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The normal template for this show is, “Look at how crazy Jeff is! He can’t even handle basic social situations! So crazy!” But this week they flip the concept around. Now, the world at large is crazy, and Jeff winds up looking normal by default. He even takes it in stride which, to me, is just as crazy. A whole mess o’ crazy, in fact.
We begin with Jeff on his way to the summit with Christy. Jeff is modeling her dad’s restaurant, Casa Vega, and she’s asked to meet with him alone without explaining why. He’s shitting bricks. Is he about to get fired?
They sit in a darkened back booth. Jeff orders the lobster enchiladas, probably because he thinks this is the last free lunch he’ll ever get at Casa Vega. Christy orders a Caesar salad.
Jeff gets right to brass tacks. He wants to know what’s up. Christy says she’s called this meeting because she’s stressed. And not so much regarding Jeff, but regarding her life in general. She’s pressured to please her dad, pressured to please her kids, pressured to please the dogs, pressured to please whoever the hell else you deal with when you’re a restaurateur/Valley mom. She needs to decompress.
Whew. Jeff’s not in trouble, right?
But hold on a second…Christy is a lifelong LA resident, (I assume), and the only person she can talk to about her personal shit is her interior designer, who’s also constantly being followed by a camera crew? How fucked up is that?
As for Jeff, it’s no big deal. These jobs make you become your clients’ best friends, he explains. Apparently he means that literally.
Then it’s over to a job site. Today we’re in Thousand Oaks for one of the small consultation projects. The homeowners are an older couple named Bob and Barb. Bob’s milquetoast, but Barb more than makes up for it. She’s a former actor and dancer, but this picture pretty much sums it up…
Barb is pretty much like the kookiest of your Grandma’s friends. But then, in LA almost all old ladies are like that. (Source: US Census Bureau 2010 Kookiness Index).
Jeff and Jenni roll with it. When Jenni asks Barb if they have any cats, Barb explains she can’t because she has two pit-bulls. They’re in the other room, drugged up. Jenni seems to know not to ask any further questions.
Jeff’s going over all the details with them, and in a talking-head explains how he just likes Barb and Bob. They’re good people and he wants to take care of them. That’s the scene. Plus this:
This is her reaction to Chris the contractor saying, “I think we should do the cabinets first.” Wa-hoo!
After that we’re back to Valley Oak with Jeff, Sarah, and Trace. Jeff asks Sarah to clear the room so he can have a word with Trace alone, but she clearly wants to eavesdrop, so he lets her stay.
Jeff doesn’t think Trace is committed enough to JLD. It’s that pulled-in-too-many-directions dilemma we had earlier in the season. In addition to the JLD work, Trace is a student with a social life. But he’s also 22, so Jeff just needs more out of him.
Trace tries to insist JLD is a big priority for him, so Jeff explains where he’s coming from. He’s holding a job for Trace for the day he graduates, and he’s giving Trace a 30 percent pay raise.
Bet Sarah feels great about eavesdropping now, eh?
Also, I could do with less of this peaceful conflict resolution. Ugh.
Later at Valley Oak, everyone’s eating lunch, and Jeff asks Sarah and Zoila if they’ve washed their hands. No particular reason why. Everyone has their own individual food containers. He just did.
Then, Jeff starts talking about his coyote problem. There have been sightings in the neighborhood, and he is worried they will come onto the property and kills his pets.
One thing you can do in this situation is sprinkle the perimeter of your property with mountain lion urine. But as we all know, mountain lion urine has to be imported, and that’s getting expensive.
However, Jeff has learned some promising information. Apparently coyotes are affected by any kind of urine, not just the kind they’ve been using. Jeff learned this from a guy who drove him home from the airport. Which is more or less the same as accepting something from Yahoo Answers as gospel.
Jeff looks at Trace and Jett. Are they ready to truly serve Jeff Lewis Designs? Then they all must pee in some plastic containers, then sprinkle it around the property.
He says this with total sincerity and conviction.
