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Battle Royale: Jeff Versus Ryan on "Flipping Out"

It had to happen, really.

The tension between Jeff Lewis and sometimes business partner Ryan Brown has been building all season long and things got more than a little heated on last night's episode of Bravo's addictive reality series Flipping Out ("Irreconcilable Differences"), in which Jeff confronted Ryan about his allegedly "shady" business dealings.

The confrontation, which went down in the final minutes of the episode, followed an hour where Jeff pulled some rather telling passive-aggressive maneuvers towards Ryan, disregarding his father's advice to cut the cord between the two but also not quite giving Ryan the opportunity to defend himself against Jeff's silent accusations.

Who is at fault? It's really difficult say. Obviously, Flipping Out follows Jeff Lewis around on a daily basis and not Ryan Brown, so it's easy to side with Jeff because it's his perspective that we're seeing here. But let's look at the supposed evidence.

So far, the most damning pieces of evidence against Ryan are those sponsored links to Brown Design on Google. Regardless of whether Ryan can say that he's just being a "smart businessman," there's something underhanded about sponsoring links to your design firm to pop up when people are searching for Jeff Lewis.

Is it smart? Sure, it's diabolically clever but it's also toeing a very narrow ethical line between acceptable and shady behavior because it's quite possibly--or probably--taking business away from Jeff. Ryan claimed that he doesn't say that it's not Jeff Lewis' office that callers have reached because it isn't. But people searching for Jeff Lewis who stumble onto the Brown Design site might call thinking the calls would get to Jeff. Or, assume so anyway, just as Ryan assumes that he needn't ask people who they are looking for.

And then there's Santa Barbara. Ryan is debating whether or not to move north and open up a second office as he's flooded with business from Santa Barbara, a fact that has Jeff very suspicious, coming on the heels as it does of the magazine layout featuring Jeff's house at Valley Oak... which contains barely any mention of Jeff's role in the design of the place.

The confrontation itself was painful to watch. Jeff might talk a big talk about being tough as nails but the guy is sensitive underneath his hard exterior and it was clear to see just how much hurt and anguish he was experiencing bringing up these difficult topics. Old wounds hurt the most, after all.

It's impossible to say right now who is telling the truth. Ryan makes a point about Jeff cutting him out of his life altogether if he doesn't believe him, which I think he meant as a sincere expression of his honesty and loyalty but which Jeff interprets as a sign of guilt. As for how they left things, it's not good, to be honest. Ryan storms out of the house, Jeff is tearing up and this friendship and business partnership may have been ripped asunder forever. Trust is, after all, a very fluid, funny thing. Once it's gone, all bets are off.

Whose side are you on in this conflict? Is Jeff right to be suspicious about Ryan or is he just being paranoid? Discuss.

Next week on Flipping Out ("Pledging Allegiance"), Jeff faces setbacks with his Buena Park contractor while Ryan makes commitments.

Flipping Out Preview: Money In, More Money Out:

Flipping Out Preview: Jenni's Alter-Ego:

Flipping Out Preview: In Bed with Vlad:


vivian said…
I think Ryan has done a few questionable things but don't believe that he's purposefully trying to hurt Jeff. I think Jeff is having a really hard time in this economy and is feeling somewhat jealous of Ryan's new success. I think it might be good for the two of them to go their separate ways and, hopefully, with the business part out of the way, they can patch up their friendship somewhere down the line.
HoneyB said…
The Ryan thing is kind of sad but, honestly, I was more annoyed by those stupid "Skytop" people. Seriously! How do they have so much money when they never seem to do anything (except whine and complain)! They obviously want Jeff around full time, not realizing that he has several other projects. Why would he spend all of his time with you when all you're having done are your stupid sprinklers and outside lights. So stupid. Get a life, people.
Asta said…
Jeff made one telling comment when he said he knows Ryan worries about not having money. I don't know Ryan's background, but if he grew up with very little, I can see having a fear of losing what he has now, especially with a child dependent on you for support. While not excusing some of his questionable behavior, I can understand why Ryan is being so, lets say, aggressive in his business dealing. I'm not sure he's consciously trying to steal work from Jeff, but he can likely rationalize that Jeff could be getting work if he was trying harder - like returning phone calls right away.

