So much emotion in this episode! Pain, compassion, sorrow, guilt...ah, the guilt. I'll explain later. Your Flipping Out recap follows.
1. The episode begins with Jeff talking about how tirelessly Jenni defends her husband and his goof-ups. "It's a full-time job to cover for Chris Elwood," he tells the camera. Chris E's crimes at work are recounted (among them, 150 visits to facebook in 3 days. Nice work! Even I am kind of in awe of that). At this point, we're still not sure who's the nutcase--is Jeff exaggerating and freaking out over nothing, or does Chris have a snooping and lying problem?
We see Zoila eating breakfast with Jeff, who is looking all sexy and rumpled in a white t-shirt (his jammies!).
He's telling her that he bought "the whole new and improved Chris Elwood" but that it was just a big lie. Zoila's feeling badly about Chris E situation and Jeff reassures her by telling her that it's because she's a nice person and that Chris E "did this to himself." Then do you know what that crazy fucker does? He tells Zoila that "if it looks like it's going to get ugly, I'm gonna pin the blame on you." The stunned look on Zoila's face is priceless, as she believes him for what looks to be almost 3 seconds. This, my friends, is why I cherish Jeff Lewis. He's all serious and scowl-y and then he breaks the tension with the most funny line evah.
2. Next, Chris E arrives at work and the cameras follow him walking in the house, going up the stairs, and waiting for Jeff in his office. After a excruciatingly long time, Jeff walks in and gives Chris E a bottle of water, which was a nice gesture.
Chris E gets fired in a very straightforward, professional way. I will not go into details except to tell you that I had to watch it through my fingers which were covering my eyes. On SGM's Bravo Scale of Agony™, it was more awful than Quinn's Roxy moment, but not quite as unbearable as that nasty Lisa making fun of the cancer survivor's boobs. There is a lot of focusing in on Chris E's face, which caused me to squint and then completely look away. Chris E was clearly nervous but otherwise pretty composed throughout the whole scene. At the end, Jeff says, "do you have anything you want to say to me?" Chris says, "I'm sorry. I messed up and I apologize."
When I finally get the guts to look at the tv again, Chris is outside by his little white truck. He repeats that he "messed up" and that "Jenni's in the worst position because she's been defending me." He doesn't seemed shocked or terribly upset. There is no mention of "what the eff kind of crazy-ass mofo installs a nanny cam to spy on his employees" which is what I was expecting. Do you know what I think? I think Chris E is relieved. Relieved to be free of a hard-ass boss and a job that he didn't love, relieved to have an excuse to get out of an unsatisfying marriage, relieved to finally put his earbuds away.
Then comes the most heartbreaking part--Jeff telling Jenni about Chris E and the hidden camera. Bravo played it to full dramatic effect by showing this scene as it was captured by the nanny cam; there is no sound, just the grainy images. Jenni is clearly distraught and flails around a bit before sobbing in Zoila's arms. It's sad, my pets. During this time, we hear Jeff's voice giving a little more justification for the nanny cam. He says that since Jenni truly believed that her husband was hard worker of the year, she would need some rock-solid evidence to prove otherwise. The nanny cam provided that.
Jenni's a good egg. I hate to see her so upset. Even Jeff said that her reaction was "much bigger" than he had expected.
To me, the fact that Jeff had to inform Jenni of Chris E's firing was very telling. If you get the ax, wouldn't you immediately call your spouse? Important clue here.
3. The day after the firing, there's a tender scene in Jeff's car when he says to Jenni, "I appreciate you coming to work today; I know it's rough for you." (Did you see this, Ryan? Tenderness. From Jeff Lewis.) She says that she doesn't blame him for the camera--"it's your business and I get it"--but that it killed her to see the footage. Killed her! Jenni has some tears and says to the camera, "whether he's with me or not, I want him to be happy, he's a wonderful man." This is when we realize that something much, much bigger is going on. Yowza.
Let's talk about the guilt now. Believe it or not, I spotted Chris E as a squirrel last season. I mean, the headbands, the earbuds, the lying, the getting fired 7 other times . . . and oh yeah, and the fact that he appeared so immature that I thought Chris E was Jenni's CHILD. What if I could have prevented the whole hidden camera scandal by reaching out to her with an email at the end of last season? Was I so busy and consumed by my own life that I couldn't drive to LA, track her down, jump out of my car and shake her by the shoulders and say "Jenni, he's a fucktard"? I will have to live with my inaction for the rest of my life. I'm so sorry, Jenni.
4. Jeff breaks the news to New Chris, who is now the only Chris. During this conversation, Chris is wearing a snug tuxedo t-shirt, which is totally distracting. Sadly, there are no pictures of the shirt on Bravo's site, so I'll show you what I am talking about:
Although I haven't been watching him for long, I can tell you that Chris could be featured on The Sartorialist every damn day. Even in a tuxedo t-shirt! That's just how stylish he is. The man could rock a ratty mullet and a mustard-stained wife-beater if he wanted to.
So what is Chris' response to being told about the hidden camera? An incredulous "this bitch means bizness!" (to the camera, of course, not to Jeff's face). Um, if you don't love him, please come see me and I will give you a sharp smack across the face with my gloves. He talks about Jeff's impossibly high standards, and goes on to say that he feels shocked and violated and questions the legality of what Jeff did. Now you know, man. Watch yo'self!
Then Jeff tells Chris that he wants to hire him full-time and expose him to the "bizness" of real estate investment and design. Yes! The silver-lining to Jenni's sorrow.
One more thing--Jeff seems to be eating Yoplait during this scene.
Jeff, don't. That shit is full of chemicals and sugar.
5. Jeff and Jenni visit Lorie's Encino house, which is in the midst of having the roof replaced. Jeff walks up to a big pile of construction debris and says, "Jesus. That's a couple loads." At which point my husband remarked, "that's what she said."
Didn't this house have a Spanish tile roof before? And it's being replaced with a yucky generic asphalt roof? What's going on here, Jeff? Did Lorie run out of money?
Moving on. Jenni's awful day continues when she steps on a ROOFING TACK. It was so painful that Bravo didn't even bleep out the "fuck!" she exclaimed after it pierced her thin little flats. Ooooh, I totally got the willies here. Frank the contractor, owner of a super-deluxe first aid kit, is there to help remove it. Then, for some reason, he starts smacking her on the wound with a piece of wood. WTF? Jeff tries to find some humor in the situation by saying, "Frank was a doctor before he was a contractor." Then, while Frank is cleaning Jenni's foot, Jeff says "they were dirty like that before." A super-unattractive snort came from my person at that point. I love you, Jeff Loo-ey.
The End of Part I.
I know, I know, but there's so much good stuff in this episode. I must break it up to do it justice. Tomorrow I will cover the second half of the show as well as attempt to answer some reader questions about Jeff's hair. Until then, my dears.