Gage


Our beloved Jenni (above) playing kiss kiss with a Jeff Lewis promotional SUV.

We’ve never made any secret of the fact that we love Jeff Lewis, who rates with us as an immensely talented and driven individual.  He also happens to be one of the very best personalities on all of television and has been since “Flipping Out with Jeff Lewis” first aired some 5 years ago.  Our respect for Jeff was tarnished, as you may know, during the last season of FOWJL because of how mean he was to Sarah and Trace, and how we felt this turn was affected by Jeff’s partner Gage, who seems manipulative at best and who is, in truth, completely unlikeable.  That’s our opinion, sure, but it is obviously shared by the viewing audience.  The Gage feedback is decidedly negative, and with good reason.  We can tell by all the traffic we get to our page based on negative Gage internet queries.

It takes a special sort to put daggers into people’s backs, to submarine Jeff’s family members, and to sneakily sift through a rival’s email, and then use those findings to prompt his firing.  We aren’t going to like Gage.  That’s how it is.  The people who love Jeff won’t ever like him.  Fact.  But Jeff is a person with a right to happiness, and he likes Gage, and needs him as a steward for his business, as a hatchet man for dead wood.

In fact, we feel Jeff has a greater right to happiness than most because he provides us with so much quality entertainment.  The flap with Ryan exploiting Jeff’s name was legitimate, and it obviously hurt Jeff very badly.  It was a double whammy, for reasons of breach of trust and because it effectively ended Jeff’s relationship with Ryan’s daughter, to whom he obviously became quite attached.  Jeff, for all the bluster, and brutal honesty, perhaps may be closer to the “fragile little turtle” that Kelly, a “shamanic therapist” who was featured in a recent episode of the new Jeff Lewis hit “Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis” suggested.  And therefore he needs a guy like Gage to be the heavy, to have his back against the incompetence of the Sarahs of the world, and of the time stealers like Trace, who in all candor, Jeff is probably too nice of a guy to fire.

Lewis has built a loyal fan base on the strength of his talent, wit, straight talk, and of course, because of the epic flip outs.  But last year, it seemed over the top.  Even when Jeff had set up spy cams that led to the breakup of Jenni’s marriage, you never got the sense that Jeff was a mean guy.  Jeff was mean to Sarah though, and in fact, bludgeoned her with meanness so repeatedly, that she wisely felt relief when he let her go.
But that’s the show, now more than ever.  Jeff isn’t flipping houses.  He’s just flipping.  While the fans have a right to criticize the show, it would be hypocritical of us all to be too hard on him for doing that which he does perhaps even better than design: nag, criticize, complain, badger and even bludgeon.

So we apologize to Jeff Lewis for our heavy handed criticisms.  Either way, we are married to his endeavors as we are often mesmerized by the force of his personality, the more so when he is flipping out uncontrollably.  While we criticized the show, especially when he was so mean to Sarah and Jenni, suggesting she could also be fired, we should not criticize his personal life.

This is not to suggest that the show has gotten out of hand, but in looking at IT, it is clear that Bravo has found a new medium and a great outlet for Jeff to do his thing.  Perhaps it is an even better outlet than Flipping Out which at times has become tedious because of the more contrived, repetitive, and played out aspects of the show.

How much Chaz can we really take, after all?  How much can we take of the same jobs and storylines that drag on from season to season?  What about Sarah’s trap bachelor party and similar antics, such as what we feel was his rift with Jenni, probably done mostly for the cameras?

How much abuse should Zoila be subject to, after all?

So we love Interior Therapy because Jeff gets to do what he does best: flip out and design great spaces.  The formula for the show is a winner, providing Jeff new people to complain about each week, thereby sparing Jenni and Zoila the abuse, and has subtracted the most hated part of the equation, which obviously is Gage.

And when Jeff gets to work in these homes and on these people, the things that come out of his mouth are priceless.  A few weeks back when re-doing Kelly the shaman therapist’s office, Jeff immediately hit on the bane of Kelly’s existence, her relationship with her ex-husband, who had moved out 5 years prior, but whose stuff dominated the home.  As soon as Kelly declared her love life complicated, Jeff followed with a barrage of questions, ascertaining that Kelly’s ex Armand was seeing other people.  Cut to Kelly, who declared to the camera that she was uncomfortable being grilled about her love life.  Cut back to Jeff, launching more and more questions, declaring the odd relationship “fascinating.” Cut to Jeff again, now telling the camera that obviously Kelly needs to move on, that the guy sees other people and that Kelly is in denial.

