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"Bonjour, Chez Lui": Secrets and Lies Lead to Jeff "Flipping Out"

I was on the edge of my seat last night. I wasn't watching Damages, Lost, or any of the haute-tension dramas that seem to fill up my TiVo in recent years but rather the series that is keeping me entertained all summer long: Bravo's Flipping Out.

Last night's episode of Flipping Out ("Closer Inspection") had all of the elements of great television drama: mystery (who did crack the shower's glass panel at Valley Oak?), suspense (would Jeff catch his employees goofing off by using his nanny cam?), guilt (would Jeff crack under the strain of concealing from his staff/friends that he was secretly videotaping them?), denial (ahem, Jenni), and a soup├žon of humor in the form of Chris Elwood, who may have very well damned himself by answering interior designer Zenzi's call by saying "Bonjour, chez lui," rather than the ascribed telephone greeting.

That Chris would answer the phone without knowing who it was in that fashion was shocking to me and I'm not Jeff Lewis. That he would do so on camera (the ones filming the series, I mean) and then swear on the lives of everyone he holds dear was shocking. And then to be caught on the hidden nanny camera on top of it is even far worse for him, especially as it gave paranoid Jeff Lewis even more ammunition to scour the hours of footage he had amassed looking for other wrongdoing. And he found it: Chris using the forbidden laptop, Chris texting, Chris reading, and--worst of all--Chris seemingly going through his personal files.

I'd be surprised if Chris makes it through another week of employment at Jeff Lewis' office, good day there or not.

I feel most bad for Jenni, who goes to the mattresses to defend her husband and who often finds herself in the unenviable position of being caughter between her employer (who is also her landlord) and her husband, who--let's face it--isn't the most ambitious or driven of workers. The "chez lui" incident now makes her look like a dupe and a patsy; she defends her husband to Jeff, swearing that he would never dishonor Jeff or take advantage of him, unaware that there is secret footage (and not-so-secret series footage) showing him doing just that.

Jeff, of course, has found himself in a bit of a Catch-22. He set up the camera in an effort to see if his staffers were doing their jobs but felt guilty keeping this a secret from Jenni, who--if we're being honest--really is his right hand/nursemaid/best friend. In order to confront Chris Elwood about what happened, he'll have to come clean about the secret filming and likely Jenni will feel that this was not only an invasion of their privacy but the ultimate betrayal of a man who claims to be their friend. So, yes, Jenni, something does smell "funky dunky" in Lewisland.

Me, I'm more intrigued by the scenes for next week's episode, in which we see a hysterical Jenni saying that she just wants "him" to get help. After seeing last night's installment, I'm still not sure whether she's talking about Jeff or Chris, but the shot of her sobbing in the car was enough to make me crumble a bit inside. (As was her terse blog entry on the subject of the nanny cam at BravoTv.Com.)

Sure, Jeff suffers from OCD and, hells yes, he's completely paranoid (just look at how his mind leapt to his "enemies" when faced with the cracked shower glass rather than blaming it on an accident) and Chris has always been a slacker, but I never for a moment thought he was a liar. So then, is Jenni looking to get help for her boss (who in this case is right to be furious) or her husband ("The Elwood Who Cried Wolf")? I can't wait to see.

Next week on Flipping Out ("Tear Down"), Jeff is forced to decide if this is the end of the road for Chris Elwood, after giving him so many chances in the past. Will Chris be permanently banished from Commonwealth? Find out next week.


Jeff can't have been that surprised that Chris was slacking off. But going through his files? That was unexpected. And Chris' total denial about the "Chez Lui" incident was just dumb. Even if it wasn't caught on camera why would Zenzi lie to Jeff about how Chris answered the phone?

But the person that I truly feel bad for is Jenni. Being caught between her husband and employer? Who is also her landlord? Not good. I can't think of a more unhealthy working situation!
Asta said…
Chris surfing the internet, reading, and texting while he should have been working weren't surprising incidents. I see it at my office every day. But if you are answering business calls, you must use proper phone etiquette and going through Jeff's papers was a gross violation of his privacy. I fully support Jeff firing Chris.

I thought Ryan, often the voice of reason, made a very good point. Jeff's employees are also his closest friends and that makes things very complicated when dealing with a problem employee.

You didn't mention the humor from last night's episode, but Jeff's reaction to the doggy DNA test results had me laughing out loud.
Anonymous said…
How much of the show is more a matter of the producers egging everyone on and the joke is on us, the viewers?

I loathe Jeff. He is an egomaniac and to tape his employees is repugnant. Not to tell Jenni, his supposed "best friend" is a betrayal. He lets Jenni talk up her husband even though he knows that he is setting her up. What a creep.

Screw him--and the show. I hated watching last week's episode. I really do wonder if it's all a con job and we're all eating it with a spoon.
Anonymous said…
I agree with the anonymous post above, the whole camera thing was wrong and the only way for Jeff to put things right is to forgive Chris.

Chris does have an above average personality and he is one of the reasons I watch the show, Jeff... not so much.
Anonymous said…
The lying thing didn't bother me too much. Lying to Jenni was not right, but not the end of the world. But if the only thing that Jeff has in that closet is personal files that have things like tax information, then that is bad news. Especially when someone employs you, your wife, and is your landlord, it's just not smart to go messing with their things no matter how curious or bored you are.
But I think Chris with the lying was really just doing what it seems like he has done time and time before when he got into trouble, denied until no one really cared anymore.

I fear Chris is out, but then the whole Jeff Lewis establishment (and the show) will crumble.

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