Let me start by saying that I don’t really believe in the whole idea of “guilty pleasures”. If you like Hall & Oates, there’s no shame in that. If it’s re-runs of 21 Jump Street that float your boat, more power to you. Addicted to Val Kilmer-Mira Sorvino vision-impaired romantic comedies? I say, live and let live.
That said, lately, I’ve become totally hooked on a show that I know in my bones is dreadful and indefensible, but I can’t stop watching. I’m talking about Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing — the greedy, status-obsessed, brain-dead stepchild to the network’s classier Flipping Out and higher-rated Real Housewives franchises.
I actually started watching this hour-long bit of real-estate porn last season, when the housing bubble hadn’t quite cratered yet, and I was first introduced to the show’s three young and bratty Los Angeles real estate sharks. There was Madison, a Malibu-based pretty boy who’s still trying to figure out his “polyamorous” sexuality while flirting with cougar clients trying to unload their $10 million beachfront pads. There was Josh, a whiny, spoiled, Beverly Hills rich kid with a permanent five o’clock shadow and a bratty knack for badmouthing other realtors. And finally, there was Chad — maybe the weirdest, least self-aware dude on television right now (if you don’t count Charlie Sheen). Chad can spend hours standing in front of the mirror obsessing over his bangs. That is, when he’s not cooing to his disinterested girlfriend in baby talk and toting his twitchy little teacup dog in his messenger bag to real estate closings.
Honestly, I haven’t seen three bigger stooges since Moe whacked Larry and Shemp on the melon with a ball-peen hammer. Then again, maybe I’m just jealous. Because these guys make bank! They somehow manage to pull in $70,000 commissions for, as far as I can tell, laying out a few finger sandwiches and bottles of Evian at open houses. Nice work if you can get it.
Each episode of Million Dollar Listing cuts back and forth between this trio as they hustle and try to land new listings, badmouth one another, and impart their hard-earned pearls of real estate wisdom to the camera. And then there’s the requisite fetishistic montages of 37-room Bel Air mansions. Watching all of this, you can’t help but feel the strange push-pull of wanting to move to L.A. and snag a piece of the dream. After all, the sun is always shining, the swimming pools are always that perfect shade of Hockney blue, and even simps with $500 haircuts manage to rake in cash hand-over-fist. Then again, you’d have to actually share your psychic space with guys like Madison, Josh, and Chad. You can see the dilemma…
For now, I’ll put off the move to L.A. and just kick back on Monday nights and let the blissful idiocy wash over me. Because if loving Million Dollar Listing is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Now, let’s hear from you. Have you seen Million Dollar Listing? What’ your favorite TV show that you’re ashamed to love?