Samantha DeBianchi is Million Dollar Listing's first female castmember. That's strange, right? That between three separate reality TV franchises on a very feminine-leaning network, there's only one woman you can count on seeing on your screen each week?
MDL Miami's second episode sheds a little light on why that might be: It's hard to be a professional woman in a man's industry in real life, and it's even harder to do on Bravo. Just ask Sam, who in last night's episode alone gets both professionally and literally manhandled by her colleagues; blatantly objectified by a fellow castmate and the show's film editors; and devastatingly undermined by her friend and listing partner Rachel. You've come a long way ... maybe?
In the series premiere last week, Sam got pressured into selling a penthouse owned by developer Gil Dezer at the crazy-high price of $8.9 million, with a 30-day deadline. Now, the clock's ticking down to the wire, and Sam's getting nowhere. Maybe part of the problem is that she's trying to conduct business while sitting at an outdoor cafe next to the beach and a busy roadway? No, it's the price; her listing partner and friend Rachel can't get any bites on the place either. This is not going to end well.
Chad, meanwhile, tells us he's "always pushing myself to do better." Literally --he's doing his daily push-ups on the balcony. Bravo-watching ladies be like, "Here's how you can do this better: with your shirt off."
Chad has set up another "house party" at his listing on Palm Island after co-owner and co-agent Stacey cancelled the first one. But his definition of "house party" and yours might differ. The average person might imagine a group of friends drinking a couple bottles of wine over Cards Against Humanity. Chad's house party involves topless dancers from Mansion nightclub, grinding the night away in pasties while standing on pedestals surrounding the home's pool.
Sam's not impressed by all the "butts and breasts" greeting potential buyers on their way in the door. "They're dancers!" Chad protests. "At what type of club?" Sam snarks back. Chad tries to pretend using naked chicks to sell things is "creative"; Sam, like any rational person, is not having it. So Chad responds by vaguely implying that Sam should show a little skin to make more sales. That's right, ladies -- if you're feeling constrained by the glass ceiling, why not try pushing your boobs up against it?
Chris, meanwhile, is in a far away land called Boca Raton, frolicking with horses. No, seriously. He's meeting fellow agent Senada at a frou-frou polo match to discuss -- what else? -- a high-end oceanfront penthouse. He really and truly makes his pitch to her as they're stomping the divots. Oh Chrissy, you so fancy.
Too fancy for Boca, it turns out. Senada agrees to share the listing with Chris, and when they meet to tour the penthouse, Chris is in love. There's a ridiculous marble bathtub, and when 16-baths-a-day Chris sees it for the first time, the look on his face is so tender and awestruck you honestly think he might shed a tear. But later, Senada insists on selling for $13.9 million, far below Chris' dream price of $20 million. Then she decides the open house should involve a bikini contest. We get it, Bravo: TITS SELL.
Chris, who had envisioned hiring a harpist, balks at first: "It's like two dichotomies. It's like, elegant amazing apartment," he says, raising one hand, "and then," raising the other, "boobs." But he eventually caves, because this is reality TV and we're talking about a bikini contest here. "It won't be cheesy," Senada promises. Let me restate: We're talking about a bikini contest here. Chris says he'll be a judge in the contest. This, too, will not end well.
Chad has a buyer for the house, but the offer is $3.55 million instead of $3.89 and I'm dozing off just writing about it. Blah blah blah, rich people arguing about money, blah blah blah, Chad wearing suits and saying stuff. The Bravo cameras did capture one chilling moment with the Chad-bot, though: He's at the house he's trying to sell, looking in a mirror and adjusting his tie with an intense look in his eye. (Think Annette Bening's character in American Beauty: "I will SELL this HOUSE to-DAY!") Then there's a knock at the door, and Chad turns toward it, assesses the situation, and puts on this simultaneously suave and mechanical smile before he moves to answer it. Did anyone else catch a glimpse of the red light behind his eyes, a la Terminator? Anyway, he sells the damn house.
Sam's not so lucky. With just a week left until her deadline, she meets Chris and his personal trainer at South Pointe Park for advice over a Kangoo training session, which involves wearing bendy metal springs on your shoes and looking generally ridiculous. Chris advises Sam to meet with Dezer to discuss reducing the price of his listing, but not before pointing out that she's not wearing a sports bra and that she's "moving" all over the place. He actually grabs her boobs and tries to restrain them. The Bravo cameramen waste no time zooming in on her cleavage. Ah, the noble profession of real estate. (Also, Chris, if bouncing breasts bother you that much, you may want to recuse yourself from your bikini judge duties.)
Sam takes the price reduction idea to her partner Rachel, but Rachel's not having it; she knows Dezer will fire them if they ask for a reduction. But Sam knows she's not going to sell the listing anyway, so insists that it's worth a shot. Rachel won't back down, but agrees to a meeting with Dezer so they can both make their opposing cases.
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What happens next is genuinely painful to watch: Sam lays it out for Dezer, this time without the weird staring and awkward small talk about Google Alerts: She's done all she can, she explains, but everyone, buyers and real estate colleagues alike, agree that $8.9 is too high to list the penthouse. Dezer's not having it, and he just lays into her, ultimately telling her she should "look for a new line of work." Sam, to her credit, keeps her cool. Rachel, on the other hand, goes into full-on sales mode, insisting she doesn't agree with Sam and that she can totally sell this place, yessir, no problem, just need a few more days. She just watched the guy treat her friend like dirt, and now she's practically begging him for a job. It's embarrassing, especially when Dezer cans them both.
So, to recap: Sam's been told she should slut it up; Sam's been told she needs to cover up; Sam's lost a friend, a listing and a giant commission; and Sam got yelled at by a famous developer on national TV. Hard to imagine why no other women signed up for this gig, huh?
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