Trace is visibly uncomfortable, not so much by the concept of doing it, but because he seems to have some pee issues. Zoila tells Jeff they can’t do it, because it’s illegal to pee outside. She’s got a remarkable knowledge of public urination laws.
But Jeff insists. He, Jett, and Jenni are already discussing the logistics, and soon they have a plan.
He also indicates he knows why Trace is resisting. “Trace sits down when he pees,” Jeff explains. “This would mean he has to stand up. It’s new and uncomfortable, but we’ll train him to do it.”
Don’t think there’s any need to make that funnier, so let’s move on!
Back to Thousand Oaks. This time Jeff is taking Trace along so he can shadow him and learn the ropes. But it’s also specific to Thousand Oaks, too. Trace has personal space issues, like Jeff does, so Jeff figures throwing him into the Barb situation with no forewarning is excellent training. (Which, actually is an awesome idea).
They get over there and Barb immediately treats Trace like a member of the family, which means hugs. Trace goes through with it, but you can tell he’s creeped out. Then Barb takes them into her living room to go over some details, and introduces them to her “dogs”—the ones she mentioned earlier, as though they were real:
“The big one’s name is Peanut Butter, and the little one’s name is Charles Manson’s Uterus”
OK. Let’s break this down…
Is this kooky? Yes. Earlier she said she indicated she has two dangerous pit bulls she has to keep “drugged up.” This is what she was referring to. Then, when Jeff realizes the dogs are actually stuffed, he says, “Oh, I thought you had real dogs.” And Barb says, “These are my real dogs.”
Last time I described Bob and Barb, I skipped over Bob because he seems pretty dull. I wasn’t even going to include a picture of him. I’m gonna do that now:
Sleeping while standing is just one of my many tal-zzzzzzzzzzz
Like…I’m sitting here trying to imagine this man’s life. Based on knowing almost nothing about him…he just seems like someone who held some normal Hollywood crew position, like, post-production supervisor, and that’s how he met Barb. How else do you come to live with a person like her? And how does a Barb pick a Bob? I want to know more! Life’s fucking strange.
From Jeff’s point of view, this is a lesson for Trace. Because if you think about it, to remodel people’s houses means you enter their homes and get all up in their shit. This is what happens.
Later in the car, Jeff and Trace talk about the experience, and Jeff admits he gets as uncomfortable as Trace does. They commiserate. This is the job. Trace is obviously a proto-Jeff, maybe a little less high-strung, but he can grow into that.
Next morning we’re at Valley Oak. In contrast to what Jeff’s having Trace do, here’s Sarah’s assignment: going to Crate & Barrel to get Jeff a new cutting board because the old one warped.
Then Trace comes in. He’s seven minutes late and Jeff calls him on it. They’re having the Monday morning meeting so he needs Trace there early. And he gets pissy with Trace, but overall it’s totally normal business conduct. Let’s move on.
Jeff and Trace head over to the New York Dr. job, aka, The One With The Lesbians. They’re checking in or whatever, it’s not important. Only a couple noteworthy things happening…one is, Jeff and Trace are having the hardwood flooring delivered, but it’s taking forever to unload from the truck, so Jeff and Trace pitch in. Trace makes some passive-aggressive comments about it and is annoying in general. In the talking-head he frames it as doing something unpleasant to appease Jeff—because we all know how “Jeff” Jeff is—but really, Trace, YOU were the asshole here. Sorry.
And the second thing is, we get to know one of the lesbians, Nancy, a little better. She’s one of those people who unnecessarily corrects small details. Jeff tells her and Emily they don’t need to help with the unloading, because of Nancy’s back, and she says under her breath, “And my shoulder. And my knee.”
“It’s ‘going DOWN’ to San Diego, not ‘going UP’! You can’t be going ‘up’ when you’re traveling North-South. Why is my nose bleeding?”
After that it’s back to Valley Oak, and it’s time for some pee-sprinklin’. Trace confides in Jenni he’s feeling uncomfortable about the whole idea. Jenni savors this moment. Finally, someone else is around to do the crappier jobs. But more than that, finally someone else is being exposed to the crazy in full.
