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Guilty Pleasure: Bravo's Million Dollar Listing Returns Tonight

I know, I know: this is the guiltiest of all guilty pleasures in some ways.

But I do believe that when it comes to television, one shouldn't feel guilty about what one finds enjoyable, as long as you're truthful with yourself about the quality of the thing in question.

Which brings us to Bravo's Million Dollar Listing, which returns for its fourth season tonight, amid a cast shakeup that saw the departure of oddball Chad Rogers from the series and the arrival of a new face in Josh Altman.

While Chad irritated me to the point of tears at times, I do have to say that I'll miss him because he added such an unpredictable, weird element to the mix. Between the pocket-sized dog, the bizarre chemistry with his girlfriend, and his social awkwardness, Chad added a certain je ne sais quoi to the mix that will be missed, particularly as he managed to get under the skin of his fellow two real estate agents on a nearly weekly basis.

Josh Altman, who joins returnees Josh Flagg and Madison Hildebrand this season, isn't a Chad manque by any stretch. He's your typical real estate agent who likes to dole out the charm offensive and maintain that he can switch from nice guy to "shark" when needed. So far, I've yet to see any of these agents in shark mode and, from the two episodes provided by Bravo for review, Josh Altman sees to stuck in the nice guy gear, particularly in scenes with his family.

Which isn't to say that there is a lack of drama here, because there is. As in previous seasons, the clients that the guys encounter are often far weirder and more bizarre than you can imagine (unless you live in LA, in which case you encounter people like this on a nearly daily basis) and that holds true here. Josh Flagg co-lists a ghastly McMansion in the Valley that he attempts to unload for his weirdo makeup artist client (Monet) even as he knows that the asking price is staggeringly high. His attempt to lure clients in backfires magnificently.

And scenes for the season promise conflict between newly out Madison and Josh Altman, when the latter becomes involved romantically with Madison's assistant, leading to the much-hyped drunken showdown scene that Bravo seems to be playing on a loop during commercial breaks these days.

While Million Dollar Listing isn't fantastic television by any stretch of the imagination, it does combine the voyeuristic spectator sport of reality television with real estate; the market crash only serves to make things more desperate for this troika of agents, with multi-million dollar homes on the lines. (Though, if you ask me, it still doesn't seem, at least based on what's shown here, that these guys do all that much to earn their hefty commissions.)

Throw in the cheesy music (yes, it's still here during the home detail bits), whiny behavior, and some seriously crazy clients and you have the makings of a genuinely enjoyable reality series about excess in every sense of the word.

Season Four of Million Dollar Listing premieres tonight at 9 pm ET/PT on Bravo.


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