Is it OK for agents to share a drunken kiss at a work event? What if it’s not consensual? What if one of them is married? How about legally separated, does that change anything? Is dating colleagues messy? What about the boss?
Selling the OC, the spinoff of the wildly popular Netflix series Selling Sunset, dropped its second season Friday. Both portray the California-based boutique luxury brokerage The Oppenheim Group, led by Jason Oppenheim.
The questions above illustrate a few of the tough personal boundary and reputation issues the cast has been grappling with after a newbie agent tried to kiss her then-married colleague in Season 1. When Tyler Stanaland, gets divorced in Season 2, more colleagues flirt (and more) with Stanaland.
Which begs the question at the center of all the drama, the question that fractures friendships and breaks alliances: Where’s the line?
“Workplace romances — and couples working together in real estate specifically — are nothing new, of course. But where should brokerages draw the line? In particular, when differing power dynamics are involved, workplace flings can get hairy, if not legally precarious,” Inman’s Lillian Dickerson wrote after speaking with three HR experts. “In other words, the real-life risks that come with office romances are often shined and polished on television, eliminating the messy reality that most of us know to avoid.”
Messy is exactly the word the other agents in the office are using. “People are thinking we’re messy, as a brokerage. I mean, all of OC’s talking about it,” Brandi Marshall says in the Season 2 trailer.
At the same time the season dropped, the industry was reeling from sexual harassment allegation revelations at the National Association of Realtors. Ripples of sexual harassment suits are still working their way through Keller Williams and eXp as well.
That’s not to compare The Oppenheim Group to those cases or to say the issues are similar; each is incredibly nuanced. But it is to say that, as evidenced by the lawsuits and major headlines above, the same boundary conversation happening on a national level is also showing up in offices all over the country. And in Selling the OC‘s case, those office conversations are right there for all to binge on Netflix.
And binge-worthy it is.
Why? Even though personal relationships are in tatters, nothing gets in the way of the deal, the cast says.
“We may have different relationships happening and things severing, but our money and our jobs are the most important thing, which is why we’re all at The Oppenheim Group. So that always comes first. You may not even be on speaking terms with someone, but when it’s time to collaborate on a listing, here we are,” Brandi Marshall told Inman.
Here’s a rundown of Season 2’s drama, sprinkled with fun facts about the pot-stirring, office-smooching and multimillion-dollar selling agents of Selling the OC.
WARNING: There are big-time spoilers below.
Real Tea time: Season spoilers
Season 1 revolved around Kayla Cardona drunkenly trying to kiss Tyler Stanaland, who was then married to Pitch Perfect star Brittany Snow.
Licensed in 2019, last season’s newbie and single working mom Kayla Cardona gets a little validation this season. A jack of all trades, Cardona revealed in Season 1 that she moonlighted as a bartender to get her real estate business off the ground.
Fun fact: Tyler Stanaland is straight-up OC. He’s been surfing those waves since he was on sure footing.
Stanaland and actress Brittany Snow divorced in September 2022, which Polly Brindle, who says her divorce took four years, argued is fair game. As the season progresses, it comes out that Polly Brindle and Tyler Stanaland shared a drunken kiss at an office party.
This news came just after Brandi Marshall and Polly Brindle had just had a conversation about whether the ink being dry on the divorce papers matters or if legal separation makes it fair game.
Fun fact: Brindle told Inman she has a modest collection of taxidermy birds and mice, inspired by her mother who is a taxidermist, though she realizes it’s an acquired taste.
Polly Brindle did not disclose the kiss at that time, which needless to say did not go over well with Brandi Marshall when it did come out. And all of this took place just after agreeing to co-list a property together.
Maybe Polly Brindle wouldn’t have disclosed the drunken kiss at all, even though it was on office property, and they are on a reality TV show, though it’s unclear whether they were filming at the time. But there are always cameras.
Kayla Cardona filled in Florida-native-turned-OC agent Sean Palmieri at Gio Helou’s $100-million-in-sales party, replete with lifelike ice statue of the host and his own speedboat entrance. Sean Palmieri immediately went to Polly Brindle and called out the hypocrisy.
Fun fact: At the end of Season 2 Gio and his wife Tiffany Helou reveal they are expecting a baby. It’s a boy, and due to be a Virgo baby.
Meanwhile, the seemingly inseparable duo Alex Jarvis and Alex Rose backed Kayla Cardona in Season 1, whether out of principle or lack of office allies.
Alex Jarvis and Alex Rose run into relationship trouble when Jarvis and her fiancé go to dinner with one of the duo’s joint clients without mentioning it to Rose.
Jarvis says it’s fine because it wasn’t about real estate, but Rose said no way. By the end of the season, the two have a spat where they spill all the rumors they (and the rest of OC) hear about one another, and seemingly call it quits.
Has Jarvis moved on to brand new cast mate Alexandra Harper (yes, another Alex)? The two Southern gals seem to be hitting it off all season long, with Jarvis saying it’d be nice to have someone she genuinely connects with in the office while distancing herself from Rose.
Fun fact: Alexandra Jarvis tied the knot with Sergio Ducoulombier in Italy on April 14 wearing the stunning one-of-a-kind Michael Costello gown she tried on in Season 2.
Although Polly Brindle, who wasn’t an agent when she met Jason Oppenheim, champions bringing on not-yet-agent Ali Harper, Gio Helou is not a fan.
A vocal critic throughout the season, Gio Helou tells Inman, “I have nothing against Ali personally. On the surface, I think she has the characteristics of a great Realtor, though I don’t think she has a clue how hard and competitive it is to be successful in OC real estate. It’s not shown on camera, but in both instances, Jason [Oppenheim] affirms my grilling of her and my vote against her.
“I truly see my vote against her as me being the only honest one with her, and actually being a friend,” he added.
By the end of the season, they wagered that within two months of getting her license, she’d have a listing.
Fun fact: Season 2’s new castmate, and not-yet-colleague, Alexandra (Ali) Harper is from Nashville. She tells the cast her family is like the Kardashians (of the south, of course). She was on the cover of the premiere issue of Nashville Health and Beauty, which makes sense. She cooks healthy, easy (yummy-looking) recipes — a lot, judging by her Instagram.
As for the wager, she hasn’t gotten her license yet, Gio Helou tells Inman. She’s also currently not listed on The O Group’s “Meet the Team” page. But Season 3 is filming, and Harper is in it, so stay tuned.
Season 2 leaves us with a tense relationship between Alex Hall and Brandi Marshall, who both seem pained by the drama.
But what we’ll all be watching in Season 3 is how Alex Hall and Tyler Stanaland “navigate” their seemingly budding relationship. The two went to high school together and share a steamy kiss in the season finale that seemingly cements the “messy” flirtation that Brandi Marshall was alluding to in her fight with Alex Hall.
Fun fact: Alex Hall and Tyler Stanaland grew up in Orange County and have known each other since high school. Maybe it was chemistry class, or maybe it’s just plain old chemistry. Although now the two work elbow to elbow, Hall originally wasn’t sold on Selling the OC, People reported in August 2022. Being a fan of Laguna Beach, the show’s producers, and a two-hour pep talk from Jason Oppenheim closed the deal.
We’ll also be watching how The O Group’s new Cabo San Lucas office is shaping up, with its billion-dollar listing, with a “B.” As Brett Oppenheim said, “Let the race begin.”
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