Office scandals, designer heels, cat fights and million dollar mansions; what more could you want? Lies and betrayal drew their claws in the recently-released second season of “Selling the OC.” This reality series brings the highs-and-lows of Orange County, California to the big screen as luxury realtors of The Oppenheim Group use the glitz and glam to take home hundreds of thousands of dollars on commissions.
If you have never seen its sister show “Selling Sunset,” the original show that started it all, and the single-season of “Selling Tampa,” “Selling the OC” equates to the irresponsible sibling looking for a good time — not a long time. Each episode can be summarized into four parts: gossip, confrontation, walk-outs and drinking the day away. Wondering where real estate fits in? So are the rest of the viewers after watching season two.
Real estate is a dog-eat-dog world. While brokerages appear cohesive, the cracks start to disseminate as soon as the door opens. This is where the drama — and the fun — come in. While the series travels across Orange County to showcase new listings and prospective buyers of million and even billion dollar properties, the agents entangle themselves in each other’s personal lives, leading to blowouts at open houses and cold shoulders at events. Throw in a team trip to Cabo, and what do you get? High tempers, drunk impulses and a very suspiciously-close relationship between members of the brokerage.
There is no question why season two introduces Tyler’s pending divorce and discomfort within the agents’ spouses. Having seen only half the choices the group makes while out or on vacation, there is more than enough reason to distrust their loyalty in a romantic relationship.
The main agents of The Oppenheim Group are Alex Hall, a single mother, Polly, a single Australian, Tyler, a recent divorcee, Jarvis, a fiancée, Brandi, an overwhelmed married mother, Gio, a narcissistic soon-to-be father, Kayla, a vengeful single mother, Austin, a wild card father, Rose, an outcast, and newcomer Ali, a Nashville-native already lying through her teeth.
While the episodes teach little to their audience about real estate, there is plenty to learn from the incentives behind each agent. The most common motive across the brokerage is to build generational wealth. Brandi, Alex, Kayla and a wide array of other agents grew up with very little.
They earned their coveted spots as part of The Oppenheim Group through persistence, hard work and determination in the face of adversity. Does this mean they know how to communicate and avoid baseless drama? Absolutely not. But family plays an instrumental role in how they hold themselves and how they find courage to continue working through each listing. The office in its entirety explores the facets of a toxic work environment built on distrust and revenge.
The selfish individualism is clearly centralized without regard for the brokerage or team as a whole. Relationships are also a hot topic at The Oppenheim Group. The slow simmer of a “will-they-won’t-they” between Tyler and Hall — and a scandalous night for Tyler and Polly — keep all three at the top of conversations and disputes throughout the season. However, no matter whose relationship is involved, personal affairs are always regarded as the group’s business. Office make outs or fire-side kisses turn into fiery disputes and downright bullying. Even with this, “Selling the OC” is not the show for those hoping to admire all the sites of Orange County or learn step-by-step how real estate functions. This series is aimed at the drama-hungry young adults who want a taste of the juicy rivalries without having any personal stake.
Ethically and morally, none of the personalities are ‘right.’ When watching reality shows such as this, everyone assumes the lines of dignity and decency do not exist. Instead, viewers choose favorites based on their outfits (these realtors have style), sob stories, attitude, alliances and ability to face bull head-on. If “Selling the OC” were a combat game, Alex Hall and Jarvis would face off almost every match. Hall ruled season one with her can-do attitude and ability to put people in their places. Season two saw Brandi fizzle and Polly stand out, but the greatest personality -— and most relatable — is Jarvis. Ignoring the debate of her innocence in each argument, her quips shut the rest of the realtors up with a don’t-care attitude. The epitome of mutual hatred falls on the shoulders of Jarvis and Polly, with Jarvis ridiculing, “I’d love to confer with Polly’s therapist on these issues. I’m assuming she has one. I really hope she does. She may need two.”
Even with their disagreements and outright admittance to despising the other, Polly publicly invites the entire Oppenheim Group to her birthday party during a team meeting, “I only want people there who genuinely want to celebrate me, so if you don’t—” and was interrupted with an unsolicited answer from Jarvis, “I don’t. I won’t be there.” She explains in her aside, “I’d rather take my chances of jumping off a boat in the Pacific Ocean with sharks than attend a party with Polly and be fake. I don’t do fake.”
The claim ‘I don’t do fake’ reads ironic to the viewers watching her actively dismiss her real-estate mentor Rose and get caught potentially cheating on her fiancé (number three) while drunk in Cabo. The brutal honesty is most relatable in her reaction to the rest of the group meeting up by the pool during their week in Cabo. Rose pointed out, “They’re really excited to see them,” when noticing Hall and Polly talking to the boys. Jarvis, just like the rest of the audience, spoke on the most important aspect of their work vacation, “I was more excited to see the guacamole.”
Unlike the blasé shows on HGTV, “Selling the OC” paints a picture of its high-end industry through top-tier pettiness. Aside from the extensive details of friendship betrayal and lack of respect, the drama forms a captivating series that keeps the audience wanting more. More drama. More sanity. More mansions. But most importantly — even more seasons.