Welcome to Season 3 of Flipping Out, Gasmii! For those of you who managed to avoid seasons one and two, join the club! Let’s learn about these madcap characters and laugh as they try to make a living in real estate in the worst economy we’ve seen in decades! By the way, I’m just coming off a six week virus called “Miami Social” (the lame reason this recap is so late) so please be kind.
If this was Shakespeare, the part of Lisa Rinna would so be played by Jeff Lewis.
For those new to this rodeo, our hero, Jeff Lewis, is a real estate flipper. He buys houses on the cheap, fixes them up and sells them for a profit. A couple of years ago, people could actually earn a living this way. Today, it’s just tragic, so Jeff is complaining about how rough it’s been. He lost a third of his net worth in 2008 and banking restrictions make it difficult for him to buy houses now. It used to be you could buy something with only 5% down but banks now require at least 30%. Poor baby has to start small which means buying a $700,000 house for $450,000, putting in $50,000 worth of improvements and selling it for $650,000. Cry me a river.
Poor thing. Is that you? Crying behind the wheel of your Mercedes?
Jeff pulls up at Valley Oak – a four bedroom, three and a half bath, 3024 square foot home that appears to be the bane of his existence. He’s walking around with his assistant Jenni pointing out minutiae that only he and his bat vision can see and telling her to fix all of it pronto. Did we mention that Jeff is completely anal-retentive and OCD? Yeah, that’s important.
Do you really think you can sell the house in this condition?
So what happened to Valley Oak? They had a buyer at $2.8M but they had the property surveyed and found out that part of the garage was located a foot onto the neighbor’s property. Thanks but no thanks. They had to pull the house off the market and negotiate with the neighbor, who is a “well-paid actress”. She wanted a large amount of money or would sue to remove the portion of garage on her land. Can you believe? She screwed up Jeff’s whole plan! He had to put his beach house on hold! He had to sell his principal residence at a loss! (River. Crying.) Except the Well-Paid Actress wasn’t the one who built Valley Oak over the property line.
Who me? Yeah, Jeff. I’m looking at you.
The neighbor ended up settling and after two years of complete chaos (Dr. Tony, the olive trees and the exorcism — I assume someone who watched last season knows what this means because to me, it sounds just like a date I had last week), Jeff bought out his business partner, Ryan, and decided to live there.
Jeff continues to lumber around the house pointing out tragic flaws like a scratch and a dry wall nail until he comes upon Zoila, his cleaning lady, hiding in the laundry room on her cell phone. In clear violation of one of Jeff’s many rules that thou shall not have any life other than working for me, he tells her it better not be a personal call.
Blood denotes emergency. I see no blood. Hang up.
Jeff is trying to see the silver lining in all of this and thinks maybe “this” is where he’s supposed to be right now. Even though it’s the most difficult house he’s ever dealt with, it’s the house he’s most connected to. Which makes sense since I don’t think Jeff connects with people. His assistant, Jenni, chimes in that it’s an amazing house and the animals are happy and, besides the neighbors who hate them all, things are really great.
Was no one hired to do hair and makeup?
Jeff asks Zoila to make pollo loco for lunch (which I believe is the big seller at Taco Bell) while he makes some sort of inventory list with Jenni. He needs to know how many hangers Zoila needs. He concludes she only needs four because she has four uniforms. Oh good, he’s cheap too. Zoila says she needs a dozen hangers but, because of her accent, Jeff hears her say a thousand. “Do you understand what a thousand means in English? Like that’s a lot.”
Yes, Jeff. Stop being an asshat.
Jeff then tells Jose that he has a painting he needs to hang. When he asks Jose what he thinks of it, Jose laughs. Jeff doesn’t understand why.
Because who doesn’t have a self-portrait hanging in their living room?
Jeff and Jenni are on their way to Buena Park which is a three bedroom, three bath, 2200 square foot remodel with a $440,000 budget. Jeff is in survival mode. He can’t flip houses so he’s going to slum it and get back to the design and remodel business. Oh the shame. They get to the house and they meet up with Andrew and Vlad, the general contractors.
I believe the “Daisy of Love” auditions were last week.
