Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Is this 140? It's not 140. It's 150, or 155."

This quote is from Jeff Lewis, voicing his extreme concern over the temperature of his coffee. I didn't even KNOW you could specify temperature at Starbucks. What kind of gd nitpicker does this? I would repeat his whole coffee order to you but it would take me 10 minutes of rewinding and writing just to get it all down. This man is anal to a degree that I can't even fathom. This temperature issue? He goes on and on and ON about it to his assistant Jenni, "Are you sure this is 140? I know it's not 140. I drink 140 every day and this is not 140. You know what? I'm not going to worry about it." Pause. "The funny thing is, 140 is not written on the cup." Jesus H. Christ. This man is crazier than a shithouse rat.

Why do I love him so?

I almost forgot that Season 2 of Flipping Out was premiering tonight (thanks to Paloma at La Dolce Vita for reminding me). If you didn't watch it or dvr it, don't worry. I've got the goods for you. Let's get down to business!

1. Brief background: Jeff Lewis flips multi-million dollar houses in (mainly) LA for a living. He has incredible taste and an OCD-like obsession with details, to which he and everyone around him credits his success. In fact, does anyone out there know if he has an official OCD diagnosis? He must. For real. Anyhow, he loves to scream and yell at his employees in a very abusive way if they don't follow his ridiculously detailed instructions/requirements to a tee (more on this below).

On most projects, he works with a partner, Ryan Brown, who is an amazing interior designer and the voice of calm and reason on the show. Ryan and Jeff dated for awhile several years ago and somehow managed to remain friends afterward. We love Ryan.

Jenni is Jeff's assistant who takes a mega-ton of shit.

Notice her tense expression and Jeff's "I'm going to fucking lose it" expression.

She looks and talks exactly like Julia Louis Dreyfus. She seems smart and together, and you wonder why she puts up with Jeff . . . until you meet her husband, Chris Elwood. I swear to God, all last season I thought Chris was her SON. I am still in shock from learning tonight that she actually sleeps with this dude. He looks and acts like a 22 year old brain-damaged stoner whose biggest dream is to be on an episode of Jackass. Apparently he is an aspiring actor whose claim to fame so far is a role as one of the supporting actors on Punk'd. Can you guess which one he is? Here's a hint: he's the one wearing a headband with a tie.

He also works for Jeff and his title last season was "Trash Guy," meaning he picks up trash on all of Jeff's properties. He could barely handle that and was almost fired several times. Jeff announced in tonight's episode that Chris was promoted (without any sort of pay raise) to "House Manager" because the last one quit. House Manager duties consist of caring for Jeff's dogs, doing grocery shopping and performing menial cleaning jobs. We know now why Jenni sticks with Jeff--she is grateful that he employs her semi-retarded husband.

Finally, there is The New Chris, who is the new Trash Guy.

Danger, The New Chris. Danger!

Poor thing. He dresses way better than Chris Elwood and seems to have about 40 more IQ points, but he is below Chris Elwood on the totem pole. Not for long, if you want my opinion. The New Chris says that he is doing the Trash Guy job because he has always loved real estate and design and considers working with Jeff to be an apprenticeship.

2. Tonight's episode opens with a montage of Jeff blowing his top over teeny tiny little things, like one of his employees not checking to make sure that his salad was exactly as he ordered it. I can't go into the other examples because it might drive me insane.

3. The real estate market has tanked, and Jeff and Ryan are forced to take a consulting job at $25,000 a month (each? we don't know) in the renovation of an $8 million historical mansion (Hancock Park for those of you in the know). Jeff feels that this is way beneath him; plus, he can't deal with not being in charge. Courtney, the owner of the mansion and Jeff's employer, dishes out a mild verbal abuse and Jeff can't take it. In fact, he is outraged at being treated so shabbily! Oh, the irony. He repeatedly bashes Courtney to the camera. At this point, I'm on Courtney's side because you know, she's the boss. As Jenni says with a shrug, "you take it." Quit being such a baby, Jeff!

