This week we start on Jeff and Sarah. Last week Jeff was starting to think about getting rid of one of the employees, and even though he made this very clear to everyone, Sarah’s practically begging for it to be her.
They’re in the car, getting ready to leave Valley Oak and start their day, but Sarah has forgotten the address, and she has to run back inside to print it out. When she returns, Jeff, in a calm and even tone, reminds her that a good assistant should always have details like addresses taken care of. He extrapolates and tells her that that means she isn’t a good assistant, and that she needs to be ten steps ahead of him instead of twenty behind, but that’s the scene, basically.
So he didn’t go nuclear. I’d even say he went easy on her. Because you know what? Sarah is a terrible assistant. Details are literally her entire job, and she’s been working for him for a YEAR.
But then, in private, Jeff reiterates why he doesn’t just fire Sarah–she’s technically family. He “was told” he could never fire her. Doesn’t that blow? I’m guessing either he made a huge mistake in hiring her, or he got boxed into it. Either way, he’s stuck with her. He’s been rationalizing that he’s “training” Sarah to be a better assistant, but I’m guessing that’s just his way of saying he’s trying to turn chicken shit into chicken salad.
There are some good lessons to take from this: A) Don’t hire someone you can’t fire. B) Try REALLY hard not to work with family members.
Next Jeff and Sarah meet up with Jenni at Cole, the hair salon he’s been renovating forever. Jeff and Chaz, the owner, are thinking about what the view would like if they installed a window in one of the walls. On the other side of that wall is a narrow ledge with a ten-foot drop. Without any prompting, Jenni decides to show everyone what the view would look like. She climbs out onto the ledge herself and starts prying out boards.
But…I guess Chaz wasn’t really thinking, because he starts kicking the boards out on his side and nearly knocks her off.
Not really though. That blurry triangle is Chaz’s foot. She doesn’t even get knocked backward. She needs to grow a pair.
Or Chaz just really wanted to bust some walls. It is fun to tear a building apart.
After that we’re over to the Casa Vega remodeling project. Today’s a big day for Jeff because it’s the first time Jeff is meeting the head honcho, Mr. Vega. He’s feeling some pressure. Can’t say anything inappropriate, can’t drink. Or, he shouldn’t drink.
The lunch goes pretty smoothly. They discuss the nuts-and-bolts of the project along with the broader goals. Mr. Vega reinforces that he just wants things done right. The restaurant’s been around forever, and it has a ton of history, so Mr. Vega is nervous about changing anything. None-too-subtly, he points out the table they’re sitting at was Cary Grant’s favorite.
But Mr. Vega was also shamelessly flirting with Sarah in that way that some old men can make endearing, but most make creepy.
At least Sarah’s bringing something to the table
After lunch, Sarah and Jeff are in the car, and she continues to make his life difficult. Let’s see…in quick succession, she forgot to write down a question Jeff meant to ask his doctor, she failed to write down a reminder to call a supplier, and she failed to get that supplier’s phone number anyway.
Once again, Jeff explains how these are all things she needs to be on top of, but by now he’s pretty much seething, and he revises his expectations down to her being only one step ahead of him, because ten was a pipe dream. Serenity now!
Now Jeff and Jenni at a door supplier with Christy. Jenni’s wearing a super form-fitting outfit in an overt attempt to showcase the goods after her post-divorce weight loss. Jeff says it’s so tight he can see her ovaries. His discomfort is palpable.
He really needs a dress code. Or at least a don’t-let-your-vagina-be-visible-through-your-pants code
They’re at a door supplier so they can pick out Casa Vega’s new front entrance. The three of them go through all the options in painstaking detail with the door guy, and when they pick one out the go to his office to put down a deposit. Jenni jokes she wore the tight outfit specifically so they’d get the designer discount. The door guy is also very uncomfortable.
Outside, Jeff and Jenni agree to meet up with Christy at the restaurant. In the car, Jeff and Jenni talk about how awesome working for a restaurant is, because they’re getting so much free food.
At the restaurant, Christy admits how she’s feeling really nervous about the renovations, because she doesn’t want to let down her dad, making her the Bizarro Sarah for actually wanting her family’s approval.
Then Jenni excuses herself to go to the bathroom. While she’s gone, Jeff asks Christy what she thinks about Jenni’s outfit, and Christy agrees, it’s a miss. But what I really liked was this B-roll shot of Jenni walking to the bathroom:
“Hey, Jenni, can we get you to walk back to the bathroom again? We need a pickup of your outfit to insert over Jeff and Christy talking shit about it.”
Ah, the life of a reality-show producer.
Then we head back to Valley Oak for another scene of Sarah fucking something up and Jeff having to tell her how to be an assistant. I enjoyed her justification in the talking-head. Which is to say, she can’t justify it at all: “I do really well working for Jeff…unless I forget things…which comes from not writing things down…”
This part of the episode starts with a short scene at Cole. Jeff has already ripped out all the walls except for one, which has a mural painted on it, and Chaz doesn’t want it destroyed because of the sentimental value. Jeff’s been working on Cole for so long that by they know each other really well, so Jeff skips the bullshit and lays out how this will go—Chaz will drag his feet until he eventually sees Jeff is right, then he’ll give in and the mural will be ripped out. Which will cost him more than just ripping it out now. So Chaz gives in. Go Jeff!
