Netflix Recommendation- Selling Sunset (Seasons 2-4

Selling Sunset? More like occasionally selling sunset….. with a regular unhealthy dose of catty office drama!

Okay, I think I need some therapy after binge watching Selling Sunset seasons 2-4 back-to-back over a 2-month period. Argh! For those who haven’t had the privilege to meet the Realters from the Oppenheim Group before, there’s Jason and Brett Oppenheim (twin brothers and co-founders of the firm); Mary and  Christine (once besties now frenemies); Chrishell (for better or worse, she’s always at the centre of the office drama); Maya (a Miami FIFO Realter); Heather (a reformed mean girl); Davina )probably the most cunning of the lot);Amanza (interior decorator turned Estate agent); and Vanessa and Emma (the two latest Realters to join the O-group). Wow! That’s a lot of lipstick mouths to feed!

The Oppenheim Group are based in Los Angeles, with a focus on representing high end buyers and sellers, moving mansions which go for no less than $2Mill, and as high as $40+Million! Which lands the Agent, a nice 6-figure commission- enough to pay for the Ferrari or Lamborghini (the standard set of wheels for a high-end LA Realter).

However, as high-end mansions don’t sell themselves, sales are infrequent, which leaves much time for office cattiness to fill in the downtime between sales. Seemingly an open house, the idyllic time to pull a colleague aside to catch-up on the office gossip, which inevitably only inflames the problem. And over the span of 3 seasons, best friends have become frenemies; the office dynamics were split clearly down the middle with pro Chrishells and anti-Chrishells’ an attempt to introduce some much-needed diversity to the office unfolds in an unexpected ways; and where we left off in Season 4, it was Christine verses the world! With the entire office seeming to turn against her.

While in the midst of all the office drama, there’s also personal dramas (which the Netflix film crew has unrestricted access to)- 2 weddings, 2 births, many parties (too many to count), a custody battle, and a very public divorce. Not even daytime soaps have enough manufactured drama to rival the goings on at the Oppenheim Group! But the team still bring in their celebrity listings, and they do sell those houses- ring that bell baby!

So, if you want to lose yourself in a completely mindless real-life soap opera, with the occasional property sale in the mix! Check-out Selling Sunset, just click HERE for all four seasons! Let’s just say they’re not your usual folk from your local Century 21! Haaha.   

Personality Spectrum of the Oppenheim Group:

Conscientiousness: Mary, Maya, Emma, Davina (as much as it pains me to say), Jason, and Brett.

Extroversion: Christine and Heather 

Agreeableness: Chrishell and Vanessa

Openness to Experience: Amanza

Neuroticism: I wanted to put Christine here, but to be honest she’s more extraverted than neurotic. An extravert with a very mean streak.

Netflix recommendations- Locke & Key (Season 1

Haunting, disturbing, but O-so moreish!

See, what I do is this. Once every couple of days, I bring up my Netflix app and check-out what are the top 10 trending shows on Netflix. Don’t we all!? And a couple of weeks back ‘Locke & Key’ was on the top 10 list.

And I have to admit, it was the 30 second trailer which hooked me in! And I’m not joking when I say this, but since watching the very first episode there hasn’t gone a day since, where I haven’t thought about it at least once in my day. And we watched the first ep over a month ago.

There’s something about Locke & Key which just gets stuck in your mind, scenes which once you’ve seen, you’re unable to un-see. And plot lines which have you thinking and thinking about it, trying to work out if the chronology made sense. Or how a ‘twist’ changed everything that you thought you knew, causing you to re-live each scene in your mind now that you have this new understanding.

And if I could take a step-back, for those who are unfamiliar with Locke & Key, this Netflix original is based on the comic book series of the same name. The title refers to the Locke family, made up of Nina (the mother), Tyler (eldest son), Kinsey (middle child), and Bode (youngest son). The family has just re-located across the country to Massachusetts, after the violent death of their father Rendell Locke. Moving into the Locke family home (Key house), for a fresh start and for Nina to better understand her late husband’s past.

