In the latest episode on “Million Dollar Listing New York,” the inmates who run the asylum — Fredrik Eklund, Ryan Serhant and Luis Ortiz – once again exhibited behavior that argues for the inclusion of a special section in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders dedicated to New York City-related mental issues and peripheral dysfunction.
From frog dances and racial slurs, to overly emo moms and head-tattooed strip-club owners, this episode no doubt had viewers speed-dialing their therapists and thinking our whole damn city should be medicated.
Here’s a list of some things we witnessed last night that qualify as more than a little off-kilter:
1) Histrionics: It’s history vs. histrionics when Ryan meets with Samantha, an overly emotional mom and owner of a Midtown East penthouse who is clearly her soul mate and the key player in the greatest love story ever told. When we see her go all verklempt over the mere thought of selling the property, we are eager to give her a pass when she says, “This is the place the doorman watched my children grow up in. The kids are so happy when they come home from school every single day to see them.” Unfortunately, those words are sure to linger in our hearts and minds.
Ryan doesn’t help anything, clearly demonstrating he doesn’t “know how to handle crying women” when he tries to convince her that renting the unit out — as opposed to selling — is a bad idea by saying, “Imagine having a relationship with someone and letting someone borrow that person.” He goes on to tell her that renting will turn her once joyful dreams into a nightmare. This isn’t helping our sleep any either.
2) Disassociation: It’s fairy tale vs. nightmare when Luis eagerly pitches a woman from Millstein Properties on becoming her exclusive broker even though the building provides an in-house sales team. He promises he can garner $800,000 more than the $7 million they had promised for her 30 West 63rd Street unit because of his experiential marketing prowess. And by prowess, he of course means creating a fairy tale about the unit.
The actor commissioned to narrate the tale of altered reality switches from fake English and Irish accents to Spanish, although in any language the story spells “cheese.” This was some serious hard sell, designed to appeal to the narcissist in us all: “When the first rays of sunlight begin to cascade into your room announcing the dawn of a new day….” Or, “an entrepreneur, philanthropist … whatever it is, you’re the best.” But the real insanity begins when the attendees close their eyes, getting swept away, seemingly in some sort of trance. We’re less enthralled.
3) Manic Depression: It’s cheers vs. tears as Fredrik goes back and forth with his 16 Warren penthouse developer, Joel, about the overly high maintenance and asking price. We get mental whiplash when one minute they are chummy and the next they’re screaming at each other. We see Fredrik happily riding a Citi Bike to meet with his client. While he is initially elated that Joel has agreed to drop his price from $6 million to $5.5 million, shortly after he is depressed because the client won’t agree to take a $4.8 million offer.
The emotional roller coaster continues when Fredrik is informed the outdoor space will be unavailable for two years due to another building going up next to it. As we are jarred by construction noise, we hear the depths of Fredrik’s despair when he laments, “It feels like you are in the ocean and a huge wave comes over you. You fall and you are like almost drowning, but you stand up and you are like, ‘I actually survived!’ But then here comes another wave … a big, deadly wave.”
We later see him happily offer Joel a tub of composting worms only to be told it is still a no-go on the sale. It ends with smiles all around after Fredrik gets a text confirming his buyer will meet his developer’s price. Fredrik high kicks with a manic glee, showing us what we could only guess are his ever-so-rare red-bottomed male Louboutin soles.
4) Infantilism: It’s birds vs.
bees frogs when we see Fredrik and his husband Derek visit a bird shop because Derek grew up in South Africa around parrots. But things take a very strange turn later when both don green shirts and Fredrik implores Derek to hop around the apartment with him in order to re-enact one of the most important things from his childhood and “dance the little frog dance.” Apparently, it’s a sort of fertility dance, where one is supposed to grab their partner’s tail while moving around a pole, which is supposed to represent a phallic symbol. When Derek balks, Fredrik explains, “You married a Swedish frog. Now you have to be one, too.”
5) Hypersexual Disorder: It’s open house vs. nuthouse when Ryan holds a no-frills property showing because he’s fearful his seller may end up changing her mind about selling. One random attendee says, apropos of nothing, that next time he shows up he’ll have his fishing pole with him, claiming he does ninja work on the side, and another divulges she has only been in the biz for six weeks. Unfazed Ryan says, “I like crazy,” which is apparent because he seems to like himself.
Ryan adds to the insanity by rambling, “… babies … footsteps … Cheerios… Can’t even see the Cheerios because I put so much money on it.”
A broker who attends says he may have a buyer — a son of a suspected drug dealer — and later returns with him. Again unfazed, Ryan says he once sold a Battery Park City apartment to a madam. Pablo is in entertainment. By that, of course, he means he owns a strip club. Pablo would like to turn the master bedroom into a champagne room and Ryan helps by showing him where a thick column could be turned into a stripper pole. After Ryan checks out Pablo’s multiple head and neck tattoos he finds out he has a daughter, inquiring to Pablo, “She doesn’t work for you, does she?” only to get his bizarre response, “She’s still too young for that.”
6) Transference: It’s Baron von Munchausen vs. Munchausen by Proxy when Sam returns and relays to Ryan that she believes
she her children will be too traumatized if the apartment is sold, as evidenced by them recently drawing pictures of the apartment. “They almost started crying” missing getting to see the view of the Chrysler building. Ryan tries to quell her concerns by telling here that even though she may be moving, “The Chrysler building isn’t going anywhere.”
7) Temper Disregulation Disorder: It’s hugs vs. thugs, when Ryan is sent Luis’ hardcover fairytale invite to his narrated open house. Ryan has trouble controlling his vitriol, telling his assistant in a racially charged statement: “That little Puerto Rican just sent me a book?!”
The show closes with a coming attraction that foreshadows the bromance a trois turning into the battle royale when Ryan shows up at the best night of Luis’s life and Luis says he is going to “punch this guy’s teeth inside his throat. “