As a renter of a tiny studio apartment, I have only a lukewarm interest in real estate. Sometimes, I casually browse for sale listings in my area. Then I see the staggering prices and I’m reminded that I can’t afford to buy a home anytime in the near future—at least not in a big city. My interest in reality TV is even lower; I have no idea who the last contestants were on The Bachelor. Somehow, though, I watched all eight episodes of Netflix’s new series Selling Sunset, which follows a group of real estate agents in Los Angeles, in two days. The docusoap, from the same executive producer of The Hills, Adam DiVello, is deliciously addicting, and I wish there were more episodes.
DIRECTOR: Adam DiVello
Realtors at a luxury brokerage compete to sell multi-million-dollar homes to L.A.’s elite.
This doesn’t mean that Selling Sunset is a good show. But at a time when everyone is focused on a certain prestige drama series, it’s nice to sit back and watch a series that doesn’t require much thought. Selling Sunset is a lot of fun and highly entertaining. It focuses on the luxury real estate brokerage firm the Oppenheim Group, which is led by twin brothers Jason and Brett Oppenheim. Once the labels identifying them disappear, it’s hard to tell the two apart. But it doesn’t matter, because this show is really about the women realtors and their personal lives. It’s The Hills for people in their 30s with real jobs.
The series opens with the arrival of a new realtor: Chrishell Hartley, a former soap actress who is married to This is Us’ Justin Hartley. The other realtors—all women, and all objectively attractive with extensive wardrobes—welcome her to the team. From the first few minutes of the first episode, you know who is going to give Chrishell trouble and who will support her. The show sets up Christine Quinn, who is brash and critical, as the instigator of drama. Christine finds it necessary to “haze” Chrishell and push her. Davina Potratz, who oddly doesn’t receive much on-screen time in the beginning, becomes the villain by the last episode. On the “good” side, there’s Maya Vander, whom everyone seems to like, and Mary Fitzgerald, who appears to be the most mature and put-together realtor on the team. Mary has a French boyfriend who is 13 years her junior, Romain Bonnet, and he appears in all episodes. Naturally, their relationship becomes the top subject of office gossip. Heather Young’s alignment is neither good nor evil; she’s somewhere in the middle. Heather is focused on her career yet also clashes with Christine.
Yes, I know a lot of this sounds trivial and ridiculous.
The storylines feel scripted, or at least encouraged. But, again, Selling Sunset is entertaining. If you don’t really care about real estate, you’ll enjoy it. And if you actually do care about real estate, you’ll enjoy the quick tours through multi-million-dollar homes. The Oppenheim Group represents high-end properties, the kind of homes that celebrities and owners of tech companies are buying. (Taye Diggs makes an appearance in one episode.) This is not a show where you’ll see a middle-class family finally buying their first home. It’s a show where you’ll see infinity pools and in-home elevators. The biggest deal at the center of the series is a 20,000-square-foot, $40-million home in the Hollywood Hills. The home, which includes several bathrooms and a 15-car garage, is a symbol of peak excess and seems fit for someone like Jay Gatsby. Or maybe Jeff Bezos. On the show, the home was seen as still under construction, and according to reports, it hasn’t sold yet.
Netflix has been experimenting this year with different types of reality series, mostly with success. Tidying Up with Marie Kondo inspired people to clean out their closets—and create “sparking joy” memes. Dating Around, which was released on Valentine’s Day, was the streaming service’s first reality dating show. The series set up singles in New York City on blind dates. Each episode features new people, so we never got to see who actually stays together. (Unless you follow their social media accounts.) Selling Sunset lets you inside the personal lives of a tight-knit group of people in L.A., and that’s what makes this type of show so addicting. Netflix hasn’t announced a season 2 yet, but it seems inevitable based on the viewer reactions on Twitter. And if the series becomes a hit, get ready for a wave of early 2000s-era reality shows on streaming services.
Need more ideas? Here are our Netflix guides for the best war movies, documentaries, anime, indie flicks, true crime, food shows, gangster movies, Westerns, and movies based on true stories streaming right now. There are also sad movies guaranteed to make you cry, weird movies to melt your brain, and standup specials when you really need to laugh. Or check out Flixable, a search engine for Netflix.