However as they settle in to the century old mansion, Bode while exploring the property discovers ‘Echo’, a female voice which speaks to him from the depths of the well house. Then he hears whispers, unintelligible sounds that call out to him, in attempts to catch his attention and draw him close. Where he finds magical keys, hidden away in and around ‘Key house’. These keys when inserted into the corresponding lock of a door (or object), would unlock untold powers and horrors!

For example, the Anywhere key- which enables whom possesses it to open any door, transporting them to anywhere in the world that they could picture in their mind’s eye.

The Head key- a key which allows individual(s) to enter another’s depiction of their mind, allowing them to explore stored memories and personal experiences.

The Ghost key- when inserted into a specific door, frees one’s spirit to move freely, defying gravity/solid objects, and allows them to converse with other spirits.

And the list goes on, with upwards of 10 different keys? Each with its own unique powers. And the keys find themselves into the opening title, which acts as a teaser to what we’re to expect in the episode. Thus you have the Locks, and you have the keys!

But in the midst of their discovery of these keys and learning what they each do, the Locke family navigate typical teenage angst and high school; discover secrets/truths about their late father; uncover small town mysteries which locals are trying hard to forget; and of course the presence of not-so-nice forces who work hard to possess these magical keys.

But what comes with a totally engrossing and immersive show? Are the moments when you least want to re-live a particularly disturbing scene….. Say when you’re trying to sleep on a weekday night? When you have a long day of work ahead of you the next day? Yeah, it’s then, when these disturbing scenes replay themselves in your mind. Ah! Locke & Key was so effective in this that we had to restrict our viewing to only on the weekends, and only during the day-times. And when we neared the end of season 1, we smashed out the final 4 episodes in 2 days, and paid for it when we had poor sleeps for the next 3 nights! It’s not super scary, as other horror shows can be, but there are certain scenes which stay with you, and the story-line or the way that they unfold, makes it very thought provoking. We’ve spent many hours discussing certain scenes and situations to fully understand what happened.

In my personal opinion, Locke & Key was fully worth-while watching, even if it resulted in some sleepless nights. But can we put ourselves through this again, returning back to Key house for season 2? Perhaps not right now, perhaps in the New Year?

To start your own journey with Locke & Key, click HERE! To unlock the magic and horrors for yourself! 

Netflix recommendations- Sex Education (Season 3

Let’s talk about sex, baby!

Ok, it’s the third season featuring those randy kids from Moordale Secondary School, and although shows can easily run into trouble in the 2nd-3rd seasons- however no risk here! As Sex Education remains just as good as previous seasons in their third go!

You would think after two (16 episodes), creator Laurie Nunn would start to run out of teenage themes to feature in episodes….. But clearly not! As Season 3 dove deeper and deeper into the lives of 2020 era youths., Which admittedly, seems to be way more and more complex than how things were when I was a teen- “back in my day…..”

So let’s just say season 3 is no-way becoming predictable just yet, still edgy, provocative, and an altogether enjoyable viewing.

And the will they? Or wont they? Continues on between Otis and Maeve that tension exists throughout Season 3. Although as viewers we love to see couples eventually getting together, however we have to admit that once they do, the show oftentimes become a little bit boring? Without that tension anymore aka Suits- the reason why I stopped watching midway through season 3. But Sex Education continues to string out this tension, and stringing us along as well! And I’ll also leave you hanging…..Will they? Or won’t they?

And what I particularly like about Sex Education, compared to all other drama series, is the fact that there aren’t any happy endings! In the 00s, people (and particularly I) was annoyed with TV dramas, because they weren’t reflective of reality. Everyone on-screen were hot, and things always worked out in the end. Which we all know, is not the case in reality! Thus the rise of Reality TV shows, and the predominant thing I used to watch back in the 00-10s.

