Chrishelle Stause in Netflix's Selling Sunset.

Selling Sunset, Season 2

Dept. of Ninety-Nine Problems


No, you don’t have to adjust the settings on your television. Netflix didn’t mistakenly upload Selling Sunset without colour correcting it first. It’s just like that in the Hollywood Hills. Everyone there is “naturally” that oversaturated shade of Oompa Loompa orange.

Meet the squad of Netflix's Selling Sunset.

In case you missed the first season, here’s a quick summary on what the series is all about: 1) women who quarrel, and 2) incredibly expensive houses. Sometimes it’s about women who quarrel in incredibly expensive houses. And other times it’s about women who quarrel about incredibly expensive houses.

Selling Sunset is something of a weird mashup. Anchored around the petty squabbles of the thirty-something beach blonde women who work at The Oppenheim Group – a powerhouse real-estate firm that specialises in selling multi-million dollar homes in the Hollywood Hills – the series is one part real-estate porn and one part Real Housewives. If you love shows like Property Brothers and Million Dollar Listing, but also enjoy watching nasty people hold grudges over seemingly inconsequential things, then this is the show for you. God knows merging those two things really filled a gap in the market.

Jason and Brett, the Oppenheims behind The Oppenheim Group in Netflix's Selling Sunset.

The first season opened with twin bothers Jason and Brett – the eponymous Oppenheims of The Oppenheim Group – announcing that a “new girl” was joining their team, urging them to make her feel welcome, and to give her the space to fit in.

The team are Christine, Maya, Mary, Heather, and Davina. They are, all of them, tanned and leggy, and compulsively clad in teeny tiny dresses and sky-high heels. The “new girl” in question is Chrishell. Hers is a great rags to riches story of the poor, homeless, Kentucky girl who moves to California to become an actress, and ends up finding and marrying her soulmate; who just happens to be Justin Hartley of NBC’s This Is Us.

Through the course of the first season’s eight episodes, friendships are made and rivalries take root, there’s a marriage proposal as well as a pregnancy, there’s bitching, gossiping, scheming, and treachery. All while trying to sell really gorgeous properties to insufferably rich people.

The series is produced with a rather archaic sensibility. This thing feels like it’s from the early noughts. It’s the kind of show that revels in its long lingering shots of legs. Where the focus is constantly on they way these women look as opposed to just how competent they are at their jobs. Where Jason and Brett, two of only three men featured in the series, are constantly portrayed as being the sensible ones who are above all the bickering.

By the time the season comes to a close, it is clear that the clash between the office alpha, Christine, and “new girl,” Chrishell, will remain the core conflict of the series. The producers had struck gold. In both these individuals, they had found the kind of fundamental mismatch that’s made for reality television.

Mary might just be the most sensible person in Netflix's Selling Sunset.

This second season takes place one year later. Maya has had her baby. Mary is planning her wedding. Both Heather and Christine are in the throes of a couple of whirlwind romances. Chrishell is trying to carve out a niche in the property market for herself. There’s another “new girl” on the team. And Davina seems to be the only one who negotiated a contract that limits how much of her actual life we actually see.

All of the discord and drama is still there. No matter how hard they try, the seven of them seem unable to get along. This is amplified by the fact that none of them seem to know how to communicate. Watching this, you will quickly realise that no one ever apologises for anything. Not really. Every conversation constitutes each party stating their side of the story over and over again until they’re blue in the face.

The girls at Mary's bachelorette party on Netflix's Selling Sunset.

That being said, everyone feels a lot more settled into their respective roles. Their “meetings”, “lunches”, and “dinners” don’t feel as staged or scripted as before. These are still incredibly convenient and contrived moments of tension and drama, but if you’ve suspended enough disbelief to still be watching this, then it’s not really something that’s going to bother you.

In fact, if you’ve come back to Selling Sunset for this second season, then you’re clearly invested enough in these people’s lives to just want more.

Davina, Christine, and Heather bitching about Mary in Netflix's Selling Sunset.

Which brings me to why watching this season of Selling Sunset was such an odd experience. Because it was one of those rare moments in which we, the reality television audience, knew more about the lives of these characters than they did. As their individual lives, loves, and various spats played out before us, there was the looming discomfort of knowing that Chrishell’s marriage was on the verge of falling apart.

Watching this, you can’t help but wince when the women at the office ask Chrishell how she feels knowing that teenage girls have pictures of her husband pinned to their walls. You cringe when Chrishell makes a throwaway comment about how thankful she is to be happily married.

The producers have already filmed a third season, and in the tease at the end of this one, we see that Chrishell’s divorce drama will be the key story arc of what’s coming next.

It's a Selling Sunset family photo.

This is a series that freewheels on the force of personality of everyone on screen. Love them or hate them, there’s no denying the presence that these women have. And while it’s unfortunate that the production sometimes undermines this with its gratuitously framed shots and the overtly sexualised framing of its characters, Selling Sunset remains incredibly compelling television. And not just because of it.

Selling Sunset
Netflix, Season 2, 8 episodes
Showrunner: Adam DiVello
Cast: Chrishell Stause, Christine Quinn, Maya Vander, Mary Fitzgerald, Heather Young, Davina Potratz, Romain Bonnet, Amanza Smith, Jason Oppenheim, and Brett Oppenheim

Selling Sunset, Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix. Season 3 is set to drop in August.

Uma has been reviewing things for most of his life: movies, television shows, books, video games, his mum's cooking, Bahir's fashion sense. He is a firm believer that the answer to most questions can be found within the cinematic canon. In fact, most of what he knows about life he learned from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He still hasn't forgiven Christopher Nolan for the travesties that are Interstellar and The Dark Knight Rises.

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