The Real Deal New York

Why ‘Million Dollar Listing New York’ is the new ‘Seinfeld’

Old-school feel of reality show's latest season harkens back to sitcom classic
March 31, 2014 03:25PM

Dynamic trio Ryan Serhant, Fredrik Eklund and Luis Ortiz — think of them as the Tall, Grande and Venti of real estate brokers — are back in the third season of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York,” which debuts Wednesday. Here’s a sneak peak as they continue on their path to total real estate sales domination with more verve, sass and whining than ever.

This first episode chronicles the acquisition of three West Side listings, the trials and tribulations faced by our brokers and the negotiation process that ensues to get a deal done.

In previewing this show, it struck me that while prices and buildings continue to rise and properties get pimped out in ways we’ve never thought possible, there is a an old school feel to this latest season that can’t help make me think of vintage “Seinfeld.”

The year 1986 called — from a landline Luis does his cold-calling from — and wants its show back.

Here’s what I learned:

1) It’s the Year of ME. The episode opens with fighting words from Ryan, who claims he is “not taking shit from anyone” and that in the past he has been far too trusting and, as a result, got screwed over. Now he is taking a “forget everyone” approach to sales and only looking out for number one.

“Seinfeld” Takeaway: Summer of George

2) Power is subjective. While Ryan defines power as “control over people,” Fredrik, trying to lead a more balanced life now that he is married, says it means “the ability to do good,” while Luis thinks power is “earned from respect.” All three are hell bent on remaining calm, collected and in control. Good luck!

“Seinfeld” Takeaway: Serenity Now

3) Boys will be boys. The three leads in the show remain male, as do most of the key clients in the first episode. While Ryan’s new girlfriend and assistant Olivia make very brief appearances, New York City real estate is clearly a man’s world filled with F-bombs and potty mouths.

“Seinfeld” Takeaway: The Hot Tub

4) You are only as good as your posse. Each of the guys rolls 10 deep in assistants-cum-entourage. In this episode, we meet the men behind the men: Yuri, Ryan’s driver; Fernando, Fredrik’s driver and Ian, Luis’ tailor. You can’t get from there to here without some help.

“Seinfeld” Takeaway: George’s Frogger

5) The clothes make the man. This has always been a show about fashion, and clothes play a huge role more than ever. From Fredrik’s pink socks, Luis’ oh-so-brief boxer briefs and most importantly, having a custom tailor at the ready, style reigns in every episode. When Luis is saddled with a protégé, his first point of business is to get him fitted for a new suit.

“Seinfeld” Takeaway: The Armani Suit

The Swooshing Pants:

6) The mentor/protégé relationship is a slippery slope. Listings sometimes come with strings attached. Luis faces a rather unusual stipulation in that his client requires him to take on their son — who recently got his real estate license — under his professional wing if he wants their high-end listing. We are forced to sit through a painful lesson in cold calling.

“Seinfeld” Takeaway: The Mentor

7) Todd should have his own spin-off show. Luis’ clients force him to put their son Todd — who just got his real estate license — on the listing with him. The minute this guy came on screen he stole the show, so much so that Bravo needs to make a Todd-spinoff show asap. He is really everything, from his ill-fitting clothes, wayward hair and Polo fragrance-wearing to his lackluster phone skills and general awkwardness to his overstuffed wallet. I want this guy to become the new Bachelor at the very least — hey, the show already has enlisted 10 helicopters (see No. 8 below) to sell a property. The most difficult thing to believe in this whole narrative is that with his paunch and heft he is actually a tennis instructor.

“Seinfeld” Takeaway: The Comeback

George’s exploding wallet:

8) Buildings fit for James Bond hit the market. Sky Elevators that allow one to drive their car into their apartment and Sky Vaults that hide retractable stairways in $23m units are according to Ryan, “like trying to explain heaven” and the only way to do so seems to be by making a movie trailer with ten helicopters because “helicopters are cool.” People will always covet the latest technology.

“Seinfeld” Takeaway: The Pen (That Writes Upside Down)

Our three anti-heroes have all become interchangeable Jerrys, Kramers and Georges and the show has become a sort of caricature of itself. While we may be lead to believe this is a show about the high stakes game of New York City real estate, this really is a show about nothing. —Ann Imperatore