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Clowns, Drag Queens, and Homeless People: Jeff's Fears Loom Large on "Flipping Out"

Throughout its run, Bravo's reality series Flipping Out has always offered some humor along with its drama but last night's episode ("Spirit of the Land") brought the series into a much darker place that hasn't really been seen since the surprising breakup of Jenni's marriage last season.

It was an episode that was filled with hurt feelings, high emotions, and a surprising death and, rather strangely, despite the fact that I was laughing only minutes before, I too was affected by the passing of homeless person Spirit, who lived on the salon property of Jeff Lewis' client Chaz.

We all know that Jeff Lewis doesn't deal well with emotion; his go-to reaction is often sarcasm and humor and that was no different last night. Considering he had suggested that they put Spirit out in the driveway with the trash, Jeff was at first seemingly unaffected by the homeless woman's death. (Did we ever actually learn if Spirit really was a woman or if that was a fiction of Chaz's?) But it soon became clear that he was struck to his core by her passing, as he had done a 180 degree transformation with Chaz and had even suggested improving her living accommodations prior to her death. It wasn't quite in the same outward fashion as Jenni, who burst into tears upon seeing Spirit's things thrown out and her home the site of a memorial candle or two, but it was clear that her death had made Jeff think about his own mortality.

Those feelings in turn also stirred up some unresolved feelings about his friendship with Ryan and he attempted to call his former business partner to try and patch things up. They didn't end up connecting but I do wonder if this has made Jeff change his point of view about Ryan and about breaking off their friendship. Jenni made a point about Spirit dying alone and I think that thought terrifies Jeff beyond belief. In losing Ryan, he clearly lost a component of his family and part of his support system. Can these two patch things up? Only time will tell.

Jeff also had to contend with the bruised feelings of Zoila who turned on house assistant Jett and attempted to put him in his place after she experienced an odd jealousy over Jeff's purchase of a Roomba. It's funny because the way that Zoila's been presented this season makes it appear as though she's not doing as much work as she used to do so I can sympathize with Jeff but I don't think he quite anticipated what sort of reaction the Roomba would engender within Zoila, nor did he expect that she would take Jett's half-in-jest comments (come on, there was some truth to his insinuations) to heart. Zoila might be able to give as good as she gets and stand up to Jeff in a way that no one else can but doesn't mean that she won't eventually crack after one too many snide remarks or haughty demands.

I have to say that Sarah is working out quite well at Jeff Lewis' office; I didn't initially expect her to stick around as long as she has but she's actually blended in quite well and might even offer Jeff some much needed human resources stability. Which worries me about Jenni... after last week's confrontation about her auditions, etc. it seemed as though things were coming to a head between them over her lack of focus on his business. (According to Jeff, anyway.) With Sarah in the mix, it might be time for Jenni to fly the nest as he's in good hands (and I do love her relationship with the oft-missing design intern Trace) or maybe for Jeff to reward the seven and a half years she's worked for him by promoting her. Or giving her a desk of her own, perhaps.

The episode was really nicely edited, with a haunting juxtaposition between Jenni and Jeff's argument over giving homeless people money with the aforementioned death of Spirit, Chaz's "good luck charm" who has lived on the property since 1968. I have to agree with Jeff that well-heeled clients don't want to look out of a bay window while they're paying a fortune to have their hair done and see a homeless person sleeping there but it was clear that Chaz truly believed in the spiritual yarn he spun Jeff about finding Spirit. Part of dealing with clients means having to hold your tongue, Mr. Lewis, even if you think they're in cloud cuckoo land.

But what's really sticking with me after last night's episode are the scenes for next week's season finale, which seem to point towards Jeff wanting to adopt a child. It's a scenario that has me extremely worried and anxious but it's also one that I can't wait to see play out on screen. If only next Tuesday would come sooner!

What did you think of this week's episode? Was Jeff right to try to move Spirit? Is Chaz absolutely bananas? Is there any chance of a reconciliation between Jeff and Ryan? Discuss.

Next week on the season finale of Flipping Out ("Baby Boom"), Jeff takes on a new client in Toluca Woods and attempts to rekindle his friendship with Ryan.

Flipping Out Preview: Lowering Valley Oak:

Flipping Out Preview: Jenni the Surrogate:

Flipping Out Preview: Buena Park is Done:


Zach-Zippyman said…
I think the producers had a legal and moral obligation to get help for Spirit the first time they knew about her. Would they let a defenseless child dangle from a highway overpass until they had filmed it for use in the show?

Spirit's homelessness was no less perilous as borne out by her untimely death.

Dying from dehydration and lack of proper food, clothing and shelter should not have been entertainment for a television audience, it should have been a call to 911 by the first responsible adult who saw her.

Did the profit of the large paycheck from Chaz and Bravo keep Jeff from doing the right thing?

I will make it a point to not patronize Chaz's businesses.
ewench said…
Honestly the whole bathroom thing was grossing me out about Spirit, I can’t believe they showed that dirty toilet paper and yea, if I was paying a lot for hair care I would resent having a wafting urine smell about. I think moving Spirit to his/her own little area with a shower was a great idea and it was kind of Chaz to let him/her stay there.

I don’t think Jeff would get rid of Jenni, in his own words she makes him laugh and that gives her job security (she makes me laugh too when she becomes “Deb” lol).

I don’t know if Ryan and Jeff can reconcile, Ryan seems pretty turned off and Jeff has his trust issues. I also wonder if it’s as much or more Ryans partner Dale that is keeping Jeff out of the family, he seemed less then thrilled when Jeff and Jenni stopped by a couple weeks ago and if your significant other doesn’t like your friend it makes it hard to see them.
Cady said…
Zoila vs. Jett - Sad.

Zoila vs. Roomba - Hilarious!

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