4. Then there are several unbelievable scenes demonstrating Jeff's fussiness. First, you see him giving his housekeeper Zoila the third degree about his breakfast. "What happened to the thicker bacon? I liked it better. And actually, this bacon is a little too crispy." If this was Zoila's first week on the job, I would understand. However, Zoila has worked with Jeff for many years, and you get the feeling that breakfast is broken down and criticized ad nauseam every single fucking day. Good God, he must pay his employees well.

Then there's the conversation with Chris Elwood in which Jeff recites his coffee order and says he wants it to be 140. As Chris is walking out of the room, Jeff says "No--wait! 150." This is a different order than the one talked about in the beginning of this post, but again, who does this? Jeff Lewis the Anna Wintour of realty and reality (except much more good-looking).

Later, Chris Elwood is training The New Chris on the "visuals" of Jeff's refrigerator. Jeff is (surprise!) "very particular" about the brands, number and placement of items in the fridge. I can't even believe this shit is real. There is no doubt in my mind that Jeff makes Zoila decant the Tide.

There's also an in-depth, very serious employer-employee discussion between Jeff and Jenni about at which point you switch from "good afternoon" to good evening." According to Jeff, it's between 4:59 and 5:00pm. Once again, as I'm listening to this, I have to wonder whether this show is one big joke, because it's so ridiculous.

5. In the last scene, we hear Courtney dropping copious f-bombs over the phone, yelling at Jeff for not negotiating a subcontractor's bid low enough. As we saw earlier in the show, Jeff agreed to negotiate the bid down a couple thousand and Courtney agreed that that would be enough for her to sign the contract. Jeff holds up his end of the deal and Courtney does not. In fact, Courtney does a 180 on him (NOT a 140 or a 150) and Jeff acts as though he's going to have a cerebral hemorrhage.

6. Why I like Jeff despite his arrogant, abusive and anal retentive ways: he's funny. For example, Ryan walked up to him in last night's episode and Jeff, Mr. Prim and Proper, says "what's up, fool?" And Ryan says tiredly, "must you always address everyone as fool?" Jeff says simply, "yes." Maybe you had to be there, but it was a precious little moment. As was the scene where Jeff is talking about how Zoila the housekeeper is like family to him even though he can't understand anything she says because of her thick accent. Watching him listen to her and try to respond is great entertainment.

Unlike other reality stars who fail to acknowledge their unattractive qualities (Jackie Warner and arrogance, Ramoner and batshit craziness), Jeff recognizes that he is a crazy mofo. He embraces it, and he occasionally makes fun of it. Plus he apparently treats his employees very well or else why would they stick around (other than to be on tv)?

Did you watch? What do you think?


Anonymous said...

i love jeff. i think he's crazy but not any crazier than people i am related to or work with. i also think courtney, is REALLY crazy. like someone who belongs in an institution.

p.s. i waited all morning for your recap and the only thing that disappointed me was that it ended.

Anonymous said...

I love that crazeeeeee Jeff! I want to have a multi million dollar home for Jeff to renovate - I would let him hire whomever he wanted (unlike Courtney!)
I also loved the part where jeff said he was trying to understand Courtney and that was helping him not get mad at her - he said that he knew she didn't trust him after all the money she spent on their house before they hired him.
Go crazeeeeee Jeff!

muranogirl said...

God you're good! Great recap!
This guy is completely nuts. What happened in his formative years to yield this kind of behavior? The coffee comments were just too over the top even for the most narcissistic. Yeah, who knew you could
specify latte temps? Those poor barristas.
I worked for a woman very similar in character to this guy. We stayed and put up with her OCD and bad, crazy, childish and demanding behavior because yes we were well paid and the product was great. One day it was discovered that order entry lost a huge all-stores Nordstrom order, (never entered into the system) and as a result the goods were not produce for them. Upon hearing the news she did not appear that upset but she managed to have a raving mad, crazy fit because there were a dozen small circle pieces of paper that had fallen on the floor near the 3-hole puncher. She proceeded to get on her hands and knees, (dressed in a great Gaultier number) and wail about how careless everyone was and how people left everything to her to clean up.

megan said...

lemme just say, people are stupid crazy about their coffee drinks. As someone who has worked for plenty of people in their homes, the madness is never ending. I could tell you stories that would make your hair curl. One lady wanted me to use Shout on the crotches of her and her husbands underwear. I declined to take that job.