Then Jeff discovers a load of rat feces in Kelly’s office space, sending Jeff’s OCD into high gear.  When Jeff and Jenni pack the family off so they can complete their work, a necessity because Jeff refuses to try to explain to somebody that they don’t need 9 pairs of tweezers (Kelly is also a horder), he begins to go through the entire house with a huge trash bag, throwing all kinds of senseless shit away, while admitting he is unable to stop.

Jeff then focuses on the fact that Kelly keeps old fortunes from fortune cookies.

“Jenni”, he says, “do you save your old fortunes from fortune cookies?”

“No.”

“Kelly does.” Then Jeff discovers another old fortune and blurts out, “Look.  Another fucking fortune!”

Jeff has been fairly diplomatic with some on the new show, at least to their faces.  Some of the time.  We can’t say he was too diplomatic with Ross Matthews, with whom he butted heads with repeatedly.  But who in the audience could stand Matthews’ grating personality and bully attitude?  The only person around who could stand up to him was the one who did.  Jeff Lewis.

With nicer people he has looked to massage situations a bit more, yet when it’s just him and the camera, or him and Jenni, he speaks his mind.  That type of talk is well worth the price of admission.  Like when Jeff declared a few weeks back that the home he was doing did not have one nice possession and that everything needed to be thrown away, suggesting that not even charities would want that stuff donated.  Or how when last week Jeff made fun of the very annoying Brit who repeatedly questioned Jeff’s taste, yet wore eccentric, over-sized bow ties.  Jeff told Jenni he couldn’t look at “another stupid fucking bow tie” and also complained “I hate these people.”

Stupid bow tied British douchebag (above).

Jeff has dealt with more than one horder, several momma’s boys, domineering women and men, and other difficult personalities.  And in short spans of time, has done everything he could to set them all straight personally, while also taking care of their homes.  He has also cracked us up in the process.

That’s why Jeffrey Lewis is the man, and why almost any JL driven show would work.  Kudos to Bravo for finding the perfect vehicle for this great talent.  They have channeled Jeff’s energy toward less static situations and different families and we may even feel the new show is a better one than Flipping Out, especially since Gage was added to the cast.

In fact, Jeff is flipping out more than ever.  He’s just not making us cringe while doing so.  Neither is the smarmy, duplicitous, officious Gage who stars by his exclusion, positively conspicuous by his absence.

Speaking of traffic, we’d like to thank our loyal readers and others for their patronage.  On Wednesday we had 69,000 plus to this site.  But don’t worry.  We are not about to go big time on you!

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Recently fired Jeff Lewis employees Sarah and Trace (above).

As the new season of Flipping Out with Jeff Lewis was set to start, and Bravo was running their catch up marathons, several fans left us comments expressing their out and out disdain for Lewis.  In fact, one angry viewer and reader even bluntly theorized that for Jeff Lewis to treat his minions as he does, he must have a “small dick.”  We put it mildly.  And we defended our favorite gay man that side of Andy Cohen, and explained to the readers that Jeff has the talent to get away with treating people badly, and that he does makes the show.

Now we find ourselves more on the side of angry readers and viewers who are dissatisfied, and are increasingly upset at what the show has become.  There’s no doubting that Jeff Lewis is a singular talent and we firmly believe that for a while, was one of the funniest and most unique characters anywhere on television.  We thought most of his kidding to be good natured, and most of his insults to be tongue and cheek, and that most of his entourage who were in effect, his family, actual and for real intents and purposes, would be safe no matter how much the man protested otherwise.

It’s not true.  Jeff Lewis is a mean dick, becoming worse by the second, contradicting his claim for the need to expand his business by firing employees who were more than just employees for petty reasons, goaded by his Machiavellian boyfriend to act on petulant whims rather than the calculated acumen that made him the success he is.  Let’s be real. Who the fuck is Gage, from what rock did he crawl out from under, and does anyone like him and not take him for the controlling, backstabbing scumbag he is?

