Our three Great American Heroes, Fredrik, Ryan and Luis, are back in season four of “Million Dollar Listing New York,” which debuted last night on Bravo, and a lot has happened since we last saw them: Fredrik is the author of a bestselling book, Ryan has a major Hollywood movie and a One57 nude shoot under his belt, and Luis … well, Luis bought a Maserati.
“NYC continues to change every year. It becomes more luxurious and more exclusive. … In order to live here you have to change too,” we are told in voiceover during the show’s intro. Ryan chirps that he has also evolved; he has learned from his mistakes. Likewise, Fredrik says he is learning and expanding every day.
With hype like this, the show should not be so horribly boring. Even though Bravo wants us to believe this is a season of evolution with the city and its real estate market undergoing a transformation, “Million Dollar Listing,” manages to stay static.
Buyers still don’t want to pay full ask, sellers think their properties are worth far more than they are, developers are aggressive and demanding and in the end, all the market’s ills can be remedied by one carefully placed on-camera phone call.
The Things That Never Change on MDLNY:
Developers are still intense: The crux of the episode is this. We meet Daniel and Raymond, a tag-team duo of developers whom Fredrik is working with on 215 Sullivan, a 25-unit dream of which only one pad remains — a 7,000 square-foot, three-story townhome that offers the services of the building, but the privacy of one’s own entrance. These high-kick-haters want $17.25 million for it and to garner that Fredrik has convinced them to stage a floor. Daniel and Ray finally concede with the caveat that they must get full ask, with no changes to the apartment. But the one offer Fredrik gets fulfills neither condition — the buyer wants to add a pool and also pay a fair bit less. In the end, after the obligatory phone back and forth, all’s well that ends well: It sells for full ask with minor modifications.
We also meet Yvonne, the developer of a project at 230 East 63rd Street who has four units left to sell and hopes Ryan is her man to get it done. He hosts an elaborate open house but things once again go awry. The top two units sell like hotcakes leading Ryan to comment, “I think I’m awesome,” referencing that the broker who had the listings before him couldn’t get them to move, while he, with only one event, has now sold two. The lower two — particularly the maisonette, asking a ballsy $3 million for a one-bedroom plus underground bunker — are a harder sell. Yvonne refuses to lower the price, forcing Ryan to shows us the patented Serhantian creativity and presents her with a plan to combine the two remaining units. Having the foresight to realize she will shoot down the idea, Ryan also presents her with a buyer for the not-yet combined unit and dangles a cool $5.75 million in front of her. Ryan negotiates that lower asking price with the buyer agreeing to pay for the work of uniting the units. Boom!
Sellers are still difficult: Luis gets a listing at 92 Laight Street because as seller Angel says, “We’re both Spanish.” Angel reckons that an apartment he bought in 2004 for $2.45 million is now worth $5.5 million, even though it is dated. Luis cajoles him into a listing price of $5.1 million with the stipulation that Angel get the hell out. He initially agrees, allowing Luis to schedule movers to pack up the place so it can be staged in a mélange of white, metal and fairy dust. But Luis has difficulty finding Angel a temporary home. After the unit is almost all packed, Angel tells Luis he is not going anywhere.
Unrealistic deadlines: Ryan is given four units in Yvonne’s East 63rd Street development only if he sells them within 30 days. Ryan says this is “tough times four.”
Trash talking: Let’s be real: We don’t watch MDLNY to see great acting or to get insights about the market. We watch for the feigned shenanigans of our three stooges. In the season opener, we see new alliances form as well as plots to break old alliances, and note that Luis still sometimes needs subtitles. Though he can’t pronounce “Gwyneth Paltrow” and accuses Fredrik of “dishelping” him, Luis also gets in a few jabs such as, “A lot of brokers will do absolutely anything for money, at the extent of losing their integrity … like Ryan.” Fredrik endlessly mocks Luis for his Maserati purchase, saying “I had that phase too—then I grew up,” and Ryan chimes in, “Maybe I should work for you [Luis]” alluding to Luis appearing ghetto rich in his Maz. Luis retorts, “I need someone to clean my shoes in the morning.” Ryan offers his final bitchy Luis takedown saying, “It’s fine. No one hates Justin Bieber for having an attitude … oh wait!”
As the episode ends, we are given a sneak peek of what is to come — hard hats, a Times Square proposal, race cars, boxing — all things that should be exciting, but just aren’t anymore.