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December 20, 2014

Flipping Out: Sell Out (season premiere)

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 18th 2008 12:03PM
flipping out(S02E01) I watched the first season of Flipping Out on Bravo last summer based on a teaser I saw during Top Chef 3. The show is about a real estate "flipper" who buys properties, fixes them up and then resells them for a profit. You might say, "Yawn, that's just like a bunch of other shows on TLC, Discovery, et al." Well, yes, that's true.

But Flipping Out isn't really about the flipping, it's about the flipper -- Jeff Lewis. This guy Lewis is not normal. I mean it, he's not. He says he's not. He's obsessive compulsive and it comes out in everything he does. It makes him a better flipper, because of his attention to detail, but it also makes him really hard to take if you're his employee, partner or contractor. But, boy, is it fun to watch Jeff Lewis's life! That's what Flipping Out is really all about and it's back.

Gallery: Flipping out

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The episode began with a nice flashback set up, plunging us right in the middle of Jeff's latest drama. Oh my, somebody on the phone is flipping out on Jeff, yelling, dropping f-bombs and treating him like a lackey. Has Jeff met his match -- and how did he end up in this situation?

Well, as we all know, the real estate market is a disaster. Just watch the evening news and you know that, and it's even worse in the high end LA market in which Jeff Lewis operates. He and his partner Ryan simply can't flip four or five houses like they have in the past, so they are forced to take work as consultants on a big remodeling job. Ryan gets them a gig -- at $25,000 a month -- restoring a historical mansion in Hancock Park. After a year of working with contractors, the place is a mess and Courtney, the owner, expects Ryan and Jeff to get things sorted out. As Jeff puts it, he's the new sheriff in town.

You might think going back to remodeling would be a piece of cake for Jeff. Um, no. The control freak in him can't handle working for Courtney. She wants multiple bids for construction work, she wants choices, she wants things her way. Jeff tries to keep it together. He wants to prove that he can take the classic Dorothy Chandler house and restore it to 1911 standards, and Jeff says he's trying to see things from Courtney's point of view. But ultimately, Jeff's true feelings emerge. He can't work for another person. It's prostitution. He says to Ryan, "Here I am, whoring myself for business."

Ryan, in typical passive mode, just listens to Jeff go on and on. And Jeff's really good at over-dramatizing. As they eat Japanese food, Jeff says he's depressed. "Seriously depressed. I feel like I'm medicated." Ryan tries to placate him, reminding him that they need the business. Jeff counters that Ryan is a whore, too. "You're also Courtney's bitch."

Courtney's characterized as a complete bitch. In one segment, she agrees to Jeff's choices of contractors. A week later, she's screaming at him on the phone -- the opening scene -- and there's a definite disconnect. Jeff is shaking with anger. Jenni knows better than to do anything other than reinforce his feelings. She backs him 100 percent, and if she's to be trusted, and based on what we were shown, Jeff does seem to be in the right on this one. The question is, will Jeff put up with this crap? Will he keep the job or quit?

Other points of interest

  • Jeff is still a maniac about his food. When Zoila makes him breakfast, he questions the bacon. Is it the thick bacon. Then he complains, "The bacon is too crispy."
  • Zoila speaks, but Jeff cannot understand what she's saying, but that's okay because Zoila is like a surrogate mom. He doesn't yell at Zoila -- not yet.
  • What's with Chris Elwood and the iPod earphones? He had them in every shot. Of course, maybe it's the secret to his new success. As Jeff tells us in the voiceover, Chris is doing a better job now than ever before.
  • Chris has been promoted from trash guy to house assistant to house manager. None of the title changes come with an increase in pay. Jeff figures he can just keep giving him new job titles.
  • The new trash guy/house assistant is Chris Keslar. He sees his job as an apprenticeship, wanting to emulate Jeff's success. However, when Chris E. teaches him how to organize the refrigerator -- don't you organize yours? Chris K. blanches. "Really?" Nevertheless, he learns to line up the six French Vanilla Coffee Mates, two half-gallon Tropicana Orange Juices, and six martini olive jars.
  • Ryan and Chloe. When Ryan can't make it to an appointment because he watches Saturday morning cartoons with his daughter, Jeff scoffs. Actually, it's more like jealousy.
  • Jeff and the food continues to be a deal. When he orders a Starbucks, his order includes the temperature of the coffee. "Make it 150 degrees." He can tell if its 140.
  • Jeff and Zoila are living in Commonwealth, one of the houses flipped from last year, and it really turned out beautifully. Jeff may be nuts, but his homes are show pieces. Or Bravo has made sure they are.
What will Jeff do about Hancock Park?
He's going to quit88 (50.9%)
He's going to suck it up and do the job37 (21.4%)
He's going to make peace with Courtney, but his heart isn't in it48 (27.7%)

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Cathi

I think Jeff Lewis is brilliant... I also believe I would make the perfect house manager for him...I'm a stickler for details but I do have a tendancy to be oppinionated and vocal...
Love the show though, it's a wonderful twist on flipping houses.

August 11 2008 at 5:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
shelley

The thing is he is crazy and everyone knows it. However, he has beautiful taste and all his homes are lovely. He has a good eye.

June 18 2008 at 10:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Carole

I got hooked on this show last year. I love it, some of the cast gets on my nerves, but I think that's part of the magic. I highly reccomend this show to anyone who hasn't seen it.

June 18 2008 at 12:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Carole's comment
tumi

I generally think Jeff is a control freak to the point of absurdity and he is often abusive, but he is totally right about Courtney.

At first Jeff was impressed with what she knew about construction, but a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. She obviously has no ability to make a decision, let alone manage a renovation of an important historic building. The fact that she has accomplished nothing in a year speaks volumes. She is also totally paranoid that everyone is out to cheat her, so I'm sure everyone who has ever worked for her has been accused of it.

Supposedly she hired Jeff for his expertise, contacts and ability to finish a job, but then she second-guesses his every decision. Jeff should never had told her that since she's the boss, he would hire whoever she wants. He was not hired to be her lackey. HE is the expert, NOT HER.

Jeff, you were so right - this woman woman will ruin your reputation. It's soooo not worth it.

June 18 2008 at 5:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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