Skip to main content

Rising Tempers and Falling Houses: The Season Premiere of Bravo's "Flipping Out"

It's a good day at Jeff Lewis' office.

Longtime readers know that I have an indelible love for the kooky cast of Bravo's addictive and hilarious docusoap Flipping Out, which returned last night after a far-too-long hiatus.

The season opener of Flipping Out ("Beware of Falling Houses") featured a strangely calm Jeff (well, calm for Jeff Lewis, anyway) struggling to stay afloat in the sinking real estate market by taking renovation jobs (rather than his typical speculation-based business) yet continued to expand his entourage to include another assistant (poor, doomed Rachel), clown-haired house assistant Jett, and a design intern Trace, who appears to be a mini-Jeff in the making.

And let's not forget about the aforementioned Zoila, who continues to keep Jeff on his toes with her hysterically haughty put-out attitude and who wants to find a boyfriend for herself... leading her to inadvertently flirt with a married man working on the Valley Oak property. (Meanwhile, Jeff ribbed his maid/non-sexual life partner about her need for hangers and hoarding of pillows.)

Yet this wouldn't be Flipping Out without a major blow-out from Jeff and once again it was directed at oft put-upon executive assistant Jenni, who was ill prepared for the day (she didn't have a crucial phone number with her), leading her to call the contractor at Valley Oak and asking him to look for the contact info among Jeff's belongings. A decision which then turned into a major battle royale between the duo, in which Jeff dragged up the still-biting betrayal of Jenni's now ex-husband Chris.

While Jenni should have had that number in her Blackberry or on her person (we all know how Jeff Lewis feels about precise preparation and his need for absolute privacy), I thought it was absolutely galling that he threw Chris' betrayal in her face almost a year after the incident occurred. As you might recall, Jeff's use of hidden cameras caught Chris in the act of going through Jeff's personal belongings and revealed a side of her husband that Jenni didn't know about... leading to the breakup of their marriage. That Jeff would, a year later, continue to throw this in Jenni's face as she attempts to get her life back on track and re-enter the dating scene after ten years of marriage is not only wrong, it's outright callous.

Now I'm someone who finds Jeff Lewis incredibly funny--his deadpan sense of humor is right up my alley--but even he admits that once he gets to this point in an argument, he "sees red." And that was definitely the case here. Yes, he apologized to Jenni afterward (and I'm amazed that she kept it together as well as she did) but he shouldn't have gone there in the first place. You do need to have a hide as thick as a rhino's in order to work for Jeff.

Which brings us to Rachel, Jeff's longtime friend/new office assistant, a lethal combination that is likely to bring many, many tears in the near future. Jeff is a perfectionist and a demanding boss... and has a tendency to mix friendship and business in a way that's rather like mixing dynamite and matches. Someone is bound to get hurt and I have a feeling that Rachel is not destined to stick around Jeff Lewis' office for long.

However, Jeff seems to have discovered a slight simpatico with his new male design intern Trace (whom he calls "Tracy" and "she"), who might just be as much of a perfectionist and obsessive as Jeff himself. (Witness the iPhone checkers conversation, which resulted in Trace being 15 minutes late to work.) Last season, Chris Kesslar attempted to win Jeff over and be taken under his wing only to encounter resistance from Jeff who wanted to "groom" Chris over several years. However, Trace seems to be fitting in quite nicely in the Lewis menagerie, even sharing Jeff's appetite for dry humor. Could it be that Jeff has found a protege?

All in all, a hilarious episode that points the way toward future plot developments between the cast members and loads of stress ahead for Jeff as he attempts to keep his emotions in check while working for other people. I can't wait to see just how explosive things get over the next few episodes.

Next week on Flipping Out ("Pajamas and Other Games"), Jeff attends a pajama party; new assistant Rachel struggles to keep up with Jeff's numerous and precise demands; Jeff and Ryan's friendship hits a rough patch when Jeff accuses him of not sharing clients.

Car Fight:

Don't Turn Down Booty Calls:

Taco Tuesday in Pyjamas:


So happy to have this show back. I never thought that one of my favorite reality shows would be about an OCD guy who flips houses but I find the antics of Jeff (and his entourage) to be absolutely hilarious and heartbreaking and everything in between.
Asta said…
I couldn't believe that Jeff threw Chris in her face. It was a year ago and Jenni had nothing to do with Chris actions. But Jeff's actions did highlight that Jenni seems to be sticking up for herself more. If Jeff had attacked her a year ago as he did in this episode, Jenni would likely have been driven to tears. I was actually waiting for her to jump out of the car.

I'm curious as to why Jenni only works for Jeff three days a week. Does she have another job or is that as much of him as she can take? ;)
Barbara said…
Asta, I think she only works there three days a week because she "goes on auditions." She is apparently part of the vast wasteland of would-be actors. Although, to be sympathetic, who wouldn't want to hang on to a dream, when reality is Jeff Lewis?
But I agree with Jace, Jeff is the OCD bully we love to hate!

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

BBC Culture: Matthew Weiner: Mad Men’s creator on its final episodes

The creative force behind the period drama talks about where his characters are as his show begins its final episodes. “We left off with everyone’s material needs being met in an extreme way,” says Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner of where we last saw the characters on his critically acclaimed period drama when the show went on hiatus 10 months ago. “Then the issue is, what else is there?” That is the central question with the return to US TV of the AMC hit, one demanding to be answered by both the show’s characters, and its creator whose success is the envy of the television industry. Mad Men has been a defining part of Weiner’s life for the last 15 years. He wrote the pilot script on spec while he was a staff writer on CBS’ Ted Danson sitcom Becker in 1999, using it to land a writing gig on HBO’s The Sopranos in 2002. It would take another five years, filled with multiple rejections, before the first episode of Mad Men would make it on the air. Someone with less determination or vision

Have a Burning Question for Team Darlton, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, or Michael Emerson?

Lost fans: you don't have to make your way to the island via Ajira Airways in order to ask a question of the creative team or the series' stars. Televisionary is taking questions from fans to put to Lost 's executive producers/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and stars Matthew Fox ("Jack Shephard"), Evangeline Lilly ("Kate Austen"), and Michael Emerson ("Benjamin Linus") for a series of on-camera interviews taking place this weekend. If you have a specific question for any of the above producers or actors from Lost , please leave it in the comments section below . I'll be accepting questions until midnight PT tonight and, while I can't promise I'll be able to ask any specific inquiry due to the brevity of these on-camera interviews, I am looking for some insightful and thought-provoking questions to add to the mix. So who knows: your burning question might get asked after all.