Sarah's Fab Day said...

I have never watched this show until last night and he is nuts!! I couldn't stop watching because of his over the top lips, eye lift (?) and does he have a toupee?? Loved it though nothing like some crazy dramz to make your life feel so normal.

Paloma said...

Great recap! I'm so glad you did it, SGM. :)

I love Jeff. Eventhough he is crazy and neurotic, he is funny and lovable, unlike that crazy biatch, Courtney.

Does anyone else think Ryan looks different?

Courtney said...

I just think this is the best show on all of television. So freaking awesome. I watch it with one big smile and have been known to laugh out loud (very loud) on several occasions.

Paloma's right. Man is crazy. But how I love Jeff Lewis - something is so innocent and lovable about him. Does that make me crazy?

SGM said...

Yea, we all love Jeff!

muranogirl, we must talk in further detail about this woman. Traumatic.

Megan, I want to hear more. Please more! The thought of "shouting" a stranger's undies makes me want to barf. The thought that they actually asked you to do it is deeply disturbing.

Sarah, I find his lip kind of sexy. I'll have to look a the eyes and possible toupe next time.

karey m. said...

i have a new fave show.

and the funniest line that STILL has me laughing?

he's the one wearing a headband with a tie.

as if the two are incongruous. like, the headband would be fine in a professional photo...sans tie.

this one was a blast!

pam said...

I love this show! There's something ultra cool about crazies embracing their craziness.
There's definitely something weird going on with the hair, which I find surprising on someone who's so aesthetically meticulous.
Hancock Park is a very recently desirable LA neighborhood, with tree lined streets and homes that are old by California standards.

QueenofPlanetHotflash said...

Yep Jeff makes my mother in law look like a fairy princess lmao

Jen said...

I LOVE this show. Jeff Lewis is awesome, despite his ridiculous quirks, solely because he acknowledges it and is willing to laugh at himself (once he's calmed down).

Oh, and I get my lattes at 140 because anything above that burns my tongue. I've worked in a coffeeshop, it's really not that big of a deal to make it cooler, especially if they're steaming fresh milk often - like they should be. If they already have 160 milk, they just pour in a 1/4 inch of cold milk and it evens out.

Anyway - love your blog and recaps!!

Anonymous said...

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.

SGM said...

Jen, thanks for the insight on 140. I was thinking that 140 was hotter and that some barista was standing there dipping a thermometer in the coffee, waiting for it to creep up to 140.

The Lil Bee said...

OMG, this is fan-fucking-tastic!! I heart you.

I am obsessed with this show and was DYING as I watched it the other night. Your commentary is spot-on. I put a little post about the show on my blog, and the lovely Karey M (Mackink) left me a comment that I would like your blog and should come visit. Yes yes yes I do, and I will most definitely be back... high-larious!!

Leah said...

Watch. Love. And have decided that everyone in L.A. is batshit crazy -- in comparison, Courtney makes Jeff look downright sane and normal.

I am Trish Marie said...

I love to hate him. It puts a skip in my step. And yet. I just have to like someone that neurotic and crazy.

Cricket said...

I Love Jeff Lewis!
I missed premiere of season 2. I justed added it to TIVO and can't wait to watch it. I didn't read your entire post b/c I want to watch the repeat first, but I'm so happy that you're blogging about it!

Saucy said...

I didn't see that episode yet, but I must. That show does funny things to my blood pressure, but I return to it constantly.

katiedid said...

SGM, you've done it again.You were able to bring it all back to me in all it's crazy glory. Jeff is sooooo watchable. I hang on his every word and laugh til I cry.

P.S. Courtney was so wrong here. I can hardly wait to see what happens.


Hello from Canada, Here from my good friend, Cote de Texas..He has such an sense of entitlement and is an ass....having said that...I adore him and his crew. Love it. Never miss it. P.S. I like my coffee 120.

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