Jeff Lewis is clearly insane. And yet I can't stop watching him.
I'm talking about the focus of Bravo's docudrama Flipping Out, which wraps its six episode run on Tuesday night. I've been a pretty outspoken champion for the quirky (and at times soapy) reality series, which follows the travails of OCD-suffering "real estate investor" (i.e., speculator) Jeff Lewis, his business partner Ryan, and Jeff's troika of long-suffering assistants and lethargic maid Zoila.
The reason I am writing today is about onions. Yes, onions. In this week's episode, Jeff flew off the handle at second assistant Bowman because he didn't check the box containing his El Pollo Loco lunch at the "restaurant" (I'll use that term loosely) and was absolutely aghast to discover that it did contain onions, even though Bowman said he had asked for no onions.
A cardinal sin, if there ever was one. But what got me the most (besides for the ingenious way that the producers bookended the episode with two different onion incidents) was what Jeff actually said straight-faced during a talking head about Bowman: "He doesn't view this work as important. And the fact is ordering my lunch without onions is important. It's very important."
You are kidding, right?
Sure, I work in the entertainment industry where people have been fired for not requesting soy in their boss' Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf lattes, but even I found this slightly over the top and it felt like something that Michael Scott or David Brent might have uttered without thinking. Jeff needs to get some perspective, stat. Especially as he seems incapable of doing anything by himself, whether that's taking his own cat to the vet (he felt like he deserved a medal for that one, earlier in the episode) or removing said onions from his lunch, a task better left to Bowman to do over the kitchen sink, along with any rice that the onions may have inadvertently touched.
And yet it's these very same scenarios that have kept me glued to the television week after week to watch Jeff's assistants and everyone around him flounder in his wake. In a town as notoriously abusive as Los Angeles, it's perhaps reassuring to see that even assistants on reality TV series can't escape from the tyrannical rule of the oppressive overlords... even though what they should be doing is running as fast as they can and get as far away from Jeff Lewis as possible.
Flipping Out airs its season finale Tuesday night at 10 pm on Bravo.
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Jace is an LA-based television development and acquisitions exec who watches way too much television for his own good and would love a TiVo for every room in the house. (He’s halfway there.) His blog, Televisionary, can be found at televisionaryblog.com.