'Selling the OC ' Is Utterly Bingeable and Totally Forgettable

It doesn't offer as fresh a take as Selling Tampa, but fans of the Selling universe will still find plenty to love.

Selling the OC Is Utterly Bingeable and Totally Forgettable
Photo: Netflix

Netflix's real estate empire is getting another entry. After five seasons in the Hollywood Hills with Selling Sunset and one in the Sunshine State with Selling Tampa, the Selling cinematic universe is heading to reality TV hallowed ground with Selling the OC (which premieres on August 24). Sitting in the shadow of established Orange County shows The Real Housewives of Orange County and Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County — yes, that subtitle did claim to show a "real" take on growing up in the California suburbs — Selling the OC has a lot to prove. In 2022, a show about glamorous real estate agents, over-the-top mansions with views of the Pacific Ocean, and the cattiness and drama that comes with being followed around by a TV crew (with soft-focus, hazy filters ready to go) may seem like a gauche reflection of reality, but fans of Adam DiVello's manufactured brand of television will find plenty to love with Selling the OC.

Audiences applauded the inclusion of a cast of Black women when Tampa hit Netflix last year, which makes OC seem like a step backward. Yes, the new Oppenheim office (housed in a former surf shop on a stretch of Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach) has several women of color, but it also has three women named Alexandra (Hall, Jarvis, and Rose). It wouldn't be a Selling show without competition disguised as workplace infighting, but after six total seasons of Selling, the tropes wear thin, and OC's cast — which, for what it's worth, also includes a bisexual man, Sean Palmieri, in addition to many of the realtors being parents — doesn't have the presence (or fashion sense) to make the show's slow pans from shoe to handbag to blowout or sterile-yet-glam staged real estate porn make the watch worth actually watching the show.

Like its siblings, Selling the OC is perfect to have on while you're doing something else, whether it's folding laundry or doom-scrolling, but the parade of bandage dresses and stilettos fades blur into one long montage of sunsets, beach waves (both in the realtors' hairdos and the actual ocean), and indeterminate power pop anthems.

Nearly half-a-dozen real-life Orange County realtors shared that they had no experience watching any of the Selling shows, claiming that the "reality" in those shows was manufactured and that realtors are, generally speaking, more concerned about selling homes than accusing their coworkers of infidelity (which happens a few episodes into the show's first season). When Selling the OC tries to delve into issues like income inequality and the difficulties of establishing yourself when your coworkers have generational wealth and a long list of connections, it is a jarring contrast to (mostly) all-team brunches and yacht parties (an OC staple, truly).

While it would have made sense for Sunset's Heather Rae el Moussa to make an appearance, the only connection between Orange County's office and its L.A. counterpart is Jason Oppenheim, who presides over his team like a ringleader or defacto house dad, especially when he's confronted with the conflict that viewers want to see but HR departments (which the Oppenheim Group seems to lack entirely) would be quick to stop.

It's easy to find characters to root for (like Kayla Cardona, who admits she's still working side jobs as she figures out the world of high-end real estate, and Polly Brindle, the resident realtor with a British accent), while others, like a pair of Alexandras and Gio Helou (who has an orange sportscar because ... Orange County), seem to be stock characters that could fit in with the ladies Selling Sunset and get blown away by the unparalleled wit that comes with the Tampa women.

After watching every episode of OC, it's easy to wonder what exactly happened with the actual real estate: Yes, the bell rings. Yes, Jason smiles and applauds his team, but in the end, with such a narrow-sighted look at exactly what life is like in Orange County, what was the point of having a whole new team? While Tampa offered a peek into what felt like a whole new world from California, OC is poised to feel like a knockoff of Sunset, not that fans will care — most people are here to see the designer clothes and lavish homes, after all.

So, if escapism is all anyone's looking for, this spinoff serves it up on a silver platter, but Netflix fell a bit short of what it gave everyone with Tampa: a chance to go beyond cattiness and contempt and offer up a look at a microcosm of culture that not everyone is privy to.

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