But Sex Education, although a bit over-the-top at times, but it does reflect reality for teenagers these days, being children of the noughties. Love it or hate it, this is their reality, sexual identity, broken families, peer pressure, drug use etc. etc. This is what our young people are facing, and that is why Sex Education is relatable to its fans! And the main takeaway is that, ‘there aren’t happy endings’ in life, no one’s life is perfect, where everything works out perfectly at the end of 8 episodes- but they just accept it and get on with it. And that is what we ought to do in our lives as well, accept that there aren’t fairy-tale endings, but we just need to accept it and move on.

And although the show’s title is ‘Sex Education’, and in the first two seasons it was more evident in why the show was named as such- as Otis and Maeve ran a sex clinic for their fellow sex confused peers. But in Season 3, the clinic was closed, along with their offices (the abandoned toilet block), so not much Sex advice was prescribed this season. But if it’s Sex advice you’re looking for?

There is ‘Sex, Love, & goop’!

No Otis here to provide sage advice, but there is Gwyneth Paltrow? What the!?

Where Sex Ed is fictitious, Sex Love & goop is totally real! Real couples come to Gwyneth and Goop HQ (I still don’t know what goop means). Here couples are paired with various Sex therapist’s and alternative Sex practitioners who work with the couple in weekend long intensives, to help them achieve a better sex life and relationship, in general

The camera crew (so there for us) are invited in to these sessions, where the practitioners each from a different school of thought, help couples to unpack their problems. And thus use their unique methods to help couples over-come whatever barriers they have in stopping them from enjoying a carefree romantic relationship. And it’s not always about sex, but it could be self-identity, past hurts, repressed childhood issues etc. which is the root of the cause. And some of the methods are a bit weird, and beyond being ‘alternative’. But I think the main takeaway for me was, that if we’re honest with ourselves, is that things can always be better. And who doesn’t want better?

It’s not a blame game, “it’s you who has the problem’, but there’s two of us. And the sweet-spot is the middle ground, it’s just a case of finding the M-spot. Which I’m happy to say, all the couples ended up finding the M-spot in the show, along with other spots…….

And the main thing is that, as a society we don’t talk about sex often enough. Well, not in a useful and productive way at least. And when we get over this feeling of shame or treating it as a taboo subject, it could only get better right?

So yeah, let’s talk about sex, baby!

So if you want some entertainment, you can start binging Sex Education HERE! But if you want some real sex education, even if it’s from the helping hands of Goop!? Click HERE!

Netflix Recommendations- Baking Impossible

If Metal Shop Masters and Bake Squad got together…….

We literally finished watching Bake Squad and Metal Shop Masters, then Netflix releases another Reality TV competition show- Baking Impossible, and it was bloody brilliant!

For those who haven’t watched ‘Metal Shop Masters’ before, here skilled metal fabricators are put to the test to compete in a high pressure situation to see who can create the most creative and functional works of metal art!

While on the other hand, ‘Bake Squad’ was a baking competition with a twist- the twist being that if you won the episodes challenge, you don’t win anything! Nothing, zilch!  But you do get more work! The sheer pleasure of re-creating exactly the same thing all over again, as the dessert caterer at the judge’s event (an everyday person).

And where one show was all about engineering and making big things do delicate things, the other was taking edibles and turning them into larger-than-life full-flavour desserts! Yeah, on paper the two shows seem like polar opposites having nothing in common, attracting completely different audiences. However some Netflix Executives probably thought…. What if we married the two concepts together?

And thus, ‘Baking Impossible was born!

If I had to use 3 words to describe Baking Impossible, it would be: Whimsical! Fun! &…… Completely Pointless! Haaha.

Here’s setting the scene for you: Baking Impossible brings together 8 Bakers and 8 Engineers, who are paired up together, leaning on each other’s respective expertise to create some pretty wild things! In each episode the teams are given a different challenge, for example to make an edible boat which can float and sail across a 20 meter wide body of water, whilst avoiding obstacles….. Enough said right?