There’s a lot of pointing and questions about draining water which I can only assume will come back to haunt all of us. It’s something they need to talk to the structural engineer about. In fact, Vlandrew have a number of questions for the structural engineer and can’t do any work on the house until they speak to him. Jeff is peeved (which appears to happen often and easily) because there are too many questions and it feels like someone didn’t do their due diligence. Jeff decides not to take it out on Vlandrew and tells them he likes them. Three times. And then asks them if it sounds sincere which means it probably doesn’t.
I like you guys. But I don’t shake hands. That’s Jenni’s job.
Oh, goody. Jeff talks in the third person. We’re at Valley Oak and he tells us that “we’re staffing up at Jeff Lewis’ office” and we get to meet his minions. In order to accommodate Jenni’s audition schedule (I am shocked that someone on a reality show might be trying to pursue an acting career), he hired Rachel, a friend of his to be another assistant. Her very important job requires her to straighten The Portrait.
Jeff doesn’t allow anyone to touch him but requires all employees to hug The Portrait instead.
Trace is their design intern but in order to ensure that Jeff feels superior, they call him Tracey.
Dude. It’s Trace. And I’m not going to look directly at the camera. Ever.
Jett is the house assistant who replaced two guys named Chris and Chris and Jett does more than the two of them combined without complaining. I’m guessing things didn’t end well with ChrisSquared. Oh, and Jett has done a really good job keeping the closet organized.
Seriously. This is awesome. Make sure you put it on your resume.
Jeff tells Zoila he wants the entire house to look like the damn closet and I love her because she completely laughs him off.
Jeff and Jenni are driving and complaining about the drive. Is it news to them that traffic sucks out there? They’re going to see Kerry who owns a house that was damaged by a flood in Orange County. Holy crap! Cross over with The Real Housewives of Orange County?? Can you imagine locking Jeff and a naked-wasted Gretchen in a room?
But I digress and no such luck. Kerry, the home owner, has settled with the insurance company and wants Jeff to remodel the house. It’s a four bedroom, two and a half bath, 2450 square feet home. Jeff is standing in the middle of a house stripped to the frame and asks if everything was ruined by the flood.
For the third time, Jenni remarks that she never thought Jeff would have to resort to remodeling and working for clients. Duly noted. Move on. Kerry tells them her budget is around $116,000 and rattles off $300,000 worth of improvements that she wants to do throughout the whole house. For the third time, Jeff tells us it used to be so easy and he loved being his own boss because he didn’t have to answer to anyone else. Duly noted. Move on.
Have I mentioned that I hate working for other people?
Kerry wants to tear out this wall, expand that closet, put in a bathroom like the most amazing bathroom ever that she used to have in Chicago, and lay a cork floor. Jeff’s head nearly explodes. Cork? Apparently, cork is the floor equivalent of having to work for other people. Jeff is sickened.
Jeff and Jenni are in the car leaving Kerry’s house and Jeff wants to know when she’s going out with the gay guy. And why the gay guy isn’t asking him out. Maybe because you appear to be completely asexual. Can you imagine Jeff having sex?
Do you have anything in a full-body condom?
Jenni was divorced and decided she’s back in the dating game. Shop is open for business. It was under construction. It was renovated and now it’s open for business. Ew. Cooch construction metaphors? She’s positively giddy about dating again which tells me this woman hasn’t been single in many, many years.
I’m having sex. Right now.
And is she wearing overalls? So the guy asked her out for salad and even Absolutely Asexual Jeff recognizes the red flag. Why not just say lunch? Why dictate my entree? Next. Jeff praises himself for being Jenni’s therapist for the past ten months even though ten months, in Jeff’s crazy head, is way too long to not be dating after getting divorced. Because there’s nothing that guys like more than a recently divorced woman in her mid/late 30s.
They continue talking about Mr. Salad or move onto a different guy that Jenni had coffee with but I’m not sure. Jeff thinks she should go out with him. Or at least grant him a booty call. I’m not sure but I don’t think that Jenni is cut out for booty calls.
She strikes me as a bunny boiler, no?
