The season opener of Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles had social media atwitter. Our boys Josh Altman and Josh Flagg are back, but where’s Madison Hildebrand?! He voluntarily left the show. Who are these Brits?? David Parnes and James Harris of Bond Street Partners, an offshoot of Mario Umansky’s The Agency. And why are all the clients so insufferable?? More on that to follow.
But first, condolences to Josh Flagg for the loss of his grandmother, Edith Flagg. I enjoyed watching their scenes together. They really seemed to like each other’s company and you could feel the love between them. She was a spitfire and will be missed. Now back to the show…
Josh Altman has returned still engaged to Heather Bilyeu. As much as Josh was opposed to the idea last season, she is now working for The Altman Brothers but from the ‘home’ office in order to keep a separation of family (Heather) and business (Matt). He had no choice but to bring her into the fold. Money is money, right? I’m no therapist, but it doesn’t take one to see the writing on the wall.
Josh opens with the obligatory bragging talking head about how many millions in sales The Altman Brothers did last year and yet he now finds himself in a ‘call back’ with many other brokers including the Bond Street Partners, for one particular listing called San Circle. The client, Danny, who is also a developer asks Josh how he would sell the place and differentiate himself from the pack. Basically, how high will you jump for me?? Josh responds that he would need to stage the unfurnished modern abode. The client balks at the idea of spending upwards of $60k for staging. Not wanting to lose Danny the coveted developer-client, Josh waives the staging fees. He is confident that he can call in some chits and get the whole thing comped based on prior revenues generated. Josh and Danny shake on it and we have a deal. This does not sit well with the Brits as we soon shall learn.
Josh Flagg is back and now living the white picket fenced life with Colton in the home they purchased above full asking price at the end of last season. Gone is the deluxe apartment in the sky. He has reluctantly eased into the role of a fifties suburban husband in his bathrobe and slippers while being doted on by his loving partner. With Edith’s passing, this is probably a good thing for Josh. He is making new family memories with Colton. The two of them are so adorable together, I just want to pinch their cheeks. And snuggle with their doggie, too!
Business for this Josh is booming as well and he has expanded his staff at Rodeo to include two new assistants. They diligently take notes as he informs them of his beverage preferences and gives them their first assignment. So far so good. And Josh will still answer his phone on occasion to boot! Which is how we meet his new client, Laney. She hangs up on him twice before realizing that she is actually speaking with ‘The Josh Flagg’! OMG!!! Laney is representing her mother-in-law who is about to downsize from her estate in the exclusive Bel Air Crest neighborhood. Josh is leery but agrees to meet with her. At the estate fit for a Roman emperor, they talk numbers sprinkled in with some subtitled Yiddish or Hebrew, which seems to bond them and seals the deal. She will speak to the family and get back to him.
Josh follows up with Laney after not hearing back from her. She avoids the subject and invites him to talk over lunch where he is ambushed by her and her entire mahjong group! Not surprisingly, Josh is reluctant to join Laney’s zany ladies who lunch bunch. She is annoyed that he is all business. He feels that she is using him like a new toy to show off to her girlfriends. I got the impression that Laney was using him for her on camera audition for RHOBH! Oy! Poor Josh. He eventually gets her away from the table and they finalize the list price at $9.4m. Now they can break bread. Mazel!
Soooo on to the big elephant in the room – David and James! Bravo’s love affair with all things British continues. Who are these guys? David and James are childhood friends from the UK, both worked in finance and eventually made their way to Los Angeles where they have been selling real estate for the past three years. They have an international clientele because those are the circles they travel in. Sales hit $120m last year. One is married with kids (James) and the other is not (David). One is hyper and the other obsessive compulsive, but I couldn’t tell the difference between these two yippy little lap dogs.
We find the 30-somethings meeting their new client’s representative, Kristoffer, for the first time. He looks like David Caruso’s long lost twin and is a piece of work just like his character, Horatio. Kristoffer explains that his client wants an $18m home on a $12m budget. It must have amazing views, be warm and cozy, and have all these other bells and whistles. Okay?! ‘Of course we can find that for you’ say the eager-to-please Brits, knowing there is no inventory in the greater Los Angeles area that fits this criteria. After lackluster showings of not one, but two similar modern and cold properties, Kristoffer bluntly says sayonara. David and James are left reeling from the loss. And now they have to see the dreaded Josh Altman at the San Circle open house. Double whammy!
All the agents come together for the first time at the open house and it’s like the perfect storm. The two Joshes exchange witty banter about buying suits at Ross (as if!) and the Brits are still crying in their figgy pudding over losing the listing to Josh Altman. He is now King Douche in their book. How could he?! I mean really?! He was supposed to give us that listing on a silver platter. Waaaa. The Brits proceed to trash talk all the faults of the property to Josh Flagg right in front of Josh Altman! Oh dear boys…so much to learn.
However, all might not be awash for the Brits rekindling their non-bromance with Kristoffer. Miraculously another agent, a Brit no less, has informed them of a property that has yet to go on the market. It is a $6m home with a fabulous address and an amazing view, but again, it is modern and cold. How do we get that awful man to come see another property that he will hate? We trick him, that’s how! And yes, we are gluttons for punishment! The Brits somehow manage to lure Kristoffer to the location but he won’t get out of the car. He sees what they have done and he is not going to fall for it again. But somehow, the boys turn on their schoolgirl charm and get the crusty ginge to follow them up the hill where, lo and behold, they show him not an $18m view, but a $28m view! It’s clearly a tear down and rebuild situation. The Brits’ math makes sense. Kristoffer is pleased. Oh mummy! He calls his master and tells him that Bert and Ernie (his exact words), ‘yes those two boobs, boss,’ have solved our real estate equation. And with a smirk and slight sunglasses adjustment he is out of there. Horatio style.
It would have been catastrophic if David and James didn’t close the deal on their first episode. I have no doubt that one of them would have soiled their shorts. And Josh Altman would never let them hear the end of it.
Buckle up, I think it’s going to be a bumpy ride this season…
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Recap Author: Maura
Photo Credit: Bravo TV