And after 8 rounds, the winning pair takes home their share of $100K in cold hard cash! And who said you ought not to play with your food?

The judges who decide on the episodes’ winners, is a baking expert (Joanne Chang), an Engineering specialist (Hakeem Oluseyi), and ae Bakineering specialist (Andrew Smith)- their job, to decide which creation both tasted good, and was constructed well enough to allow it to move fast and remain water resistant (if we’re still using the floating cake boat as an example). While the host Justin Willman (from Magic for Humans), bring some added comic relief to an already uber light hearted show.

You literally have to see it for yourself to believe it, so check it out! It’s a lot of fun! Wasteful, but super fun and suitable for all ages! To watch Baking Impossible right now! Click HERE!

Netflix recommendations- Utopia (Season 1

Now this is way too close to my reality!

Australian comedy is a strange thing, it can be so good when it’s good! While it can be so bad when it’s bad! *Shudders*. But Rob Sitch’s ‘Utopia’ is one of those good ones! So good, so good!

For those who haven’t seen Utopia before (first aired on the Australian Broadcasting Channel), and now streaming on Netflix- Utopia is a workplace comedy following a team of Bureaucrats working in a fictitious government department called ‘Nation Building Australia’ (NBA). The department is headed up by CEO Tony Woodford (Rob Sitch), while everyone else who surrounds him are pretty much incompetent. Haaha. Almost like a reversal on that other popular workplace comedy series…… ‘The Office’.

Over 8 episodes in season one, Utopia highlights and pokes fun of government bureaucracies, workplace fads, inter-office interactions, and aspects of late 2010 workplace scenarios which we definitely do not miss in this new age of WFH (Working From Home).

For me, I first started to watch Utopia after hearing my work colleagues constantly talk about it. Something would happen at work and then someone would say “that’s just like Utopia”. And after I realised that Netflix was streaming seasons 1-4 of Utopia on Netflix, I gave it a go- wanting to be a part of these ‘that’s just like Utopia’ conversations.

And OMG! Utopia is just like work! Or is work just like Utopia? As I too work in an Australian government department. And I have to say, everything which Rob Sitch depicts in Utopia- it really does happen! But obviously not to the same humorous extremes, if so there would be a light-rail system (which no one wanted), running down which was once Sydney’s most iconic and busy street, where construction costs were grossly over-budget and today no one uses…..

My wife asked me once while watching Utopia, “Doesn’t this stress you out just watching it?” But I shrug it off. Utopia is too funny to be stress inducing…… However, we have designated Sunday afternoons for our Utopia consumption, as methinks watching it at night time, too close to bed-time might cause some unwanted nightmares! Haaha.

But Utopia is too good not to watch, it’s the realistic acting- each character comes off as being 100% ‘that person’ from work. The workplace fads and daily office struggles they depict are so close to reality, but they make such light heart of it! From your first interaction with work and your security pass not working, to the various charity days which are celebrated- haven’t we all lived out an episode of Utopia before? And it’s the slick editing and production, from the music between scene transitions, to the edited out scenes played during the end credits- the entire 25-27 minute episodes pass way too quickly!

So if you haven’t already watched an episode of Utopia before, check it out! It’s so Australian! It’s so bureaucracy in action! You never know, it just might turn you off from ever applying for a government desk job! Haaha. To start watching, click HERE

Netflix recommendations- The Circle USA (Season 3

How did it become a game of catch the catfish?

Four Senses! Did you miss me? Can you believe it, after 4 years of blogging, this was the first time I went a week without posting a single blog!? But I’m back and ‘The Circle’ USA was the latest Netflix show that we’d smashed through!

For those who haven’t seen seasons 1-2, ‘The Circle’ is a reality TV competition show, similar to ‘Big Brother’, however in the Circle all of the contestants are isolated in their own individual apartments. Yes, just like our reality here in Sydney, during our latest round of Covid lockdown. However to take isolation to the next level, even all of the contestants’ interactions were conducted over an app called ‘The Circle’, so for the 2-3 weeks (I’m guessing here), that they’re in the apartment block, they don’t hear other’s voices, or see anyone, except for text on a screen, profile pics of other players, and their lonesome for their own company.