Then it’s back to Valley Oak. Jeff is making Sarah wear a smock for the day because she accidentally took his credit car home with her last night. For the fourth time. The smock is his shame device, but it’s actually backfired because Sarah just thinks the smock is funny. He thinks he needs another way to shame her.
Damn it, foiled me again!
Sarah and Jeff head over to Citrus, a five-unit property he co-owns. Property management isn’t the kind of thing Jeff needs to be worrying about on a daily basis, and he hopes Sarah will eventually take over the small-time projects like this, but she doesn’t seem to be picking up on that.
As they’re going through the property, they come upon a little disaster. One of the tenants went away for a week and didn’t leave the cats with anyone, so now the litter box overflowing with cat shit:
Every recap this season will feature pictures of cat shit. Whether it’s from the episode or not. This is my pledge.
Oh, also, forgot this: they’re cleaned up because they didn’t want any cat urine to get on the wood floors. Apparently you can’t get cat piss out of wood flooring. Those of you who grew up with cats and wood floors would know that, but I didn’t so I learned something.
While this is going down, they suddenly cut back to Valley Oak, where Jett, Zoila, and Trace are having lunch. Zoila suddenly realizes no one is talking and get uncomfortable, so she blurts out how boring everyone is and she misses Jeff.
They had another one of these scenes last week, of what goes on at Valley Oak when Jeff isn’t around. NOTHING goes on. They’re just these dull little portraits of ennui. I know Bravo is doing this to fill out the hour, but I feel like these scenes make show a little bit weirder, in like an Eraserhead kind of way.
Back at Citrus, Jeff is hosing out the litter box as Sarah goes upstairs to find a broom. When she gets there, she realizes she left the door open and the cats have gotten out. Immediately she goes and tells Jeff. She probably should have just looked around a little first, because she finds them shortly later, still in the building. It felt like a non-event. More Bravo padding. Let’s move on.
We’re back to Valley Oak, where there’s just enough time left in the workday for Sarah to piss off Jeff once more. Jeff discovers they’re getting charged for a restocking fee he doesn’t think they should have to pay. It’s the kind of thing Jeff believes Sarah should have spotted herself. It’s an example of not taking initiative, and he tells her this is why she’s not a project manager.
It’s not that she’ll never be a project manager, she just doesn’t have enough experience to spot things like this yet. In a talking-head, she gives her take on it: “Just another drama-day at the office!”
Bravo does something strange with their fourth acts on this show. I didn’t include last week’s, the fourth act only consists of a short throwaway scene. Here, Zoila forgot to brush Jeff’s cat Monkey, so he reminds her. Why do a throwaway in the middle of an episode? Bizarre.
It was pretty funny when he deliberately told her the wrong way to pronounce “brush” when in fact she was saying it correctly. It’s “broosh,” not “brush,” Zoila.
Jeff and Sarah are about to head over to Casa Vega again, but Jeff is reconsidering accepting yet another free lunch, because he doesn’t want them to look like freeloaders for happening to stop by Casa Vega whenever it’s lunchtime. Plus, once they actually start remodeling he’ll be there practically every day. Sooooooo much guacamole. Delicious, delicious guacamole. They decide they’ll pass.
Over at Casa Vega, Jeff is explaining his idea for remodeling the lobby. The lobby is open to the street, and legally you’re not allowed to serve alcohol in an open space, so if they close it off it’ll allow them to serve a ton more alcohol and chips & guacamole. It’s well-received.
But then Christy makes the lunch offer. It’s difficult to say no, and Christy is persistent, but they don’t cave in even though Christy is visibly disappointed.
In the car, Jeff and Sarah congratulate each other for their strength, and they bond a little over how much fun it is to play the game. In the talking-head, Jeff admits Sarah is doing pretty well in the job. Which means he does talking-heads drunk.
Later that day Jeff and Jenni stop by Cole. The crew that’s supposed to be there demolishing the interior hasn’t showed up, and it’s already 12:20 in the afternoon. Jeff starts to lose it. He has Jenni call up the crew to bitch them out, but when she’s too nice on the phone, the red mist descends.
He starts yelling about how he doesn’t have time for this shit, blaming the crew’s absence on Jenni because she lets people walk all over her. Then he goes a bit too far. “It’s like I have the Three fucking Stooges working for me!” Ya still got it, Jeff!
In the car he kind of apologizes. He didn’t mean to yell, but he’s just under so much pressure, and there can’t be any mistakes, there’s no margin for error, I have misplaced aggression, etc. etc.
The whole episode he’s been correcting and correcting and correcting, but now it looks like the shoe might be on the other foot. There’s a voicemail from Christy, so he calls her back. She wants to meet with him next Monday. Alone. Dun dun dunnnnnn.
Jenni and Sarah both advise him to call her back and ask to meet earlier, because otherwise they know he’ll spend the entire weekend going over the Casa Vega project with a fine-tooth comb to try and figure out what he screwed up. It’s totally the right move, and he takes the advice, but doesn’t acknowledge it beyond that. For all their screw-ups that piss him off, when they hit a home run like they do here, he doesn’t seem to notice.