At this point, there are hundreds of reality television shows about everything from the wives of famous basketball players to how many children a family can have until they can legally found their own township. And if that weren’t enough, Netflix has decided to contribute to the dizzying amount of options with its new original reality series Selling Sunset. Follow the glamorous go-getters of Oppenheim Group Realty, one of the most successful real estate agencies in Los Angeles, as they sell homes worth up to $40 million dollars.
Whereas shows like Million Dollar Listing take a no-nonsense approach to the highly competitive world of real estate in New York City, Selling Sunset has fun with its content, following the interpersonal relationships of the all-female cohort as well as tracking their sales. Million Dollar Listing is almost completely male-dominated, with subsequent spin-offs having one or two women involved. So, if you want to see what would happen if the Desperate Housewives started taking names and selling multi-million dollar listings, tune in to the first season! Here are the ten reasons you should be watching it instead of any version of Million Dollar Listing.
10 STRONG FEMALE REALTORS
The Million Dollar Listing franchise casts primarily male realtors, with a few female realtors thrown in for diversity’s sake. But instead of being the token women in a sea of male sharks, the women of the Oppenheim Group are the ones navigating the dangerous waters of Los Angeles prime real estate.
They know what they want and they go after it. Though they do use their charm and good looks to ingratiate themselves to clients (as do the men from MDL), they don’t have time for games. Maya doesn’t have time for clients hitting on her, even if they’re from her home country, and Christine doesn’t have time for clients that are indecisive about flooring when they can afford a 10 million dollar home.
9 DIVERSITY OF BACKGROUNDS
The ladies of Selling Sunset come from a variety of backgrounds. It boasts a larger cast than any version of Million Dollar Listing, so there’s diversity to the intrepid women of the Oppenheim Group. While it may seem at first glance that all of them are tall, leggy blondes accustomed to a lavish lifestyle, the series reveals the reasons why each of them became a realtor in the first place.
Maya Vander grew up in Israel and came to America to establish her career and access more opportunities. Chrishell left a life of poverty in the South to follow her passion for acting in LA, finding a passion for real estate instead.
8 THEY TEAR EACH OTHER DOWN (TO BUILD EACH OTHER UP)
As prickly as the ice-queen Christine was to new girl Chrishell when she first set foot in the Oppenheim Group office, she’s given enough champagne toasts devoted to helping Chrishell get her bearings within the world of LA real estate. This made Christine seem like a queen bee that’s also a mama tiger type.
At different points in the series, the ladies participate in the usual gab and gossip, and strategic editing conflates small talking points into huge dramatic windfall. But the girls are quick to forgive and forget, talk through their issues, and move on to taking names in LA real estate.
7 IT SELLS AN IDEAL
While the actual “reality” of being a real estate agent is sort of left out of this reality show, it showcases an idealized version of real estate. It can’t be approached in the same way as Million Dollar Listing, which tends to be more serious about attacking the brass tacks of the real estate world in Los Angeles and New York City.
It’s hard to say if the female-focused nature of the show dictates that it will focus on interior design, staging furniture, and lifestyle branding, but it seems appropriate for a real estate series focused in a real estate market in the entertainment capital of the world.
6 THE AMAZING FASHION
Since the series is set in Los Angeles and sports an all-female cast, amazing fashion is to be expected. Each lady has a different aesthetic, and their outfits cater to their personalities as well as the sort of realtor they are. They have to look polished and professional to move multi-million dollar homes, but they also get to let their quirks and eccentricities shine.
Two of the biggest examples are Christine, who has an edgy vibe that reflects her no-nonsense attitude, and Chrishell, who has a more flirty look which reflects her Southern heritage. When they aren’t showing listings, the ladies strut in a parade of tight and glittering dresses for happy hour at the snazziest cafes and clubs in West Hollywood.
5 IT SELLS A BRAND
The glitz, glamour, and gossip inherent to Selling Sunset make it supremely marketable as a version of Desperate Housewives where the women are by contrast professionals, savvily navigating the highly competitive world of West Hollywood real estate. There’s more to it than just selling houses because there’s more to each of the women behind the process.
It doesn’t try to compete with other reality shows because it can’t—not in any one area. So it combines elements from popular series and blends them together until it reaches a palatable consistency. Nothing is too over the top, too obnoxious, or by contrast too self-aggrandizing to take it off brand.
4 IT DOESN'T TAKE ITSELF TOO SERIOUSLY
Selling Sunset knows that it caters to fans of glossy, “docusoap” style reality television shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Million Dollar Listings, blending all the luxury and drama fans of the genre have come to expect with the pressure of moving homes that can top out at 40 million dollars.
Knowing the audience it caters to means that Selling Sunset doesn’t have to take itself too seriously, especially since it’s supposed to focus on the interpersonal relationships between the women at the agency, their romantic relationships, and their clothes just as much as selling the homes. It keeps the humor and drama brief and breezy, like the glasses of chardonnay the ladies like to sip.
3 IT GETS INTO THE NITTY GRITTY OF THE CAST
Heather’s dating a professional hockey player, and he lives in Slovakia most of the time training and playing, making visits difficult to coordinate since it’s a 13-hour flight just to get there. He’s also agreed to a 2-year deal in Sweden. Maya’s situation isn’t any better, as she lives in Los Angeles and her husband works and lives in Miami. She still has to fly back and forth just to see him, all while they’re trying to have a child after two miscarriages.
Mary had her son when she was 16, and while he’s 21 now, her boyfriend Romain is only a few years older than her son. At 38, she feels soon she’ll be too old to have children with him if he decides he wants to, and the decision puts a strain on their relationship.
2 IT DEEP DIVES INTO CAST RELATIONSHIPS
The women of Selling Sunset are in all different stages of their relationships. Christine is single and looking but may be too picky to find the right guy. Maya has to maintain a relationship with her husband from several states away when she’s expecting their first child. Chrishell has the most stable relationship of them all with her husband and is able to give solid advice.
Mary, a single mom, is dating a younger man who the other women view as a boy toy. When he suddenly pops the question to her, despite them having wildly different ideas about their futures, it sends all the women into a tailspin trying to help her manage her new engagement and life developments.
1 THEY'RE NOT SELLING HOUSES—THEY'RE SELLING DREAMS
There’s an old anecdote in marketing involving a new drill that contends that to sell the drill, you can’t sell the drill. You have to focus on selling the hole the drill makes, for the screw that the painting the artist made will hang on. You’re not selling the drill—you’re selling the feelings of accomplishment that the artist has by using the drill.
It’s a similar line of thinking with Selling Sunset. The most successful women of Oppenheim Group know that they aren’t just selling homes; they’re selling dreams. They’re selling future memories. They’re teasing out what a client wants a home to be about, and helping them visualize that before they even hand them the keys.