So you might think, this doesn’t make for good television viewing? But it oddly works out! It definitely helps that prior to going into the Circle, Producers probably told them to verbalise absolutely everything! None of this reading things inside of your own mind, or having an internal monologue. But everything must be spoken aloud! E.g. read every post out aloud with feeling and emotion! Verbalise every single thought you have no matter how silly or devious! And of course engage in heaps and heaps of self-talk (just as long as it’s out aloud). And if the contestants themselves aren’t progressing the storyline on their own, there is host Michelle Buteau to act as a voice-over to explain things for us the viewer and to keep the show rolling on.

So to kick-start the show, 8 contestants moved into the Circle for at most a 2-3 week stay in isolation, with the aim to leave it $100K richer! On every second day, the contestants rank each other highest to lowest, with the highest individual (or pair) appointed as ‘Influencer’. Where they collectively decide on a player to ‘Block’, either due to being a threat, suspected for being a Catfish, or for simply being a number in an opposing sides ‘alliance’- thus eliminating them from the competition.

However to spice up the show (and to drag it out for an extra week), when a contestant is eliminated, they are quickly replaced with a new contestant- who oftentimes shake-up the existing dynamics in the apartment block.

And to break-up the monotony of popularity votes and blockings, the Circle arranges games for them to play. Designed to develop further bonds between players- as people disclose more of themselves to each other; unmask the catfishes- as certain games quickly uncover the sex of the player, giving away who is a catfish playing as a different sex (like what girl would suck so badly when applying make-up on a mannequin?); and the games allow for general back-stabbings and throwing shade on others- as some games are played anonymously and everyone takes advantage of that anonymity.

So you can see from my excited description of the show, I quite enjoy ‘The Circle’, as there is drama, suspense, and surprisingly quite a lot of strategy. Moohaaha! And after 2 seasons, the 3rd season was still very enjoyable! Clearly they haven’t exhausted this concept just yet.

But how season 3 was different from other years?

The players are now coming in a lot more strategic, compared to seasons 1-2. Back in season 1, Joey just wanted to impress the girls! In season 3, the contestants were purely using their charm to build alliances, and there wasn’t much genuine loyalty in the Circle this year?

The alliances this time were split along race lines, which I personally was a little bit worried about. As it may highlight the divide in US society at the moment, and it might play-out not-so-nicely on reality TV for the world to see. But you’ll have to watch for yourself to see how that plays out.

There were more twists and surprises in season 3, most of which acted as a ‘Cautionary Tale’, as what you need to be careful of when interacting online with strangers. E.g. beware of Catfishes, burner profiles, clones, and sisters playing as each other……

And finally, The Circle season 3 had more cliff-hangers than ever before! Every single episode ended on a suspenseful unresolved matter, so you’re forced to keep watching on for the next episode. But we soon worked out that, if you only watch 10 minutes of the next episode, you can find out the result and then hit stop, and pick-up the following day. So admittedly, one episode just blurred into the next for us.

In the end, The Circle has a unique concept going on, it is so ‘now’ reflecting the day and age that we’re currently living in i.e. living in isolation and where most of our interactions are done over social media platforms. And as much as I was annoyed that season 3 became just ‘a hunt for Catfishes’, but I guess the element of faking it until you make it, is what makes the Circle interesting! No eviction has been as tantalising as the Circle’s, “who would they go see?” And how would everyone react when they find out………?

So if you haven’t already seen season 3, check it out! It’s probably the best season yet! And if you think Reality TV game shows aren’t for you, check this one out, as it’s just that little bit different from the rest. To start binging ‘The Circle’ USA season 3 now, click HERE! Let the fishing begin!