Jeff Lewis and Jenni Pulos of Bravo’s ‘Flipping Out” interview: Insider tips revealed

Bravo’s “Flipping Out” star Jeff Lewis has come full circle in two seasons of the show that chronicles the life of the type A OCD perfectionist, and his entourage who comprise his professional and personal home life team. 

Jeff Lewis is not a cakewalk boss. 

Tonight begins season two on Bravo, where the hyper-verbal entrepreneur who had made micromanaging an art form is eating a tiny bit of humble pie and realizing that working for other people is hard.

Jeff

Jeff

Season two of “Flipping Out” has Lewis working with clients who dictate the order of the day, and that has been an adjustment.

Lewis’ business is akin to a recon surveillance mission: He watches, stalks, tracks and goes in for the kill, in hopes to hammer the best transactional real estate deal and take a home that has potential, and make it great.  Lewis then has his investment ready to sell for a decent profit. 

This all sounds great, but timing is everything and currently the country is in a terrible recession, where real estate tops the list of the hardest hit vectors of the American economy.

Season two of “Flipping Out” captures this problem for Jeff, and shows his thinking around the issue and surviving the bad turn of events.

Jenni

Jenni

Lewis spoke to Monsters and Critics today with his CEA (chief executive assistant) Jenni, the two effusive about their new season on Bravo, bowing tonight at 10 PM/9 C, and is analytical about where they made mistakes last season, especially for Jeff who shares his personal growth he experienced that came out of auditing his “reality” – warts and all. 

He is learning from his mistakes.

I know that you make light of the obsessive compulsive disorder and it’s the hook in your show,  But it’s a serious thing and it can really kind of deplete your energy. And I was wondering what coping skills you might have incorporated into your life for Season Two that we can look forward to?

Jeff Lewis: Well first of all, I never knew – I mean, what’s ironic is that it did become the hook. You’re absolutely correct in that. And I never thought it would be. But I think that, you know, after they had three months of footage and they started putting it together, it just ended up becoming a major plotline and that’s not something that we ever even discussed in the beginning.

But actually I think it’s helped a lot of people. Now for me personally, I have been in therapy for the last several months and we have talked about medication but I really didn’t want to start or try any sort of medication because I guess I’m really fearful of any sort of effects.

So for me, I’ve just been trying to eliminate the stress in my life because that – what I realized, and I just said it before in a recent interview, is that I have trouble with coping skills.

And I think if the stress is too much, then what happens is that that’s when I find that I act out or my OCD becomes even more exaggerated.

And Jenni will – she’ll tell you that she feels like the OCD is becoming worse. But…

Jenni Pulos: Yeah, April.

Jeff Lewis: I think it does – I think it has become worse as I got older. What’s interesting is I think it was very exaggerated as a child and then I think that it mellowed, but then now for some reason it’s getting a little more exaggerated as an adult.

Jenni Pulos: I think a lot of people relate to Jeff, though. We’ve had many people come up to us and say I’m just like that. I totally relate.
Everything in my refrigerator faces the same way. I straighten my trash cans. So there’s definitely a lot of people out there that can relate to it.

Jenni,  how do you keep from taking things personally when he gets a little frantic and frenetic with you, and maybe borderline – I don’t want to say insulting, but you know, pushes your buttons to the point where you’re like Hey, I’m your friend here and I’m working with you?

Jeff Lewis: We just installed a punching bag and I give her permission.

Jeff and Jenni

Jeff and Jenni

Jenni Pulos: Did you want to let me answer or you want to keep going?  know, bloom where you’re planted, April and I have a lot of respect for Jeff’s work. I’ve learned so much. But I definitely give it to, you know, I definitely give it to him. I mean, I think we have a good rapport because I will stand up to him when I think it’s inappropriate.

I do think that he has (plucked) himself in the first season. He’s definitely responding differently to – he doesn’t explode right away. He takes things now, he thinks about it and he’s responding, you know, much more effectively.

And it is a high pressure job and situation, like many jobs. But this is adult babysitting and he’s constantly having to micromanage these people.

So it’s a lot of stress and a lot of pressure on him.

Jeff, what do you like best about Jenni? What qualities of her do you love?

Jeff Lewis: I mean, honestly the first thing that comes to my mind is her work ethic. I think that Jenni and I have a similar work ethic. I mean, she’s pursuing her career. She puts 150% pursuing her career which is acting.

That’s ultimately what she’d like to be doing. But then it doesn’t really affect her work here. I mean, she’s basically working two jobs, which I have a lot of respect for someone like that.

I respect her drive and her ambition, her passion for her career but also her work ethic. And I think that’s why we get along so well.

Are you more comfortable with the cameras kind of being around you all the time?

Jenni Pulos: I don’t think there’s anything ever about reality TV that will be comfortable, to be honest. I mean, you can’t even really go to the bathroom, Jim.

Half the time I’m like oh no, the mike’s not off. I’m in the bathroom. But…

Jeff Lewis: But you’re not allowed to go before.

Jenni Pulos: Right, but Jeff doesn’t really let me go to the bathroom anyway. Work, work, work.  But  I think that it became easier for us this year. I think you’re going to see we’re even more ourselves. There’s even more of a comfortable sense between all of us.

I think it’s like your first child. The first year for us we were tentative. This year it’s like okay, we’re used to it more so – as much as you can be.

Jeff Lewis: Well also another thing I wanted to – that I’d like to add is that, you know, in Season One the producers, they had some control, meaning what they would do is they would stop me in the middle of the workday and ask me questions.

They call those OTF’s – on-the-fly, which I learned about last year. And so now that I’m more comfortable with the way the show came about, the way the show turned out is that now I don’t allow those things.

I mean, I’m literally now completely in control. Nobody stops me in the middle of my workday. If anything, they’re rushing to keep up with me.  I don’t really have the distractions that I did last season.

As a result, I’m more comfortable in my element. I don’t have people in front of me, putting a boom or a microphone and asking me questions.

I know that the production company was trying to figure it out, but now I feel confident enough to now say look, no more interruptions during the day. You show up at 8:30, you mike me, you follow me. We’re done at 6:00, that’s it.

Jenni Pulos: This show is fast-paced this year, even more so because of that. They are – you are riding with us. You are really – you’re in it every moment.