The Telefile
<i>Flipping Out</i>: When Offending Your Employees Is Hilarious

Our favorite obsessive-compulsive real estate investor/designer is back for a fourth season of Bravo's Flipping Out with more liquor, pet feces, fast food, and cursing out of his crew than before. Sounds like the best worst house party ever...

After ridding himself of former business partner, best friend and alleged client stealer Ryan Brown, Jeff Lewis' company is at its busiest, taking on property renovations all over California and even extending his consulting across the country to New York. We're glad he's booming again after a hit from the weak housing market, but we're still only interested in seeing the mental breakdowns and twisted relationships among Jeff and his loyal laborers: executive assistant Jenni Pulos, design associates Sarah Berkman and Trace Lehnoff, house assistant Jett Pink and sassy telenovela-watching housekeeper Zoila Chavez. And of course Jeff's numerous pets that receive more preferential treatment than the humans in his life.

This increase in Jeff's already-hectic work schedule does not keep him from berating his employees with important (and delightfully inappropriate) questions that must be addressed (without the other person getting a word in edgewise), such as regarding Jenni's new Greek boyfriend: "Was there a sleepover? What's his favorite body part, like of yours? Is he an ass man or is he a breast man or is he both? What is a typical Sunday for you guys? Do you guys go to church and pray for the sins you committed the night before? Do you confess that next day?" Good thing Jeff probably still doesn't know where Jenni lives after all these years.

Jenni is one of Jeff's many favorite targets, especially when it comes to her motherly nature while holding a client's baby, as he jokes, "she was trying to breastfeed when you were on the phone. Have you ever seen that movie, Hand that Rocks the Cradle? 'Cause she's clutching that baby a little too hard." Zoila, who may possibly be the muse for the lazy maid that pops up on Family Guy, is another target for Jeff's criticisms. He teaches her a lesson in cat poop clean-up when Stewart leaves his mark in the bathtub after Zoila disregarded Jeff's demand to fill the tub with water and close the door, making her clean it up without gloves because "what better to remind her of her mistake than cat feces between her finger nails?" But Zoila is just as conniving as her boss when she says in her thick Spanish accent, "I hate when he tell me, 'Look it! It's dirty! What are you doing in this house?' and I think, 'Ha ha, you're right, bitch! But whatever, Jeff." Que?

Even more articulate is the airheaded design associate and Jeff's sister-in-law, Sarah, who has a very important role within the company as "executive assistance, executive business... partner I think. You know we haven't really discussed what executive business partner is, it's just someone who's really important, and uh you know kinda up there in the company," she says with a smile, while she's shown taking out the trash and picking up "booger tissues." Despite being mentally comparative to Sarah Palin, Sarah is another source of humor for Jeff, even making his day when she walks under a stream of his dog Casey's urine trickling from the balcony.

The highlight of the crew's long workday, especially for Trace, is the routine happy hour, "since Jeff doesn't encourage us to eat dinner, he gives us drinks and has us liquored up basically." Jeff asks Jett to send the waiter down and Jett complies by becoming said waiter and taking their orders of Jeff Lewis martinis. It's clear that Jett's inspired by Jeff's OCD-inflicted lifestyle when talking about his drink presentation: "I line up all the glasses perfectly and I put in all the olives at the same angle with the same amount of blue cheese stuffed into them." But Jeff knows his employees nearly as much as they know him. Once asked about Trace's (the gay male design associate whom they call Tracey) drink choice, Jeff responds "she's gonna probably want a daiquiri, one of those fruity drinks, with an umbrella."

With clients all over California, Jeff and Jenni have adapted to eating on the road, even if it means Jeff drives with his knees on the freeway. And his high expectations and needs when it comes to everything else in life doesn't limit him in terms of the drive-thru, since he claims, "I wouldn't say that I'm prejudiced against any fast food. I like Taco Bell and El Pollo Loco." His clients and their locations are as diverse as his "one meal a day," including a sweet woman at Summit Ridge named Deborah (who got screwed by the last demo crew and Jeff sincerely wants to help out), Christy in Sherman Oaks (Jeff's first restaurant renovation, Casa Vega, which looks kinda like the place Ron Burgundy plays jazz flute at in Anchorman), and Nancy and Emily, a hands-on couple whom Jeff tries not to piss of because, "you just don't want to push a lesbian too far... they can get really tough. And I love the lesbians, but you just gotta know boundaries. I mean, she can lay me out on that floor in two seconds."

This season, Jeff is going to have to decide which clients he'll have to let go once work becomes too overwhelming while continuing to build his reputation. He'll also have to figure out who of his crew is making him more money than costing him and keep the company as small as he needs to be successful. As longtime assistant Jenni has "six more minutes and she's done" (according to Jeff) in regards to her fertility and yearning for a baby, Jeff will have his own weird version of empty-nest syndrome when Zoila wants more freedom outside her occasional (and possibly fabricated just to get out of the house) bikini wax appointments. We're looking forward to more TMI instances and humorous belittling of his employees as Jeff proves to be the best worst boss ever in Season 4 of Flipping Out.

Check out an interview with Jeff Lewis about Flipping Out, finding love, having kids, and more.

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