For many, this is a non-event. But, for “Selling Sunset” fans, April 22 was shaping up to be Christmas morning. That day released season 5 of this reality TV program broadcast on Netflix.
Regularly ranked in the top 10 most-watched programs on the platform, “Selling Sunset” features the Oppenheim Group, a real estate agency based on Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, and specializing in the sale of properties ranging from 2 to $75 million. At the helm, the twins Jason and Brett Oppenheim, bodybuilders at will, and their army of real estate agents: a skewer of working girls with the looks of influencers filmed in their daily lives, made of visits to dream villas, shopping trips and bun crepes. A kind of meeting of the third type between Stéphane Plaza and “Les Marseillais”, but (much) richer. Since the success of the program, Netflix has multiplied the variations around the search for happiness in six bathrooms. “Selling Tampa” takes up the concept but in Florida, with an agency made up only of racialized women. On the East Coast, “Million Dollar Beach House” follows ultra-testosterone young wolves, dreaming of becoming the kings of luxury real estate in the Hamptons. In France, Netflix has invested in “L’Agence”, a reality show centered on a family company based in Boulogne-Billancourt, entirely dedicated to its customers looking for a frontline villa in Cap-Ferret or a Parisian pied-à-terre with a view of the Seine.
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The recipe for these programs? Luxury, beautiful women and inaccessible houses. All this with the codes of reality TV, that is to say a good dose of drama… and scenario. “Selling Sunset” is regularly accused of being 100% fake, but, never mind, fans are asking for more, hungry for “burgers and Botox” evenings, birthday parties in honor of a dog or above-ground dialogues: “I love houses with a view. » – « And I love looking down on people. – “Hello peasants! In these series, the spectator enters into the intimacy of the characters with the key themes of reality TV: love, money and fertility problems. In “Selling Sunset,” Chrishell Stause’s divorce from “This Is Us” actor Justin Hartley took up much of Season 3, as did Mary Fitzgerald’s egg freezing and wedding of Christine Quinn (all dressed in black), whose clashes we regularly enjoy with the other participants. The young woman had also confided to the American site The Cut: “This is not a series on real estate; it’s about girls, fashion and punchlines. At first glance, this is a well-known guilty pleasure: “rich porn”, that is, watching the lives of people richer than yourself. With two differences. The first being that the protagonists chain professional appointments when the only job of the characters of “The Empire of Bling” or “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” is… to be rich. The second is that these series crystallize a very French tension, according to the essayist Jean-Laurent Cassely, co-author of “France under our eyes” (ed. Seuil): “In the programs of Stéphane Plaza, there is a logic of projection, we can be the couple, the family or the young active person who is looking for accommodation within the budget of the participants. But, there, there is rather a logic of tourism, a curiosity of luxury real estate typical of what one will never be able to buy. “And the explosion in prices has accentuated the obsession, he continues:” In the France of the post-war boom years, it was easy to access property, this is no longer the case. These shows respond to a logic of fascination-frustration. ” A habitat that has become a safe haven, as Mona Chollet writes in “Chez soi” (ed. La Découverte): “In a world with a blocked horizon, the house loosens the vice. […] We remain dreamy imagining what our lives would look like if space were an abundant and accessible commodity. »
In this context, real estate agents become everyday heroes. The “Selling Sunset” agents have all become influencers. Christine Quinn, self-proclaimed “Boss Bitch” (she released a book of the same name) and ready to break two or three legs to break the glass ceiling, has 2.7 million subscribers on her Instagram page; Chrishell Stause, 3 million, and the same annual salary. In Hollywood as in Paris, these series suggest that, in the world of real estate, commissions – 3% of the selling price of houses – flow freely. The profession appears there as a means of making money without special training. Enough to arouse vocations. At the end of December, the Pinterest social network released its “Pinterest Predicts 2022”, a document identifying trends based on user queries. The search “to become a real estate agent” increased by 135%. At Barnes, Olivia Singer Piotrowski notes that the profession is becoming more and more attractive: “We have a steady stream of applications. “Among these candidates, the 25-35 year olds arrive without a typical career path, but “they are competitors at heart, continues the group’s HRD. Some succeed very quickly in being successful with an annual turnover of up to 400,000 euros on small surfaces. “However, she tempers the facility presented in these programs:” Agents who sign a sales agreement per day, this is not the reality of the job. No more than going to the office with a river of diamonds around your neck, but sometimes denial is good.