At the same time, Jeff is clearly jealous of Ryan's financial success and growing business. Ryan didn't pigeon hole himself and when the economy and real estate market tanked he had other means to make money. Now he's flourishing while Jeff is just doing OK. If Jeff was still flipping houses and making as much money as Ryan, I doubt any of this would have come boiling to the surface, even though I do feel Jeff was in the right in regards to the web shenanigans and the magazine article.
Anonymous said…
I find it hard to give Jeff much credit because he's so suspicious that everyone is out to get him. The assistant he fired for daring to talk to Chaz at the hair salon was over-the-top. Even asssuming the assistant was wrong, but Jeff totally went off kilter on that like this assistant was going to destroy the entire Jeff Lewis enterprise. So, when he goes after Ryan like this, I take a lot of what he says with a grain of salt. It's sad that he's so insecure that he feels like everyone is out to get him.

As for the Skytop people, I think they're fabulous. When Jeff was asking "who would go around and look at each light that was installed looking for trash?" after being presented with the tray of trash, the answer is really clear: Jeff would. Or at the very least he'd have his assistant do it. It's great to see him have to deal with people as passive-aggressive, nitpicky, and demanding as he is.
Unknown said…
As for anyone who says The Sherwood’s just wanted 15minutes. Forget it. Brad Sherwood is a very successful improviser, and has apparently done well for himself. The Skytop property Jeff speaks of is now on the market for 3.5 million. (Google it for yourself) And apparently they own another home in Hollywood, in the Millions as well. Doesn’t look to me, that they hired Jeff to be on his show, or any money issue. It looks like they hired what Jeff has been portraying himself to be on TV, an excellent house designer. Looks like Jeff lost out on a great business deal with them because he got in his own way and couldn’t handle the Sherwood’s simple needs. Jeff is a talented man; I’ll give him that. But Stop sabotaging yourself Jeff!

It seems to me that Jeff and the show is always one-sided. They never just let a scene run. They always interrupt every moment with Jeff and Jenni commentaries. Jeff’s mistakes are all his own. Every time that the Sherwood’s (skytop) mentioned something (that they had hired Jeff for) Jeff got upset that they wanted it done right. Seana was right to say to Jeff, “Looks like you met your match”! I see just how transparent Jeff is now.

Why is it that the Sherwood’s are considered “high maintenance” for wanting Jeff to do his JOB? And why is it that they have “to much time on their hands” to walk all over their property picking up chocking hazards (re: puppy on property) that Jeff’s workers left?

Lighting… Jeff had a fit over lighting? No wonder the Sherwood’s didn’t proceed. Anyone who knows Brad on TV, knows how funny he is. The wire flower was hilarious! Jeff wanted Brad to look bad because Jeff couldn’t hold his own with his “Million dollar clients” that were asking for Jeff to do “excellent” work, the same thing Jeff asks of his people! And how, and why, did any of us fall for the BS commentaries given by evil Jeff & Jenni?

