you could watch her conversation with Mary and not be heartbroken for her? Chrishell’s worst moment on the show was probably in season one, when she revealed to the group that Maya was pregnant, literal hours after Maya asked her to keep it a secret. But Maya didn’t seem that mad, so neither am I.
Maya, with her thick Israeli accent, two beautiful babies, and phantom husband who lives in Miami, is kind of an outlier within the group, and she mostly floats above all the drama. While Chrishell’s curiosity can get her into trouble, Maya always finds a way to participate in gossip while steering clear of any issues. Maya is mainly just spectator for other people’s drama, and her commentary is always appreciated. Her only major issue has been her insistence that Mary benefits from favoritism at the office, but like, is she wrong?
Amanza was a total breath of fresh air when she joined the cast in season two, and her interior design background differentiates her from the rest of the Oppenheim Group agents. Amanza has worked hard to get her foot in the real estate door so she can better provide for her two kids. Seeing her journey as a single mom on the show has been emotional, to say the least, and it doesn’t seem like there’s an evil bone in her body. In two seasons, Amanza’s biggest flaw has been that she’s constantly late, but like, same.
At the beginning of the show, Mary was best friends with Christine, but she was really too normal for that friendship to hold up under the pressures of being on reality TV. The main thing about Mary is that she just needs to chill the f*ck out sometimes. She can be a bit obnoxious when dealing with her issues with Christine or her husband Romain, but overall, she means well. In the last two seasons, her friendships with Amanza and Chrishell have been amazing to see, and she’s supported both of them through some tough times. She accompanied Amanza to the courthouse while she was dealing with custody issues, and she was there for Chrishell when the shocking divorce news broke.
In season one, 25-year-old Romain proposed to 38-year-old Mary, just days after they had a conversation about the future that I just assumed would result in a breakup. Somehow, these two got married and are still together, but Romain still seems pretty immature. Mary is pushing 40, and every time she brings up having kids, or buying a house, or literally anything about the future, Romain just gives her a big shrug. Excuse me sir, you are married! You have to talk about these things! It also really rubbed me the wrong way when, during the wedding planning process, Romain decided he didn’t care about any of the decisions, because that’s “girl stuff.” Gender is a social construct, Romain!
Heather has had an interesting trajectory during her time on the show. In season one, she was dating a hockey player who was playing for a team in Slovakia, and honestly, I kind of pitied her. She was a mess, but ultimately pretty likable. By season two, she had ditched her long-distance BF, and was now dating fellow real estate TV personality Tarek El Moussa. Their relationship progressed quickly (culminating in a recent engagement), and it definitely changed the way Heather interacted with the other women on the show. In season two, she flipped out on Amanza for offering some advice about dating someone with kids, which was very uncool. She’s definitely faded into the background as she’s spent less time actually working, and it seems like she feels too good to be there anymore. Also, it is impossible for me to trust someone who orders water for lunch.
Jason & Brett
Jason and Brett are the identical twin brothers who run the Oppenheim Group (though Brett has since left and started his own competing brokerage). These 40-something men are the definition of skeezy, and pretty much every episode has at least one moment that is textbook workplace sexual harassment. Everyone on the show seems cool with the lightly misogynistic vibe, but it’s still problematic for me. The brothers are both perpetually single, but they differ in one important area: while Brett just wants to sleep with Heather, Jason actually used to date Mary (and is now her boss). Both toxic, but in different ways!
Christine Quinn seems like a nightmare to be friends with, but she’s the exact kind of nightmare that a show like this needs. Nothing is ever off-limits with Christine, and she acts like she has a physical compulsion to call people on their bullsh*t—or what she perceives to be bullsh*t—no matter how inappropriate the occasion. A brokers’ open? Better start some drama? Mary’s bachelorette party? More drama! Mary’s literal wedding? You guessed it—Christine is starting drama. Probably her single most evil move was in season two, when she went behind Mary’s back to tell Davina that she was uninvited from Mary’s wedding. Mary specifically asked all the women to keep it quiet until she had a chance to deliver the news, and after the fact, Christine wouldn’t even admit she had done anything wrong. People give Christine a free pass because she says funny things and wears exciting outfits, but like, yikes.
Davina has always been messy, but she’s only gotten worse in the more recent seasons. Whereas Christine is a fun reality TV villain, Davina honestly might be a sociopath. Back in season two, she got herself uninvited from Mary’s wedding for talking shit about her relationship, and the way she reacted made her look like a f*cking clown. And after spending all of season three looking desperate trying to sell that ridiculously overpriced $75 million house, she also managed to ruin Christine’s wedding. In the season three finale, we all watched, jaws on the floor, as Davina publicly declared at Christine’s reception that she didn’t believe Chrishell was telling the whole truth about her divorce. Not only was this extremely hurtful to Chrishell, who left the event in tears, but she also gave the editors a chance to make her BFF Christine’s wedding essentially a pretty backdrop for Chrishell’s story. Congratulations, Davina, you look evil!