Jenni wants to put it all in one sweet little package (what?) and shares that she hasn’t been laid in awhile and it shows. I do not need any further information on the visible signs of cooch disrepair as a result of non-use, thanks. Turns out Mr. Salad is twenty-four years old and called the thirty-six year old Jenni a cougar which she thinks is the wrong term. Don’t you have to be forty to be a cougar? Ding, ding. For the record, if you’re in your thirties, you’re a puma. Or, um, so they tell me. Ahem.
Back at Valley Oak and Jeff has hired a man to sit in a tree and pretend to be his pet monkey.
Or trim the branches. Whatever.
Jeff and Jenni debate the safety of the man’s two rope harness system. He’s tied to the branch so Jenni wonders if the whole thing breaks, will he go down with it.
How does that rhyme go again? If the bough breaks . . . yeah, I think it all goes down.
Jeff is confident that the branches would break his fall but he would still hit the driveway pretty hard. I mean it sucks that the guy is risking his life but the view is going to be so pretty once the branches are trimmed.
So it’s all worth it then, right?
Since Jeff isn’t flipping Valley Oak, he needs to find projects to keep himself (read: everyone else) busy. One of these projects is marrying off Zoila. He asks Javier, one of the construction guys, if there are any single men in their thirties working at the house. Because, as Zoila says, guys in their twenties are too “jung.” Jeff complains that Zoila doesn’t have a man because she doesn’t put herself out there except we turn around and Zoila is asking Javier out for dinner.
But Javier is married and Jeff tells Javier that Zoila’s motto is “if you can’t make a home, break a home.” I am totally using that.
Jeff’s other project is obsessing over the landscaping and his ability to escape a lawsuit if the landscapers fall out of a tree. Fortunately, he’s devised a genius plan and instructs the landscapers to direct their fall onto the neighbor’s property if they should fall. Because then they would have to sue the neighbor. Because that’s where they landed. I’m just not sure it works that way.
I can’t imagine why Jeff is concerned. This looks fail-safe.
Rachel and Jeff are leaving Valley Oak and to appease Jeff, Rachel runs through a list of everything she is taking with her. Jeff says Rachel is a friend of “ours” (meaning himself and the little voices in his head) who needed a job and he got sucked in again. Rachel tells us that she met Jeff in 1991 when he was just as enthusiastic, hyperactive and kind of mischievous. And by mischievous, she means mean-spirited.
Hmm. Did I bring my dictionary?
Rachel tells Jeff that Chris Thompson called with a question. But it turned out to be a different Chris. Which Jeff only found out when he got on the phone with the wrong Chris. The thing about Jeff is that he doesn’t get mad or fly off the handle. He just mocks and condescends. Incessantly. So new rule — Jeff needs last names. Because Chris is a common name (which Rachel didn’t know). And for future reference, John is also a common name.
Do you know how you can tell if I’m being rude and condescending? My lips are moving.
Jeff is driving and drops his Chapstick – one of the five tubes he must go through in a week with a pair of lips like that. He starts fishing around by his feet — while driving — to find it and Rachel advises him that she will not reach down to look for it. Apparently, however, Jenni would.
I bet you do.
Jeff wonders if he should have hired another friend. He has a big (gay) question mark, which he draws in the air, about whether Rachel will work out. Her next task is to call Kathy Shephard and notice he uses the last name because “Kathy” is also a common name.
Oh, Jeff. You and your all-day jokes.
And it’s time for the Jeff and Trace Hour! I love these two OCD lunatics! I want a spin-off. Just Jeff and Trace, out on the town, trying to get laid. By whatever means necessary. No need to thank me, Bravo.
As an aside, the phone rings at Valley Oak and Jenni answers “It’s a great day at Jeff Lewis’ office. This is Jenni. How can I help you?” I want to make fun but it’s the same way that Zappos customer service answers the phone and I love Zappos. Almost as much as I love the Jeff and Trace hour. But I digress. Back to the boys:
Trace is a design school student that emailed Jeff and asked if he was looking for an intern. Yes, Trace thought it was odd that Jeff demanded a photo but what the hell. I mean, if Jenni and Rachel could get past the hiring committee, how strict could they be. Jeff and Trace mutually masturbate while picking out a warm white paint color rather than a white white. I know you’re dying to know but the coffee was a much warmer white that the white heat or the white crest.
