What Was Up With Season 4 Of “Selling Sunset”?
The new season of Netflix’s real estate reality show promised drama, but didn’t quite deliver. (Spoilers ahead.)
Estelle Tang: OK, folks. After a super dramatic Season 3 finale — Chrishell making a hasty exit from Christine’s über-goth wedding — and over a year’s worth of tabloid gossip, Selling Sunset is back for its fourth season. It seems like they have bigger celebrity guests and fancier houses, a testament to how the show’s star has risen. But let’s be honest, real estate plays second fiddle in this show. What was your favorite scene?
Scaachi Koul: Christine walking around wearing what appeared to be a bedazzled, tiny folding chair for a purse. It’s exactly what I want from Christine: unpredictable, unrealistic, fancy absurdity.
Stephanie McNeal: Christine’s baby shower with a real sloth and a shirtless man covered with body paint. I also loved when Chrishell bought her house. Her excitement seemed so genuine, and she is just so likable. Also, I enjoyed imagining I owned that house.
Michael Blackmon: My favorite scene was the ending, when all of the agents finally confront Christine about her ridiculous lies. But it took until the end of the whole season! They wasted my time! I felt like I waited the entire season for something to happen between Christine and the other agents. The big moment where she and Mary hash things out was so underwhelming.
SK: That’s kind of Selling Sunset’s way, no big scenes until the very last episode. That’s all ya get.
SM: The teaser of Jason and Chrishell kissing is a federal crime, against me personally. How dare you give us 10 episodes of “Everybody Hates Christine” and then throw that in as a cliffhanger to make sure I watch next season.
MB: I related to Heather storming off at the end. That’s how I get when I’m so frustrated and the person I’m trying to reason with is a…uh, fickle individual, to say the least.
ET: Did you find Season 4 compelling?
SK: At the beginning of the pandemic, I wrote a profile of Adam DiVello, the guy who made Selling Sunset (and The Hills and Laguna Beach, a real pro). And I told him that he somehow makes boring, hot, blonde white women so compelling that I have ended up watching four seasons of a show that I can’t really describe as “interesting.” No one is that compelling, no one’s storylines pull me in, I shouldn’t actually care about any of these people, and here I am rooting for Chrishell as if she is my long-lost sister. I JUST WANT HER TO THRIVE.
With Selling Sunset, you have to decide if the finale’s confrontation (something that happens every season) is worth sitting through a bunch of episodes where they just roam open houses for 40 minutes. They didn’t even address Heather’s cursed tattoo that she got when she and Tarek got engaged! Give me a whole season of the tattoo fallout, come on!
SM: I was so pissed they never brought up the tattoo. “Yes Sir, Mr. El Moussa,” deserved its time in the spotlight.
MB: Not really. It seemed like the agents were having the same conversation every time they met up with one another. Even the addition of Vanessa and Emma, who are both kind of boring, didn’t help.
ET: How does everyone else feel about Vanessa and Emma? With Vanessa, I thought it was interesting that they brought in someone who is an ex–soap actor (obvious link to Chrishell) and also kind of touchy-feely and willing to try to help Christine — she was obviously supposed to be a bridge of some kind.
SM: The jury is out for me on Vanessa. I can’t tell if she is too innocent and nice to play ball with these ladies, and thus just ends up on the side of whoever she last spoke to, or if she’s the smartest one of all and is playing 4D chess, stirring the pot and moving the drama along.
Emma is a supervillain. I did some research, and her website for her smash hit food business has no way to actually buy the food and no descriptions of the products. Hello, where are the vegan empanadas? I need a five-part documentary on her and her life. When she explained how she made her money as a teen, apparently investing in the stock market to enough success that she financed her entire family’s fortune? She only flies private! I can’t.
ET: I laughed when Emma said she has to fly private because she has a big dog.
SK: Emma feels like the only person who could conceivably be a match for Christine. She’s newish, she’s got a little history with her, she’s unafraid, and she looks like a Christine-light. It’s like what Mean Girls suggested was sure to happen at the end of the movie. Honestly, I hope they eventually put their differences aside and join up and really set this show on fire. Did you know Emma is 29? She’s just one of those women who looks like she’s either 19 or 55. Good for her, I guess.
SM: Anyone who talks that much about how busy they are and how many businesses they have — I automatically assume something is fishy (and NOT the good, Emma-Leigh & Co. cauliflower crab cake kind of fishy).
ET: It was perfect when Vanessa was like, “I have never heard of a cheeseburger empanada. That’s not a thing.”