Images: Lindy Lin / Netflix; Netflix; Giphy (8)
If you’ve been on social media at all in the last few days, you’ve probably seen a ton of posts and memes about Selling Sunset. One of Netflix’s first forays into true, non-competition reality TV, the show’s third season premiered last Friday, and it’s been trending ever since. The show has been a hit since it premiered last year, but with a long-awaited wedding and a huge tabloid divorce, season three is its biggest one yet.
If you’ve never watched, Selling Sunset follows the Oppenheim Group, an LA real estate brokerage group led by bald short dudes (and identical twins) Brett and Jason Oppenheim. The agents at the brokerage are all extremely hot women who wear 6-inch heels at all times and somehow never complain about it. We follow along as they navigate successes and failures in their personal and professional lives, with an emphasis on the personal. With over-the-top real estate, glam, and drama, it’s not hard to see why people love Selling Sunset so much, but there are some key factors that make it one of the best reality shows in recent memory.
The ‘Hills’ Vibe
Selling Sunset is created and executive produced by Adam DiVello, who is best known as the the creator of Laguna Beach and The Hills. Selling Sunset trades in 2000s fashion for cutting-edge glam, but it feels like a spiritual successor to those earlier shows. It’s still set in Hollywood, and like The Hills, the episodes fly by. Every scene is expertly produced and edited to keep the story moving along, the whole show is gorgeously shot, and nothing is ever sloppy or out of place. And also like The Hills, people have a lot of questions about what’s real and what’s fake. The answer falls in kind of a gray area.
Stars Chrishell Stause and Christine Quinn have both admitted to certain moments on the show being “amped up,” which is probably the Netflix-approved term for them to use. Quinn confirmed that she was dating her now-husband Christian for three months before they “met” on the show. Rather than “fake,” I think the more accurate term is “staged”—these are real people dealing with real issues, but I’m willing to bet they shoot some of these scenes more than once.
If you’re a fan of reality shows on Bravo or MTV, Selling Sunset is probably right up your alley. Each of the women on the show have distinct personalities, but none of them are afraid to dip their toes into some messiness. In the first three seasons, we’ve seen two weddings, one divorce, pregnancies, new relationships, and many business disagreements. Season three centers on Chrishell’s shocking divorce (it was shocking for her, but I promise it’s not a spoiler), but there are also a million other subplots happening at the same time.
And of course, these ladies never let business get in the way of personal issues. We’ve seen fights at broker’s opens, in the middle of the office, and at meetings with important clients. Not to mention, this cast can never get through a birthday dinner, celebratory night out, or even a wedding without someone starting drama. “Let’s not have any drama” are famous last words on Real Housewives, and Selling Sunset takes things to an even more ridiculous level.
The drama would be compelling even if this show was filmed in a warehouse, but the luxury real estate backdrop just makes it even better. Unlike Million Dollar Listing, the actual business is secondary on Selling Sunset, but we all still pretend to care about the Oppenheim Group, and the houses are f*cking stunning. A $40 million listing in the Hollywood Hills is a focal point of the first couple seasons, and seeing it literally never gets old. Most of the “cheaper” houses on the show are in the $3-5 million range, so basically, nothing is cheap on this show.
Love her or hate her, Christine Quinn was destined to be on reality TV. She’s reminiscent of Erika Jayne visually, and her looks only get more outrageous as the seasons go on. But unlike Erika, Christine isn’t afraid to play the villain, and will call anyone out if they do something she deems shady. Despite her claims that she never starts the drama, she definitely starts the drama like, most of the time. Between being mean to Chrishell, marrying some rich rando, and being one of the top agents at the Oppenheim Group, Christine has brought a ton to the table over the first three seasons.
The IRL Relationships
Besides Mary and Christine, none of the women’s significant others appear on screen, but their relationships still play a major part in the dynamics of the show. Chrishell Stause, who was formerly a soap star, was married to This Is Us actor Justin Hartley, and as I mentioned before, their divorce takes center stage in season three. Heather Rae Young, who was dating a hockey player in season one, is now engaged to fellow real estate TV star Tarek El Moussa. Tarek is the one who hosted Flip or Flop with his wife Christina, until they went through a messy divorce. (Heather looks EXACTLY like Christina, to the point where it’s a little spooky.) The other ladies on the show have a lot of thoughts about Heather’s relationship with Tarek, and obviously, they voice those opinions.
Basically, Selling Sunset has a ton to offer, and with three eight-episode seasons, if you start now you can probably be finished by tomorrow. There’s no word yet on a fourth season, but given the fact that literally everyone is talking about the show, I’m sure they’ll start filming as soon as COVID f*cks off.
Images: Netflix; Giphy