And rumor has it, that Jeff and Jenni pulled a fast one over on the Sherwood’s to get them on the show, only to then try and make them look bad in the commentaries, after they all “broke-up”… Shady hypocrisy!
Unknown said…
Jeff might make some mistakes,but I like him! He'd be a blast to work for... always a challenge but fun! I think, that under his seriousness, is a nice guy. People can bash him, but we all have bad days and ... for those of you claiming insecurities... maybe, but we all get those. If we help someone out, we look for thanks and not to be a step on their ladder...
Anonymous said…
I hate to say it, but I think that Ryan's actions are questionable at best. He is guilty, and I think that it is all too easy for him to blame jeff's suspicions on his paranoia. I just watched the Flipping Out reunion show, and you can tell by Ryan's behavior and mannerisms that he is guilty. He is caught, and he should just admit it. Unfortunately, I don't think that will ever happen. I used to have a high opinion of him, and unfortunately that has changed. Say what you will about Jeff Lewis, but he is an honest, (painfully so at times), person.
Unknown said…
Linda is clearly Seana Sherwood. She has posted on other blogs this same exact thing and under different names and someone called her out for posting under 3 different names on one blog in support of herself from the same IP address. It is so funny because if she was really trying to just get the truth out there why is she posting as someone else and not being truthful that it is her and her husband she is speaking so highly of?
I don't really understand what her problem is either because I didn't think the sow made them look that bad. Yes it didn't work out and Jeff was disappointed but I don't remember him bashing her and most of the things he said were said in typical Jeff Lewis style. He just has a sarcastic dry sense of humor. I think the worst they pretty much said about them was that they were indecisive and just as anal as he is. I don't why this would be so offensive when he makes fun of himself for these things all the time.
Seana and Brad we all know Jeff Lewis is anal, that he's a pain in the ass and that he most likely takes some getting used to but you knew this! This is who he is that is part of his charm he knows he is all these things and a lot of what he says and does is very tongue in cheek. He just seems like a guy that likes to have fun and mess around. It's not for everyone but a lot of us like it. I don't think he misrepresents the fact that he is difficult but you do misrepresent your true identity so I find that odd.
Unknown said…
I am a huge fan of the show and in all reality you guys were just another customer or someone who maybe didn't mesh with him and probably did waste a lot of his time. It did come off like you wanted more to be on the show and hang out with Jeff and have fun with him then actually get down to business.

The more you post all of these comments under other names and on different boards etc. the more it seems like I am right about that. You honestly were barely a blip on the radar of the show so you are drumming up things that no one is thinking about you. I will say this don't worry about what people are thinking about you because they probably aren't thinking about you at all.
Has this really harmed you? Ruined your jobs etc.? Have you lost friends or family? I doubt it so if not who cares why do you need to go around and try to defame him.
You are right Brad's career speaks for itself so let it speak for itself. I believe you when you say you did not do this for the money and yes Brad has been on T.V. all on his own but it has been quite a while since he has been on anything regularly and we all know that reality T.V. is the newest and best way for a fading star to revive their career so your argument there is not very valid. Actors will by nature seek out as much publicity, camera time etc. and I wonder if you guys were actually hoping that this might lead to your own reality show. A lot of what you guys did seemed contrived and like you were trying to show the audience that you guys are just kooky enough to get your own show, well you're not. You guys are actually kinda boring and don't have the charm Jeff Lewis and crew bring. You had ten months of interaction with him, I'm assuming a lot of it on camera and you guys just weren't seen as interesting enough. Don't feel bad Jeff was actually discovered when Jenni and Chris E were trying to pitch a reality show that didn't get picked up. They saw Jeff and figured he was more interesting and his interaction with Jenni was better than the interaction between her and Chris and I think they made the right call. Chris and Jenni would not have made an exciting show at all and neither would you guys. Most of us wouldn't it is what it is get over it.
As far as the flower thing being "hilarious" I do think that is a but of a stretch. Was it mildly amusing and a little cute in a Jeff Lewis anal retentive way? Yea I'll give you that but if either one of you think that was hilarious I think your hubby has lost his sense of humor that he is known for to begin with.
Lighten up it's not that bad you got a little T.V. exposure maybe reignited a little interest in Brad so in the long run you most likely gained more than you lost (which is nothing BTW)
Jeff said it was a learning experience and has nice things to say about you so get over it. The more you go on all these boards post the same thing under different names and don't reveal the truth about your true identity the worse you look and the better you make him look.
Don't bad mouth someone who is not bad mouthing you and in fact don't bad mouth someone that is. Who gains in those situations? No one. I say you forgive and forget and move on I think Jeff actually seems to still like you guys as people but not as clients and that is fine. I have many best friends I love but would never work with or work for so just chalk it up to that kind of thing move on and be happy.
If what you write is true and you guys are doing well etc etc then why do you care? You shouldn't it's such a tiny blip on the radar of life. Best of luck to you guys and really stop writing these things you are making yourself look worse than the show did.
Let go of the control!

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