And I don’t even get paid for this.
Jeff still thinks he’s hysterical and calls Trace, Tracey, and refers to him as “her” or “she”. You would think an allegedly gay man would have more respect but we’ll deal with sexuality issues later. There’s a crisis as Trace advises Jeff of a serious financial discrepancy. He received change of $2.50 but can only locate $1.50 and cannot account for the missing dollar. Since Trace hasn’t eaten since yesterday (something Jeff admires and encourages since everyone should be thin and fit), Jeff will allow him to keep the dollar.
But don’t let it happen again.
Jeff asks Trace if he’s told him that he’s doing a good job. Trace falls for Jeff’s corny crap and asks “Am I?” Nah. Jeff just wants to know if he’s told him that yet. Oh, Jeff. You’re hysterical. But Jeff relents and throws a tiny crumb of approval at his eager intern.
You don’t suck.
Trace thinks that he and Jeff have a lot in common and he looks up to him. Of course, he doesn’t want to be a cut out of Jeff because there really can be only one. Which is good because I really don’t see the similarity. Until Trace tells Jeff the real reason why he was fifteen minutes late for work this morning: Trace has checkers on his cell phone and he needs to play a full round and win before he can get out of bed. Usually, one round is all he needs but he wasn’t on his toes this morning and had to play three rounds before he won. And he cannot get out of bed until he wins. Awe. Some. I think we’re talking about another crossover! Hello, Obsessed. I’m talking to you.
So you’re telling me that you were late because you couldn’t get out of bed until you won a game of checkers on your cell phone? Why didn’t you just say so? I totally understand.
Jeff forgives Trace because he sees a lot of himself in Trace (no kidding) and is starting to really like him. He also doesn’t think that anyone has ever used this as an excuse before. You don’t think anyone has used compulsive checkers playing as an excuse for being late for work before? This is something you need to think about?
Fortunately for me and my new spin-off, Jeff told Trace that he has to work for Jeff for five years before he can leave. He’ll even get a certificate. Because there’s nothing that slave labor enjoys more than a useless piece of paper.
Um, how about a paycheck?
Jenni tells Jeff that he has to meet with Kerry’s contractor in Orange County but Jeff thinks he wants to break up with her. He likes her but doesn’t see the long-term potential there. It’s too bad because he likes her but she’s geographically undesirable.
And when I say geographically, I mean financially.
Jeff calls Kerry and tells her that he enjoyed meeting her and would love to work with her in some capacity but can’t manage the project. She totally “me too”s him and says she thought exactly the same thing. She didn’t think he was going to manage the project but just guide her and she really just needed a kick start to do it on her own.
Hmm. Maybe I should rethink this break up.
Overall, the break up goes well even though Jeff was worried about hurting her. Neither one of them is ready for a commitment and they want to continue seeing other people. It’s casual. How nice and civilized. Hmm, I know a few guys who could take some break up lessons from Jeff Lewis . . .
I just have to point out how creepy The Portrait is.
Jeff is in Zoila’s room offering her a new dog bed. Why this requires Jenni to be there with a clipboard, I do not know. Jeff needs to go into Zoila’s closet to find her comforter and even though she begs him not to, he can’t help himself. First, he sees two pillows that she was supposed to give away. Apparently, our Zoila is a hoarder. Is that a chorus of angels I hear? Are we talking about a third crossover? I’m talking to you Hoarders.
Clearly, Zoila has a problem holding on to too much stuff.
Second, he sees Zoila’s puppy pajamas and shows them to Jose, the contractor, asking him if he thinks they’re sexy. How kind and not embarrassing at all. Zoila and even Jenni ask him to stop but Jeff can’t because he doesn’t feel good unless you feel bad. Zoila says that the PJs are her favorite because she loves dogs.
I don’t even know what this means.
Zoila asks to leave the room for a few minutes to work on the bathroom. Request denied. You had two pillows in your closet. You’re on lockdown.
