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
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)
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