I actually think I know exactly how she feels here. Have you ever been in close proximity with someone who’s forcefully nuts? Your own perceptions of reality start to get warped. Trace undoes ten years of that in about thirty seconds.
Outside, Jeff and Zoila get to work…
Then when Jeff hands the container back to Zoila, he accidentally splashes some on her.
She should really leverage this into some serious telenovela time.
Then, it’s time to go to another job site. This is for the house in Northern California, so Jeff, Trace, and Sarah are boarding the owner’s private plane to go there. These homeowners, obviously, are insanely fucking rich, which is a break from Jeff’s normal clientele, who are merely fucking rich.
The show takes a moment to see how everyone feels about flying. Sarah’s phobic but this particular trip isn’t bothering her. Jeff hates flying—not because of flying itself, because of the people he might wind up sitting next. What if his seat-mate is really fat?
My favorite part, though, was his justification for this: “I always like a layer of insulation between me and…people.”
It was funny! That’s what Daniel Plainview says!
They land in Northern California, everything is fine. At this point the pilot tells them it was his first ever landing, which, inexplicably, doesn’t phase the gang at all.
The homeowner, Maria, meets them at the airfield. Maria is pretty reserved around “the help,” and Jeff is no exception.
Then they head over to the N. California House, which I will refer to as The One With A Shitload Of Buildings
The house includes: 7,500 sq. ft, 9 baths, separate gym, separate game room, an outside “loggia,” 200 serfs, and the favor of the Duke.
They also live on a huge orchard…
Are you having fun? I’ve forgotten all about the collapse of our country’s $6.5 trillion mortgage-backed securities market, skyrocketing foreclosure rates, deteriorating affordability conditions, the historic collapse of the Case-Shiller home price index, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Detroit in general. I love a good escape
Jeff gives us a sense of what he’s dealing with. It’s an entirely new construction, and he’s only there to give some guidance and tips for about two hours.
“This is the room made entirely out of pieces from the original cross.”
Or, as Sarah puts it, “I was like, daaaaaamn!”
Maria and her family know they’ll never be able to sell this house because it’s so insane, so they can do whatever the fuck they want. That means Jeff has to custom-fit every last detail. For example, here they are determining where to put the TV for when they’re sitting in the bathtub.
I found out Maria’s husband is a doctor, and he made all his money from treating all the blind babies in Bangladesh. Good for them!
Let’s check back in with Jenni…
Jenni is handling the Thousand Oaks project today. Barb has become obsessed with using dark wood for everything, so Jenni has to gently talk her out of it.
Back up in N. California, the last task of the visit is to figure out where to hang a chandelier. Trace steps up with some good suggestions for the lighting scheme. He’s pitching ideas! Jeff is impressed! And that’s why Jeff is putting so much time into Trace.
Now it’s time to fly back to LA. Unlike the earlier flight, this time they have turbulence and Sarah is spooked. Jeff fucks with her by texting her, “You’re gonna DIE!!!!!” Which he seems pretty proud of in a talking-head. He also says the fright probably made Sarah sweat off six pounds. Which is good, he says, because some of her pants are getting too tight.
Here’s another one of those strange little vignettes Bravo always does at this point of the episode. Jeff isn’t around, so Zoila is takin’ it easy.
Eatin’ some sandwich. Watchin’ some telenovela. Sittin’ on some bed.
They apparently felt the need to interview both Zoila and Jett about this, too. Here are their thoughts, which I am putting on the Internet for the rest of time:
ZOILA: Jeff Lewis not around, so…party time!
JETT: I enjoy when Jeff leaves, but Zoila LOVES when Jeff leaves. It’s like a vacation for her.
We’re back to Valley Oak for the finale. Jeff has discovered another coyote visitation on the garage roof. Trace also says he did some research and learned that human urine doesn’t affect coyotes at all. I looked this up too, and it looks like human urine would actually attract coyotes.
And with that, we fade out!