Jeff is showing his real estate agent, Carrie, his new view sans branches. They talk about selling the house but Jeff says he’ll stay there forever and put in a wheelchair ramp if he can’t make money on the sale. I would pay to see that. It turns out that Carrie is marrying Jeff’s brother, Todd, and she’s there to discuss their trip to the winery (where the two are getting married) for the free wine tasting.
I’m so excited to be marrying into Jeff Lewis’ family.
Trace walks in and Jeff introduces him to Carrie. Trace asks when the wedding is, Carrie says “June 20th,” and Jeff adds, “if she follows through this time.” Apparently, Carrie and Todd were engaged once before and broke it off. Jeff calls her a runaway bride and hopes she goes through with it this time because the deposits are non-refundable.
Not awkward. At all.
Jenni thinks that Carrie and Todd are meant to be. Again. Um, sure. Jeff tells Carrie that he can’t leave for the winery until later in the day on Saturday because he has his trainer and then needs to shower. Why can’t you just work out on Friday night? Um, what? Change the schedule?
Hi. I’m Jeff. Have we met?
Jeff is going to be involved in every aspect of the wedding. He’s gracious enough to let the bride choose some things but, for the most part, Jeff would like to make the decisions. He will even agree to cancel his trainer as long as he doesn’t have to have cake for lunch. He wants lunch then cake.
Who’s the bridezilla now?
Jenni suggests that Jeff have the princess cake. Then Jeff and Jenni are in the car and he’s asking her to confirm appointments. Unfortunately (for both Jenni and the car’s steering wheel), Jenni left her address book at home. She calls Chris in the office and asks him to look up a number in the book.
Remember when I said that Jeff doesn’t get mad or fly off the handle? I was wrong.
Jeff has an aneurysm and starts screaming that he can’t have contractors or anyone other than Jenni going through his office when all of his financial stuff is in there. He tells Chris that Jenni should have taken care of it and that it’s not Chris’ responsibility, hangs up and all hell breaks lose. He screams at her for not being prepared (because he needs an assistant who’s prepared everyday) but Jenni counters that she’s always prepared. Except, of course, for today. Jenni cuts him some slack and says he’s stressed because he’s not where he thought he would be in this economy and it’s a difficult time for everyone.
Yeah. This is a totally reasonable reaction for forgetting a phone number.
Then we get to the heart of the matter. Jeff’s whole business is based on his credit and he needs to protect it. Having Chris go through his stuff was ignorant and reckless and he demands an apology. She finally apologizes (which I am not convinced was sincere) and then we get to the heart of the heart of the matter. Jeff says he’s sensitive because YOUR EX-HUSBAND RIFLED THROUGH MY SHIT. Ah, there it is. Jenni’s ex, a different Chris, used to work for Jeff, went through his stuff and Jeff caught the whole thing on camera and I think that maybe, just maybe, Jeff blames Jenni.
Jenni doesn’t think it’s fair that Jeff keeps bringing up her ex-husband. She protects him all the time and is going to argue with him because it’s crazy that he blames her. She had no idea that her ex was going through Jeff’s stuff and had no idea that the camera was there. She is indignant at the accusation.
I am indignant.
Even though Jeff feels bad about how he reacted, he goes to his bad place where all he sees his red. He’s trying to get over the ex, as is Jenni. He wants to blame someone but he blames himself. He’s angry at himself and admits that Jenni isn’t at fault. Therapy, anyone?
Back at Valley Oak, Carrie tells Jeff that she has a bunch of people interested in the house when it’s finished. He asks for numbers and she tells him “mid to high twos”. Not mid, he reminds her. He’s building a business and can’t be distracted with a sale and if he’s going to put Zoila through the stress of a move, he’s going to need to make a lot of money.
Because he clearly has Zoila’s best interests at heart.
Even though Valley Oak was the thorn in his side, he’s decided that it’s home and he’s happy there. Even with the right number, he might not move. Yeah, right.
And this season on Flipping Out, there’s dancing, drinking, pajamas, swearing, crying and food poisoning. And, of course, incessant mocking and condescension. Eh, sounds like a standard weekend around here.
See you next week – when the second recap will be finished before the third one airs. I promise.