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