For the past few seasons, Jeff lived in a big, beautiful house called Valley Oak, got on pretty well with his staff, aside from his ego manufacturing problems with Jenni and Sarah, and was frequently depicted having nice takeout lunches and cocktails with his people.  We saw Jeff put Trace threw the mill with a client who got physical with him, we saw a proud Jeff Lewis design beam at Trace’s graduation, and we saw Jeff and Sarah get on like girlfriends, and Jeff dote over his houseboy Jett’s baby.

Jett has a baby and Sarah is related to Jeff through marriage, and Trace was a beloved protege.  Enter Gage, who had undermined Sarah all season until Jeff did what we thought was the unthinkable and fired her last week, who for no apparent reason, opened an email on Trace’s computer that he was not asked to open, leading to Trace’s dismissal, and who openly lobbied for Jett’s firing, a guy trying to support a family.  As Jett’s performance review approached, Gage sarcastically quipped to him “good luck with that”, and afterward, denied that he pushed for Jett’s firing, when he was the only one who did.

When Jeff sat with his sister-in-law, who is Sarah’s sister, and told her that he had to fire Sarah, she said as long as he didn’t disrespect her in the process, it wouldn’t cause a family a problem.  Jeff said no problem, but had already disrespected Sarah so thoroughly beyond the point of no return by, well, flipping out on her so early and often.  Sarah was not about to beg for her job, the way Jeff’s ego no doubt desired, because, well, the job wasn’t worth the abuse.  And Trace?  Fired for doing a design of his closet on Jeff’s time.  If that’s really such a big problem, but with Trace like family at this point, and so integral an employee on so many levels, couldn’t Jeff have just had a word with him and docked him some pay?  It’s a 22 year old kid, after all, who one would think would make mistakes here and there, and who we have seen rarely at fault.  When Gage opened the email of Trace’s closet plan, it was he who was beaming, and who questioned aloud, “what to do now?” as if he hadn’t just struck for a personal jackpot.

We really don’t think Trace deserved to be fired and we certainly don’t think that Trace deserved to be called an arrogant asshole by Jeff, or to be screamed at.  So at Trace’s performance review, when he was ambushed by Jeff and Gage, Trace, a quick study, caught on really well, and didn’t defend himself, knowing he had won his ticket out of the mad, angry world of Jeff Lewis, driving off into the sunset in his Range Rover.

Now Jeff lives in a smaller house, under a palpable cloud of discontent, fostered by Gage’s greed and jealousy.  Sarah was a relation and had to go.  He made sure Jeff got rid of her.  Trace was younger and prettier.  Gage got rid of him too.  Jett is just a nice guy, struggling in life, doing whatever he can, like pissing in a jug, handling Zoila’s panties, and shining shoes, but he’s also younger and prettier, if straight, so we would bet on Gage getting his way and forcing Jeff to get rid of Jett too.

And where is all of this next level business Gage was supposed to be helping Jeff land?  All we see is Jeff scrambling to hold on to Cole, eating shit from this annoying Jewish lady who hates Jenni, and managing some low budget renovation for some aging rockstar’s wife.  It’s certainly not like doing the kitchen of the year, or a high traffic restauraunt, plus several homes, like last year.

It all begs the question, what was Gage doing before Jeff came along?  Because he certainly only seems to be this great business manager in Jeff’s mind, and he has wreaked havoc on the office and on Jeff’s already tenuous personal life. 

Wouldn’t it be ironic if Chaz does diss Jeff Lewis Design and choose someone else for his New York salon?  Or perhaps a better way to phrase it would be, wouldn’t it be deserved?  Because there’s probably some equally talented designers out there who are also nice people and who don’t surround themselves with cold and conniving twerps.  We certainly hope Zoila and Jenni are untouchable, but for all we know, Gage is plotting their demise as well.

Would Jenni still get a producer’s credit if that were the case?  And would she still write catchy jams like “Prostitution Whore” and “Joisey’s in Da House”?  Leave it to Gage to fuck up an entire cable network.  Hopefully, Andy Cohen will call out Gage and Jeff on their shenanigans on WWHL and the reunion show, as he is so good at doing.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/flipping-outs-jeff-lewis-genius-evil-genius-or-just-evil-season-finale-tonight/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/bravos-watch-what-happens-live-nyes-special-tonight-features-jeff-lewis-1030-pm-est-kathy-griffin-hosts-cnn-nye-special/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/design-icon-jeff-lewis-and-hip-hop-star-jenni-pulos-on-whatch-what-happens-live-tonight/

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)