But we must discuss the Christine of it all. She had already graduated to supervillain, and she just leaned into that even more. This is obviously by design, but I cannot make heads or tails of her story about getting engaged to Emma’s ex. It’s almost beside the point whether it’s true or not — the bigger issue is that she seems incapable of being accountable to her friends and colleagues (as Mary pointed out). But in that finale, either she is a great actor or she really is someone who does seem deeply emotionally wounded, I think? Have I been drawn in by her unimpeachable richer-than-thou aesthetic and bouncy hair? Probably.
MB: Christine wants to control things that are literally out of her hands. You can’t just say you miss Mary after treating her and her new friends like crap. It’s like her brain short-circuits when she can figure out how to be the victim in any given situation. I’m not even a Davina stan, but it was ridiculous that Christine wanted Davina to lie for her about the engagement story.
SM: Christine wants to be the star of the show, and I think she is kind of short-circuiting because Chrishell is the star of the show. I also think she seems to be wavering about whether she wants to keep doing this or just be an influencer and enjoy Christian’s fortune. Which I get. The engagement lie felt half-assed. I don’t think her heart’s in it.
SK: I actually found a lot of the Christine plotlines really unbearable, not because I think she’s an unpleasant person — in fact, by reality show standards, she is e-very-thing — but because there seems to be a lot of trauma around the birth of her son. I thought it was weird that the show had her explain how truly awful her birth story was, and then you can kind of tell that her new motherhood is pretty fatiguing (which the show also never acknowledges). She seems checked out at the parties, a little disconnected even from herself, and she isn’t the bombastic, unapologetic personality she was in the last few seasons. I don’t think this is permanent — she’s merely resting — but I don’t think we got Christine at her sharpest. I’m sure she’ll come back with a vengeance next season. She just isn’t at the top of her TV villain game; she doesn’t seem to want to play like she used to, and it’s no fun watching her be the bad guy when she isn’t relishing it to some degree. Maybe her priorities have changed, but to be clear, I do not think motherhood would or should preclude any woman, especially Christine, from fulfilling her full reality TV villain potential.
ET: The return of Davina was somewhat underwhelming, but I find her fascinating. She is a black hole for charisma. Watching her interact with other people is like watching an alien following the How to Be Human handbook. Her breathy pandering to Jason and the other agents is excruciating. When she told Jason, “I love the access to you,” I aged 19 years out of disgust. But her outfits have gotten a lot better.
SK: They are technically better in terms of labels, but her style is...terrible. There’s something so false about it — I feel like she’s trying to dress like Christine in order to keep a plotline going. That black number with the gold buttons and feather trim she wore when catching up with Christine was cute, but then the way she styled it was a disaster: messy bun, gold and silver jewelry, a look of absolute panic on her face. It isn’t working for me.
MB: I think Davina realized what a big mistake she made by trying to ice out Chrishell and be on the mean girl side with Christine. I still don’t trust her because it’s so obvious what she’s doing. That said, I still want her to get a check. Even bad people deserve an income!
ET: On the other hand, I am obsessed with Maya. Mary says this, but Maya is able to blatantly stir the pot because people love her, and she really doesn’t seem to care about the drama either way. She spent a lot of time with Christine and Davina this season which seems more like producer logistics than anything else, having her plant seeds of chaos among the villains — she’s always just saying funny naughty things and then literally walking away. Like, “What did you think about dinner last night?” or “Oh, where is Davina going to sit when she comes back?”
MB: I freakin’ LOVED Maya this season. I think she is — Erika Jayne voice — “a sniper from the side.” I think she sees how ridiculous the drama is, and she calls it out in hilarious ways. I also like that she loves being pregnant. She makes me wanna get pregnant! Her life seems very full and happy. Team Maya all the way!
SK: Are we watching the same show? Maya feels rudderless to me! Even when she stirs the pot, it feels so benign that any of the girls could’ve said that to get things going.
MB: SCREAMING at “rudderless.” To me it shows Maya’s independence when she makes those comments. Like she couldn’t care less about these silly alliances. She’s there to get her check and go!
SM: Maya has the perfect setup for a reality TV show cast member. She reveals nothing about her life, never has any personal drama, yet gets to reap the rewards of being on TV. All she has to do is randomly show up at dinners and be in the office.
ET: This season overall wasn’t that juicy — the really meaty stuff like Heather and Tarek’s wedding and Chrishell and Jason’s relationship are presumably coming next season. Do you think the show suffers in comparison to more traditional/long-running reality shows because of the shorter seasons or any other factors? I like that the seasons are relatively short — it’s easy to get invested even when not very much happens.
