Given that we've had nothing but the four walls to keep us entertained for much of 2020, is it any wonder that Selling Sunset has become must-see TV?
On the surface, the Netflix hit is not unlike any other slab of sun-soaked property porn. Much like Million Dollar Listing and Property Brothers, Selling Sunset affords us mere plebs a genuine feast for the eyes. There are cinema rooms, infinity pools, 12-car garages and living rooms the size of airports, all as standard. Think Room To Improve, but on steroids (and with Botox).
But beyond the scintillating scenery, the backstabbing and bitching - often within the one LA estate agency, Oppenheim Group - is every bit as addictive.
The show's third series, shot pre-pandemic, landed on Netflix last weekend to major fanfare. So why has Selling Sunset thrived where countless other glossy property shows have merely tried and failed?
The cast is… something
Worth a reported €50m, twins/former lawyers Brett and Jason Oppenheim are fifth-generation realtors. Yet it's the women in the show who do much of the spadework (and provide most of the on-screen action). Created by Adam DiVello of MTV's Laguna Beach and The Hills fame, this docusoap hones in on the ladies' whirlwind lives both inside and outside of the office. From Mary and Chrishell to Heather and Maya, they may look like a bevy of interchangeable beauties (in fact, one of them is a former Playboy model), but they soon prove that they have no shortage of cunning and smarts, either. Which brings us nicely to….
A former fashion/entertainment maven, Christine has discovered a knack for architecture and real estate, meaning that she is one of the show's best sellers. Christine also met her tech baron fiancé while showing him a house, meaning that the other employees in the Oppenheim Group are either envious of her, or think of her as inspo. Naturally, she is also the girl squad's queen bee. She is notorious for picking feuds with her colleagues, including very famously picking a fight with co-star Heather Rae Young over her relationship with Tarek el Moussa. "There are too many bitches in this office," she proclaims at one point. We can't tell if we want to be in her gang, or to keep her as far from us as humanly possible for our own safety.
Given that most of the action happens in or around the Hollywood Hills, it's very likely that the clientele reaches the upper echelons of the Hollywood set. Chrishell Stause, who also works as a daytime soap star, was married to Justin Hartley, an actor best known this side of the world for starring in This Is Us (viewers will find out more about the marriage breakdown in Season 3 of the series). More recently, Amanza Smith has claimed that she'd had a romance with Danny O'Donoghue of The Script way back in 2012, when the Dubliners were in LA filming a music video. She revealed to Evoke.ie: "I met Danny at an Irish pub. That was the kicker," she explained. "I was in an Irish pub and he was with his group. I didn't know who they were because I had been living under a rock."
There's the schtyle
Sartorially, these women don't mess about (and why would you, when there's around $1.5m to be made in commission from one house alone?). There are no two ways about it: these estate agents look ravishing in outfits that show off the results of many, many hours spent in the gym/Pilates studio/plastic surgeon's office. The staffers may have to fend off sleazy millionaires from time to time, but when it comes to being the most stylish woman at the office, competition remains decidedly fierce. With five-inch heels pretty much a prerequisite for open house viewings, it's just as well these ladies drive everywhere.