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October 25, 2014

'Flipping Out' - 'Hot Streak, Lots of Baggage' (Season Premiere) Recap

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 11th 2010 1:15AM
Jeff_Lewis_Jeni_Flipping_out_Bravo_2010(S04E01) When Jeff Lewis referred to the changes in his business early on in the season premiere of 'Flipping Out,' for a while there it seemed like it was all for the better.

After all, the Ryan Brown smoke screen had been lifted -- a Google search snafu that resulted in business never reaching Jeff because it was diverted to Ryan -- and the job offers were up four times what they'd been before. But enough about the work, what about the baby in the office?

Well, it wasn't Jenni and Jeff's. That much hadn't changed. No, it was Jett's. Between the baby -- an occasional visitor -- and the unruly dogs and willful cats, the Jeff Lewis office was more a variation on last season than a real change.

You could say the same about Jeff Lewis. Instead of being happy about all the new opportunities, the perfectionist in him continued to drive the mere mortals on his staff to distraction.

Only Jeff could be personal and sweet while inquiring about Jenni's new boyfriend, a nice Greek fellow named Jonathan of whom her mother approved, then chew her out for leaving a phone number off a client list. Jeff was looking for an apology, but Jenni felt that mistakes happen.

Their fight lingered, with Jeff suggesting in front of another client that Jenni didn't get it. "It seems like you don't care." After nine years of Jenni putting up with a world of criticism from Jeff, including some rough stuff, like the time Jeff nanny-cammed Jenni's then-husband Chris to prove he was using Jeff's computer (which contributed to their divorce), Jeff still treated Jenni like baggage.

What the new season shows is that it takes a tough shell to work in the Jeff Lewis environment. It's getting tougher too because the business is busier than ever. Remember those convivial lunches with the staff when Jeff would chastise an assistant for bringing a meal that didn't exclude the onions from his burger, and then he'd tease Zoila for the amusement of the team? They're gone. Lunch now is McDonald's in the car on the way to a site. Yum.

In place of the free lunches, Jeff created the evening happy hour -- but you have to work till eight or nine to enjoy it. Even that had to be to Jeff's specifications. Jett took orders for cocktails and had to follow Jeff's recipes for martinis with goat cheese filled olives. At least Jeff was satisfied, calling Jett the best house assistant ever ... so far.

It seems like the increased work load could be souring Jeff, even though the root of his fight with Ryan had been all about the business. "I thought I worked hard before ..." Jeff said, complaining that he was no longer fun. There were no more movies, no vacations.

And around the Valley Oak house, Jeff was still a pain in the ass. He wasn't happy with the staff, because he's an impossible taskmaster. "Who's worth keeping and who's not?" That will be the question of the season as the Sword of Damocles appears to be over everyone's head.

I think if there's one person who's ready to bolt, it's Zoila. Zoila has the "lazy gene" according to Jeff. Fortunately, the housekeeper takes the brunt of Jeff's criticism in stride, even when asked to train the dogs and clean up the cat poop in the bathtub. But couldn't Jeff just once let the woman have some time to herself? She had to lie about getting a bikini wax just to get out of the house! At least he wasn't around when she was watching her telenovela.

Regarding the projects Jeff's lined up, the Casa Vega restaurant renovation was very intriguing. It's Jeff's first restaurant and the look of the place is very dated. It needs a modernization that respects the place's tradition.

Summit Ridge is a Beverly Hills mansion in which Jeff wants to make every room amazing. Jeff actually feels for the owner who was ripped off by a lame contractor who nearly destroyed the bones of the house.

Then there's the New York Drive remodel, which pits Jeff versus two very strong women, Nancy and Emily. Both were very hands on, maybe too involved, for Jeff. "You just don't want to push a lesbian too far. I love the lesbians, but they could lay me out."

If the point of the season premiere is to lay out the course for the weeks ahead and tantalize viewers, 'Flipping Out' delivered the goods. Just wondering who will be fired or if Jeff will flip out before the evening happy hour, is compelling reality TV. Just as long as he doesn't flip out on me.

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