Bravo’s hit reality show, Flipping Out, which documents the business of home designer Jeff Lewis and his employees, has returned for its fifth season. Following the day-to-day endeavors of the team at Jeff Lewis Design in Los Angeles, the show captivates its audience by showing the skills and strategy that go into remodeling homes and also provides comic relief by means of Lewis’s wisecracks to his close-knit team. Even though the show can easily become tedious after four years of bitchiness and business-related stress, Flipping Outremains enjoyable thanks to the intriguing execution of the undertakings of a home design team and the familial bond between Lewis and his employees.
Unlike previous seasons, Lewis no longer flips houses, but now works as an interior designer remodeling clients’ homes. (For those unfamiliar with house flipping, it is the business of purchasing homes, renovating them and selling them for profit.) Lewis, who continues to be a perfectionist and just a neurotic mess, is backed by his team of assistants and associates, not to mention his faithful housekeeper, fan favorite Zoila. Many of Lewis’s employees are new to the show this season, such as Sarah, his design associate and sister-in-law, and Gage, Lewis’s assistant and current boyfriend. Along with Zoila, Lewis’s executive administrative assistant, Jenni, is the only remaining cast member from the first season.
Like so many former employees before them, Lewis’s current team copes with his obsessive-compulsive behavior and his desire for perfection in his business endeavors. In an early episode, Sarah upsets Lewis one too many times with her constant tardiness and forgetfulness, causing him to threaten to let her go despite their family ties. And when a potential intern requests to leave to grab a coffee, Lewis just won’t have it. All the man wants is excellence, and he does whatever he can to get it.
While Lewis mercilessly teases his team, and while the employees never fail to get on his nerves, there is a mutual respect and closeness between Lewis and his staff. They all work from Lewis’s home, known as West Knoll, and share laughs and silly anecdotes. The also travel everywhere together as a unit when Lewis is scheduled for a speaking engagement. While she does not spend as much time at Lewis’ residence as she used to, Jenni is like Lewis’s surrogate sister—they go to each other for advice and are openly honest with each other. Lewis can irritate Jenni to the point of anger, but there is a mutual love between them.
Likewise, Zoila is practically Lewis’s mother. They have disagreements and yelling matches, but Zoila is very patient with him, and they are able to get past any issues because of their appreciation for each other. However, unlike previous seasons, Zoila appears to be relishing her time on camera, trying to create drama with Lewis by exhibiting a snippy, diva attitude. In what is likely an effort to gain reality TV distinction, Zoila requests breast augmentation surgery in an early episode. Flipping Outshould steer clear of the typical, attention-grabbing antics of other run-of-the-mill reality shows, because the everyday interactions between Lewis and his employees are fun enough. This program is genuinely interesting thanks to the behind the scenes look at running a business, the quirky personalities of the show’s subjects and the close bond amongst the JLD team.
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