The Real Deal New York

Latest “Million Dollar Listing New York”: 3 flew over the cuckoo’s nest

The boys take crazy to new heights in episode 3 of Bravo's popular reality show

April 17, 2014 10:00AM
By Ann Imperatore

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From left: Luis Ortiz,

From left: Luis Ortiz, Fredrik Eklund, Ryan Serhant, and Vincent Schiavelli of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

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. “

Temper, temper.

  • guest

    Love this, the recaps crack me up so much I don’t even need to watch the episodes anymore!

  • Cat of Wall St.

    These are pretty good. Just read the last two and the themes are very original. Real Deal should do these with every building sale or deal.

  • Messrs des Pompadours

    Wow, this review needs to be a series because it is way more entertaining than I remember the show actually being.

    It sounds like Ryan needs to watch the Canadians on uh… that show where they renovate and look at other houses. He should show her other dudes/apartments in her price range and maybe she will WANT to move, yeah?

    He should rent it out because the scent of other occupants might make her move.

    Coincidentally:

    http://pagesix.com/2014/04/16/nyc-would-look-richer-if-we-logged-hooker-drug-dealer-incomes/

    • Char4Dew

      ACTUALLY Douglas Elliman had a far better Reputation before this show came about. The owner is a greed machine and does not care about how he is hurting the industry.

      • delliman looks better imo

        Really? After that craigslist scam where the fake broker collected deposits for an empty apartment, I can totally see out of towners wanting to go through a known entity to visit apartments.

        The fee has to be paid regardless so why not go with a place with a face(s) attached to it rather than someone you have NEVER heard of?

        It sucks because boutique brokers deserve their place but I think it’s going to be tough going in the future because outsiders do not look at streeteasy. They want the rental version of Luis to show them apartments in their price range.

        And I think Luis Ortiz comes off as really nice because he is tolerant when he gets green tea poured on him and kind when he has to My Fair Lady the clients’ son. I thought the tea scene was a set up to improve his likeability by showcasing his innate good manners despite his tendency to get bleeped.

        • Char4Dew

          Messrs des Pompadours – Why is it that BHS, Corcoran and Town won’t do this show? Why is it that the ETHICAL brokers are appalled by it? I loved D.Elliman. and was in shock that they allow this mess. But there is only one reason. The owner’s son was on it a few times. Definitely not because the better companies think that it’s good for business. That is not how we ETHICAL brokers do business. This show gives brokers a bad rap. And good brokers don’t even look at Craig’s list. SO…. Your mentality is yours. Keep it and love it.

          • windowdressing becomes reality

            I think it dolls up NYC real estate values – it preps clients both buyers and sellers to be more accommodating to brokers – so the show helps brokers. I bet foreigners are very attracted to how much Fredrik Eklund can pull off.

            I think the show that no one watches about restaurant leases with really low asking rents and strangeness hurts brokers and NYC real estate in general – it’s on the Esquire channel whatever that is.

          • Char4Dew

            What planet do you live on? dolls up NYC and preps buyers and sellers? They feature the rudest way to deal with anyone.

        • Char4Dew

          Not sure Douglas Elliman uses Craig s list… At least they never used to.
          But there is always a bad apple in every bunch.

    • Char4Dew

      LOL yes it is far more entertaining than the gross show.

  • homicidal triad, anyone?

    She SHOULD write a satire of the DSM manual as it relates to NYC real estate because that pretty much defines NYers these days – not the Cronuts.

    It would be very Lisa Birnbach “Official Preppy Manual.”

  • guest

    broker with strip club owner was a fake client

    • REFLA

      Not only is the buyer a fake, so is the so-called broker Alain Bin Naim “Aladino.” There is no one licensed as Real Estate Agent in the State of New York by that name.

  • SL

    I’m a psychiatrist and this is hilarious

    • Char4Dew

      Psychiatrist hardly ever buy million dollar apartments so its just show to you to the BROKERS it is a reputation killer.

  • Char4Dew

    This show does nothing other then give the Real Estate Industry a really bad reputation.

  • Char4Dew

    Real estate is not really done that way and if that is how this guys work, I would fire them in a heart beat. I find them gross.

  • riv

    Yes, professional agents do not behave or conduct business the way the “boys” do on the show. Deals are not made on a cell phone. There needs to be a paper trail not a serious of phone calls. Unfortunately many who watch don’t know the difference between reality TV and bad acting.This is bad fairy tale. I agree this does not showcase Elliman in a positive manner. No accounting for bad taste and poor judgement.

    • tjon

      @RIV how true. Deals are not made on the phone and hardly anyone now communicates by phone all by emails, deal sheets, txting.
      What about all the buildings that require board approval? I thought over 75% of buildings in NYC are coops?
      DE is only doing it since they luv the attention and could care less how their agents are perceived. Also heard that they just adore Fredrik and Luis so go figure that one, tells you a lot about the company.
      These dudes make a lot of money and their actions and crying simply pitiful when they don’t get their way.
      Spoiled lazy brats actually.
      Right?

      • riv

        Let’s not forget this is a made for TV soap opera. I’m sure Fredrik does not behave this way with his real clients. What concerns me is the consumer watches the show and perceives this is the way the Residential RE industry conducts their business.

        • Char4Dew

          Exactly the consumers who watch it think we act this way; and Brokers work hard to have a good reputation. This show works on killing any decent reputation the industry does have.

      • Char4Dew

        NO it does not tell you about the company. There is one owner who’s son was on it so he is the only one who likes it. The managers hate it.

    • Char4Dew

      Thank you. Professional do not act that way.

  • I think the publicity helps

    Of all the Chinese New Yorkers on Wechat, this Elliman broker was contacted:

    http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2014/04/21/new-york-real-estate-agent-scores-13-million-deal-on-wechat/

    • Char4Dew

      Emma Hao went to China and met the buyer there. Million dollar listing had -0- to do with the Chinese buyers market. The SELLER did her own work.
      She deserves her own credit for it.

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