If Looks Could Sell
Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It To
(Real) Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend
Loose Lips Sink Relationships
The One That Got Away
Real Estate Hunger Games
It Takes Two to Make a Thing Go Right
The Gloves Come Off
It would be very easy to go into Selling Sunset with a pessimistic mind-set and write this one off before it even begins. As a critic, one of the great things is experiencing so many different shows and constantly finding surprises and hidden gems amongst the mundane. Unfortunately, Selling Sunset is not one of those hidden gems. Instead, it’s much closer to a gem covered in a layer of dirt; you know there’s something there but in its current form it’s hard to tell.
Set in the glitzy glamour of Hollywood, Selling Sunset revolves around two men, Jason and Brett, who own their own real estate business in Hollywood. Embellishing in the lavish and exquisite lifestyle of Beverley Hills, their properties often sell for upwards of $4 million. In order to sell those properties to prospective clients, four glamorous women take the reigns of the business and show off these lavish homes to hungry clients. Self absorbed, arrogant Christine fronts the pack here with Mary, Heather and Maya making up the quartet. Tensions soon grow though as the men announce a new girl is joining the group – Chrishell – and it’s here where the series begins.
This rags-to-riches woman is ultimately the one likable face of the group and seeing her enter the lion’s den is not something that makes for very comfortable watching. Especially given how likable Chrishell is compared to the rest of the women. As the episodes continue, tensions continue to boil up as personal drama spills into the workplace and the women grapple with their own drama as well as disdain for one another over a whole host of different issues. This all builds to the finale where a party quickly goes sour and chaos ensues.
All the usual tropes you’d expect from reality TV crop up here too. From the formulaic camera work through to the eclectic selection of music between scenes, Selling Sunset tries really hard to emulate the success of The Hills, right down to the choice of block text in gold when introducing different characters. Of course, the usual probing questions and expository dialogue seen in other reality shows is used here too. To be honest though, Selling Sunset feels tonally confused for much of its run time, unsure of what sort of reality show it wants to set itself up as. Unlike Made In Chelsea, TOWIE or the aforementioned The Hills, Selling Sunset tries to combine several styles of reality TV that never really gel together in a consistent manner.
The segments involving the houses feel like something out of The Cribs while the superficial drama between the women gives the series a much more rough edge. Between that are numerous stylistic ticks that are neither here nor there, making Selling Sunset far more forgettable than it perhaps should be. Seeing the women talking trash about the clients is a particularly shocking inclusion too and really leaves a bad aftertaste, especially given the price of some of these properties.
Fans of reality TV may well find stuff to like here but the mish-mash of ideas and strange stylistic choices never quite gel well enough to make this anything other than a pale imitation of other reality shows. The characters are far too archetypal to stand out and the various dramatic beats tread the same well-trodden ground many other reality shows have done before. Despite some promise with the real estate slant, Selling Sunset fails to stand out in the crowd and is ultimately as forgettable as it first appears.