SK: I think they also have the added struggle of working with the housing market; they not only have to get clearance to film in all those houses, but to get the sellers or buyers on board, and to be in production when a big house sells. It’s a lot of moving parts, plus the girls’ personal lives.
MB: I think it was just a bad choice to give us a filler season when the previous one was so juicy. All that divorce drama and now that we know Chrishell is dating Jason — a bad decision, imo — it kind of felt like they were playing in our faces. Show us the goods! Like, there’s no way dating your boss ends up being a good thing. I think we’re gonna see Chrishell become a villain next season.
ET: Who is your favorite secondary character? I loathed Christian and his little “They just want to be rich like you” speech. But I am obsessed with Romain. When he said “It’s been five years!” about the Emma and Christine drama, I almost cried laughing because he was right. He’s the only relatively normal person on the show.
SK: I have really come around on the young man named after lettuce. I wish him nothing but moissanite dreams.
MB: I hated that comment from Christian, too! And I’m not defending him at all, but he is only getting one side of the story, from a person who is unreliable. But he loves her so I guess that’s clouding his judgment.
SM: I hate to admit this, but I liked Tarek. He only added to the scenes he was in. He had a lot of energy when he was on camera, and I thought he actually helped Heather calm down a lot in the final confrontation. I’m kind of excited to see them get married. Also, I like Heather more now. I know, I hate myself.
MB: Not a secondary character, but my heart broke for Amanza when she found out about her ex giving up custody of their kids. It's frustrating that someone who helped her create two children can simply bow out of the huge responsibility of raising them, and without giving a proper explanation. I really hope good things happen for her and her children in the future.
SM: Poor Amanza. I love her so much. Honestly, I kind of wish this stuff wasn’t on the show. It’s so heavy, and I feel like it doesn't fit the vibe and is a bit jarring. But I get why she wants to talk about it, and that’s her prerogative.
ET: That arc does highlight everyone else’s petty ridiculousness. We’re seeing $50 million mansions and couture dresses and yachts, and fights about perceived slights from years ago. Amanza is a working single mother, going through an experience that some viewers can actually relate to.
SK: I think the show struggles with balancing the women’s work stuff and their personal stuff. Christine’s season was almost all personal because she was taking some leave, while Chrishell’s was all work.
I do think we have to talk about the preview for next season, which really teased Chrishell dating Jason.
ET: Do you remember how much tension there was in earlier seasons about Jason favoring Mary because they used to be in a relationship and seeming to give her all the best listings? That will probably happen with Chrishell.
MB: Mary and Jason have such an interesting relationship. Like, part of me feels like it shows a level of maturity to be able to work with your ex, but I am also weirded out by it? And now that Chrishell, one of Mary’s good friends, is dating her ex, I’m wondering how she feels about that. I don’t know if I could handle it.
We also gotta talk about Mary and Jason’s dog party! White people LOVE their dogs.
SM: How funny was it though when Jason was telling Mary to calm down because “it’s her baby’s birthday”? Also Jason’s poems.
SK: I had to watch the dog birthday party on mute because it truly made me so mad. I don’t want to hear any adult men writing poetry for their dogs.
MB: Emily Dickinson could never!
ET: Jason is low-key the most chaotic person on this show. Inviting Christine to the dog party, inviting Emma to replace Christine at the brokerage — but he gets away with it because he’s a dude.
SM: This show makes me mad because I want one of the houses. I need to deal with that on a personal level.
MB: I love that the show makes me feel like I could sell homes. It makes it seem so simple even though I’m sure it isn’t.
ET: Do you care about the Newport office that Jason announced in the finale and presumably the new franchise that will follow? Do you think you’ll watch it?
MB: Yes! I will absolutely watch every iteration of the Selling franchise. It's a good, low-stakes drama. It fuels me! I don’t think they did a good job of getting people interested in the new office, but I’ll definitely watch it because I’m so invested in this series. Selling Tampa is coming in mid-December. I’ve seen screeners, and it completely makes up for the drama Selling Sunset failed to deliver this season. I can't say too much — or anything, really — but it's the workplace reality drama we deserve!
SM: I say I don’t care, but I’ll probably watch.
ET: Finally, what were the worst parts of the season? For me it’s a toss-up between Tarek’s trucker hats, the way nobody could seem to remember where Vanessa was from, and how 10% of the season was just compliments about Christine’s body “bouncing back” from childbirth.
SM: Every time Emma said “Alesso’s house.”
SK: Christine walking around wearing what appeared to be a bedazzled, tiny folding chair for a purse.
MB: I think Emma’s gentrified empanadas were a low point. And the poor sloth who had to attend Christine’s party. I felt bad for them. ●