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"This Isn't 'Melrose Place'": Poison, High Heels, and Take Charge Attitude on "Flipping Out"

Is it just me or does Jenni Pulos kick some serious butt?

Jeff Lewis' oft put-upon assistant Jenni doesn't really get the credit she deserves from her meticulous employer, who is far more likely to criticize her endlessly for the slightest error than to praise her for all of the hard work she actually does. That is, when he's not hitting her in the face with a mobile phone headset or dredging up some painful memories of her shifty ex-husband at the drop of a hat.

However, this week's episode of Bravo's addictive reality series Flipping Out ("Jenni 911") had Jenni stepping in to Jeff's shoes for a day (more on that in a bit), allowing both she and Jeff to have a new appreciation for the work that the other does. Could it be that a change in their relationship is on the horizon? Knowing Jeff, probably not. But it's still pretty nice that he recognized Jenni's effort and ability.

The main issue this week on Flipping Out was of course Jeff's alleged poisoning at the hand of Zoila, who did appear to have unwittingly given Jeff food poisoning by feeding him bacon that was, well, several months old. The stomach-churning interlude ended up leaving Jeff doubled over in pain and necessitated him taking a rare day off from work. A day that he spent accusing Zoila in no uncertain terms of trying to kill him with past-their-date pork products.

I honestly believe that Jeff thought that the entire office would grind to a halt with him out of commission, especially given his earlier bad-mouthing of Jenni to new assistant Sarah, a very awkward and uncomfortable conversation that was so completely inappropriate, not to mention just plain myopic.

Fortunately, Jeff does have an ace up his sleeve and he needs to realize that it's Jenni herself. Donning some serious black-rimmed glasses and a head-to-toe black ensemble, Jenni effortlessly stepped into Jeff's shoes, delegating responsibilities to the staff (including little-seen design intern Trace) and heading out to the job sites to keep an eye on the firm's current projects. The way that she dealt with confused contractor Vlad and confronted their newest client about cash (and shut down the job site altogether when it was clear that they weren't going to get paid) proved that she's absorbed a hell of a lot of knowledge and confidence from Jeff and that she can not only get the job done but do it well.

I hope that Jeff watched last night's episode and saw how well that Jenni performed under an immense amount of pressure and that she represented him professionally and authoritatively on the job sites. I understand that he's frustrated with Jenni's situation right now (and probably feels a little sting that she's concentrating more on acting than on his business) and with his financial situation as a whole but he does have a tendency to take things out on Jenni rather than on recognizing her potential, loyalty, and capability.

Jeff should have promoted Jenni a long time ago. And maybe with the addition of new assistant Sarah, he can train someone to become his new right-hand woman. But the fact remains that Jenni has put in seven and a half years of hard work without much reward and Jeff Lewis' office runs smoothly because of her.

For his part, I was impressed that Jeff did compliment Jenni on how well she did and offer her some uncharacteristic praise for her performance at the end of the day. The look of pride (mixed with a little shock, I'm sure) on Jenni's face spoke volumes about their relationship.

Speaking of relationships, next week's episode looks to continue to find cracks in the partnership between Jeff and Ryan, who's been somewhat conspicuously absent from much of the action this season. And likely adding to the stress Jeff is experiencing is the disappearance of his newest client, after he offered to front her the $25,000 necessary to complete the renovation job.

Not good. Not good at all.

Next week on Flipping Out ("Friend or Foe"), Jeff turns to his father for advice after he learns some disturbing information about Ryan.

Flipping Out Preview: Answering Jeff's Prayers:

Flipping Out Preview: Lewd and Obscene:

Flipping Out Preview: No More Energy to Yell:


Piper said…
I was so happy that Jeff FINALLY gave Jenni some praise after being so hard on her. She did a great job at being Jeff for the day. Honestly, I don't know what he'd do without her!

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