Since Selling Sunset first premiered on Netflix last year, fans have constantly questioned how real the “reality” show actually is. The show was created by the father of fake reality TV (The Hills’ Adam DiVello), and its storylines and production values all feel a little too perfect to be rooted in reality. The women on the show are in flawless glam at all times, they constantly hash out their personal issues at work functions, and their relationship timelines all fit neatly into eight-episode seasons.
Since the third season dropped earlier this month, Selling Sunset has really blown up, and people are more determined than ever to dig in to the truth of what we see on the show. One of the key storylines that is frequently questioned is Mary and Romain’s marriage. On season one, we saw them disagreeing about fundamental relationship issues such as having kids and buying a house, and then they magically got engaged the next episode. Their wedding was shown in season two, but there was speculation that they never actually got married. Turns out the truth is the exact opposite. This week, TMZ got its hands on a copy of Mary and Romain’s marriage license, proving that they are, in fact, married. But the license was issued in March 2018, more than a year before the first season of Selling Sunset was even released.
This really throws a wrench into Mary’s entire storyline for the first two seasons. She was already legally married to Romain before they even began filming season one, which means that all those scenes of them discussing their future together are basically 100% fake. It wouldn’t be that weird to plan a big TV wedding once you were already legally married, but pretending to be unsure about your future together, and then staging a fake engagement, is taking it to another level. We already knew her diamond was fake, but everything else? I have to admit, this news came as a bit of a shock to me.
Another interesting revelation from the marriage license is that Mary and Romain got married just four months after Mary’s divorce was finalized. The timeline here is obviously very murky, and I have a million questions for everyone involved. Mary hasn’t addressed the timeline on social media (who knows what kind of NDA she signed), but I really feel like the people deserve answers here. That being said, I will absolutely still watch this show until the end of time, because it is just that entertaining.
On top of the personal drama being a bit staged (to put it politely), the show’s portrayal of the Oppenheim Group agents as LA’s top team also seems questionable. Recently, the real estate agents from Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles appeared on Watch What Happens Live!, and Tracy Tutor threw some shade at the cast of Netflix’s show. She said that Selling Sunset “is not about selling real estate…it’s about dating bachelors in the Hollywood Hills.” She threw out an invitation to the women on Selling Sunset, saying “if you want to sell real estate, maybe kind of come on over to our show and figure out how that works.” Ouch. The other MDL agents added that they hadn’t come across the women from Selling Sunset in their real estate work.
Last week, reality TV connoisseur Chrissy Teigen finally binged Selling Sunset, and she also commented on the actual careers of the agents at the Oppenheim Group. She said that despite frequently looking at LA real estate, she has “never seen any of these people,” and added that neither had her agents.
I will say, I look at LA real estate a lot and have never seen any of these people lol either have our agents, who I have obsessively asked.
— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) August 19, 2020
Unsurprisingly, the Selling Sunset cast feels some type of way about these comments, and many of them have spoken out in response. Davina Potratz and Maya Vander both spoke to People, with Davina saying that anyone who does their research will recognize that she is “quite serious about real estate.” Maya acknowledged that things on the show can seem fake or overly simplified, but said this is because they’re trying to show complicated transactions in short scenes.
Jason Oppenheim responded to Chrissy’s tweet, giving out a nice backhanded compliment about her new home and her agent. In another tweet, he said that his team “works tirelessly,” and invited her to stop by the office any time.
Chrissy, thanks for watching our show! Regarding your agent’s knowledge of members of my team, I respectfully don’t know him either although that doesn’t mean he isn’t successful and didn’t just sell you a stunning home in Weho (seriously, I love your new house).
— Jason Oppenheim (@OppenheimJason) August 19, 2020
In a statement to People, Jason further combated the idea that the professional side of the show isn’t real: “Any insinuation that the agents on our show are not experienced, successful, or licensed, evidences a complete disregard for the facts.” He added that “Even a superficial investigation would identify previous team photos, hundreds of millions in transacted sales, and more than 50 years of combined licensed real estate experience from these agents.” Damn, okay, we get it.
I understand why Jason Oppenheim is defensive about this, but I think he’s kind of missing the point. For the most part, speculation has revolved around the specific transactions shown in the episodes, not the idea that the Oppenheim Group is a generally successful brokerage. When Christine hops off a private jet after months of traveling the world and just decides to sell a house, it’s understandable that things don’t seem 100% real.
And just as some icing on the cake of questioning what’s real about Selling Sunset, we have this TikTok that recently went viral. On the show, Christine has a listing, and she says that the owner is in Europe, so she can’t get a hold of him. Turns out, the woman who made the TikTok IS THE OWNER. She clarified in comments that she did list the house at one point, but Christine wasn’t the agent, and she’s never met her. And no, she wasn’t in Europe. LOL.
@petite_sayoI had no idea this show became so popular and thought I’d share BTS ##fyp ##realityshow ##realestate ##luxuryhomes ##losangeles ##sellingsunset ##netflix♬ Happy Laughing – Sound Effect
So, let’s be real, Selling Sunset isn’t. And that’s okay! It’s still a great show, but you should definitely take it with a massive grain of salt. Just sit back and enjoy the ridiculousness, and don’t worry too much about what’s real and what’s not.
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Images: Lindy Lin / Netflix; themaryfitzgerald / Instagram; chrissyteigen, oppenheimjason / Twitter; petite_sayo / TikTok
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)