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Holy Guacamole: Chris and Jeff Reach an Impasse on "Flipping Out"

I can't believe Chris Keslar left. After all the complaining and half-sobbing and trying to get Ryan to notice his skills, I had figured that Chris was at least sticking around to the season finale of Flipping Out this season. But, alas. The one-time house assistant for Jeff Lewis lasted a measly three months before quitting after an incident involving forgotten guacamole.

This week's episode of Flipping Out ("Tapped Out") showed Jeff in a pretty precarious position, as he's forced once again to contend with client-from-hell Courtney, deal with the loss of yet another employee (seriously, he's lost Steven Bowman, Chris Elwood, and Chris Keslar in just the span of a few months), attempts to sell Commonwealth in order to raise some cash, and loses his battle to control his anger after Jenni makes a pretty big mistake that could potentially cost him $30,000 (though one, it should be noted, that is quickly corrected).

One has the sense from watching this week that the walls are closing in on Jeff Lewis. Despite losing most of his staff , Jeff continues to soldier on but it's clear that the stress of his situation is definitely getting to him. I wasn't surprised at all by the fact that Courtney and her husband were once again looking to get rid of Jeff and Ryan from their massive renovation project in Hancock Park; these people clearly haven't been able to get the job done in the past because of their indecisiveness and suspicions and this time is no different. Jeff and Ryan, however, do make a preemptive strike and cut their ties with Courtney in a controlled, restrained fashion... something you rarely ever get to say about Jeff Lewis.

As for Chris Keslar, I don't blame him for leaving. It was abundantly clear that this wasn't a position that was going to lead him anywhere, despite what Jeff kept saying about "grooming" him to take on bigger and better things. Was three months a long time? No, it wasn't and I don't think that any employer would have promoted Chris to designer status in that time period. However, I do think that he's right that the house assistant position is a dead-end gig and sometimes you do have to take a stand and leave when you can't see any future advancement possible. After all, Jeff isn't Ryan; the differences in leadership style between them are crystal clear as Ryan promotes his assistants, encourages them to pursue opportunities, and strives to create a professional, creative environment.

Jeff, for all of his OCD and to-do lists, really does thrive on chaos, the chaos created by a boundary-less environment in which he metes out punishment like a mythical god. I understand that from time to time it's necessary to discipline your employees but the punishment should match the crime, as it were. Forcing Chris to break into a neighbor's yard, trespass, and steal four avocados so Zoila can make guacamole because he forgot to pick some up for their lunch seems like madness. If anything, Jeff should have just forced Chris to actually MAKE the guacamole. That would have shown him. (Ha!)

Chris has written a wonderful account of his "rollercoaster"-like time at Jeff Lewis' office over at BravoTV.com, which you should definitely check out. My favorite bit:

"In the end, I never did drink. And I never did take that bus! Or pick those avocados! But I grew as a person and learned a lot about myself -- my strengths and weaknesses as a person and as an employee.

And I laughed a lot.

And, yes, I even cried a little.

In short, I lived."

Meanwhile, it was great to see Jenni seem more like her old self again, able to crack jokes, put Jeff in his place (i.e., when he kept interrupting her call to tell her to cut Jesse off ), and basically keep him as calm and sane as possible. Of course, that went out the window when she inadvertently sent that list of furniture to realtor Carrie, but she's been through a lot so the woman is bound to make a few mistakes here and there. I still think she is a saint for putting up with Jeff and I really don't know what he would do if Jenni were to leave him right now. Probably have a complete mental breakdown. Hell, he even seemed shaken when Chris Keslar quit, despite the problems they were having.

And what did you think of Jeff telling client Lorrie that she had to return that playhouse she had bought for her kids, when she kept complaining that they didn't have enough money to finish the house? Or Zoila's attempt to drive Jeff's new Mercedes? Discuss.

Next week on the season finale of Flipping Out ("Back in the Market"), Jeff refuses to be a "doormat" anymore and comes down hard on his crew whilst finding himself looking for a new place to live, with a deal on Commonwealth looking likely to close.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I couldn't believe that Laurie bought that stupid playhouse. If she wanted the playhouse, fine. But then she shouldn't whine about not having crown molding, etc. when Jeff says it's not in the budget. And I love how she justified the purchase by saying that at least she didn't get the $1,300 one? Wow.
I'm glad that Chris Keslar escaped. Should he have expected a promotion after 3 months? No. But it was pretty obvious that, even after 3 years, he would still be house manger as Jeff isn't really known for giving promotions.

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