is a reality television
series on Bravo
, and re-aired on sister network CNBC
. The show is centered on real estate speculator Jeff Lewis in Los Angeles
. The series features Lewis, his entourage that consists of his CEA (Chief Executive Assistant) Jenni, housekeeper Zoila, assistant(s) and helper(s), and the houses that he works to buy and sell for profit. The show completed its second season on Bravo
and is part of an extended series of shows that have included Blow Out
and Work Out
- Lewis was born March 24, 1970 in Orange County, California, and is a 1988 graduate of Mater Dei High School. He attended both the University of Southern California and Chapman University where he was Pre-Law and Political Science major. After graduating from college in 1993, Lewis began working for a real estate agent. In 1999, Lewis began his current occupation as a real-estate speculator. He purchases properties, sometimes for over a million dollars each, and then renovates them to sell for a profit. The New York Times called Jeff "a man balancing multiple mortgages like bolders on a poodle."
- Jeff's day-to-day misadventures surrounding his business are followed throughout the show. Lewis is a self-admitted Obsessive Compulsive, and has various other quirks that make up much of the show's content. Lewis obsesses over his three dogs and two cats, has several psychics and mediums, and performs exorcisms for his houses. He sees a therapist and does "scream therapy," with the goal of releasing his stress.
- Jeff's youngest brother, Todd is engaged to be married to Carrie, the realtor. According to Jeff, the two knew each other before she became one of his realtors.
- Jenni was born in Portland, Oregon, but grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona. She played tennis competitively in high school. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles as a Theater & Film major and a Political Science minor. Jenni intended to play tennis for UCLA, but later invested her time in acting. Jenni considers herself to be an actress, voice actress, and rapper. She married another one of Jeff's assistants, Chris Elwood, and was referred to as 'Jenni Pulos Elwood' throughout the first two seasons until the two divorced.
- Jenni refers to herself as Jeff's Executive Administrative Assistant and often refers to Jeff as "crazy" due to his obsessive-compulsive tendencies, but also admits that many "geniuses" are crazy. Jenni has complained that Jeff treats his animals better than his assistants. Jeff often gives preferential treatment to Jenni and considers her his best assistant, evidenced by the fact that she has only been suspended once. Jeff says that "she is really the only person that stands up to me," and he apparently respects that. Her husband Chris worked for Jeff before Jenni, but it was Jenni who quickly rose up the ladder. From the start of the first season, Jenni maintains that a good portion of her job is to entertain and babysit Jeff; some of her first footage on the show is of her dancing foolishly in the driveway to make Jeff laugh. Any series of tasks that Jenni refuses to do are delegated to Jeff's second and third assistants. While the assistants are required to clean feces, which somehow always finds itself in Jeff's home or projects either through pets or hired workers, Jenni has never had to perform this task; Jeff will even bring himself to pick it up before asking Jenni to do it.
- Jeff and Jenni's relationship can be viewed as slightly out of the norm; they share a platonic friendship that sometimes crosses over to co-dependence. Jenni refuses to tell Jeff where she lives because she fears he might track her down and invade her privacy, which Jeff privately admits he would do if he knew the location. When Jenni withholds information about her private life, Jeff says worriedly that his "first reaction is that she might break up with me".
- According to Jeff, during the season two finale , his and Jenni's relationship has been strengthened ("grown stronger"). He was undoubtedly concerned about her welfare during the previous months that recall Jeff's firing of Chris Elwood during episode 205, Tear Down and his later discovery that Jenni and Chris were getting a divorce. According to "Closer Inspection," "Tear Down," the season reunion special Jeff believed his undeniable proof of Chris' disregard of his duties (due to his prohibited Jeff's computer usage), violations of personal items, lying, among other things, would hurt (not only Jenni) but Jeff's relationship with Jenni. As a matter-of-fact he agonized over what decision he should make.
- Ryan grew up in Oxnard, California, and attended school at the University of California, San Diego where he majored in Neuroscience, intending to one day go to medical school. He later changed his plans, moved to Europe, and became a fashion photographer. Upon returning to Los Angeles he entered the developing and design business with his brother. They began by designing individual rooms and later moved to houses.
- Ryan and Jeff were once linked romantically but are now friends and business associates. Ryan and his current partner have a daughter named Chloe together, who is one of their (they're unsure) biological daughter.
- Chris was born in Columbus, Georgia, moved to Atlanta after graduating from high school, where he began acting and married his first wife. He later divorced his wife and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting where he met Jenni. Chris is mostly recognized as one of the wingmen on Ashton Kutcher's MTV show Punk'd. Chris commented on the series that while most people expect him not to be doing the kind of work he's doing for Jeff, he needs some extra income to supplement his acting career.
- In Season 1, Chris was effectively referred to as the "Trash Guy" or the "third house assistant." It was his job to clean up the job sites. In Season 2, Chris is the "House Manager," meaning that he sees that Jeff's residence is in working order. Every day, he is given a long list of tasks, which he and the "second house assistant" must complete. Throughout both seasons, Chris's standing responsibility is to take care of the animals and to maintain security around the house.
- As both Chris and Jenni are in the acting business, they often push aside their duties in favor of acting opportunities, which subsequently gets Jeff upset. Jeff has fired Chris multiple times, but he always has re-hired him.
- In the July 15, 2008 episode, Chris was caught lying to Jeff, and due to a nanny cam that proved Jeff's suspicions, Chris was fired. Chris admitted (only after he was told about the cameras) to not only lying to Jeff, but lying to his wife, Jenni, about how he answered the phone, using Jeff's computer, and also not doing his work as he was expected. It was also insinuated that Elwood was rummaging through Jeff's files though this was never proven to the television audience. Zoila had witnessed some of his poor behavior and told Jeff about it. After he was terminated, Chris decided he no longer wanted to be married to Jenni. Chris did not show up for the Season 2 reunion because he did not want to explain his actions.
- Steve was born in Houston, Texas, but grew up in the San Francisco area. His father was in the Coast Guard and his mother was a nurse. His parents divorced at an early age. After graduating high school, Steve moved to New York City to pursue theater. Steve attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Oakland, graduated, then moved to Los Angeles.
- Steve was Jeff's "First House Assistant" during the first season. One of his responsibilities was making sure that all the labels on the food in the refrigerator faced outward, "or else there was hell to pay". He also maintained a very antagonistic relationship with Jeff's cats, especially Stewie. In the season two premiere, looking back at season one Jeff noted that he had fired Steve saying that it "had been too hard on Steve to work for me." Steve only appeared as part of Season 1.
- Keslar joins the cast during the second season, replacing Steve Bowman. He is the brother of Project Runway 3's Angela Keslar and an Ivy League graduate (Penn). Keslar stated in the first episode that he would like to break into the design and real estate markets and that he viewed working for Jeff as a type of apprenticeship. Keslar often found himself the butt of Jeff's cruel sense of humor. Jeff gave Keslar passive aggressive forms of punishment, for no reason other than to taunt him. Keslar was once instructed to take a Los Angeles public bus home after taking Jeff's car to the autobody shop. Another time, after forgetting to ask for guacamole for Jeff's El Pollo Loco lunch, Jeff demanded that Keslar hop the neighbor's fence to steal four avocados so Zoila could make replacement guacamole. During his three month review, Jeff's other employees stated that Keslar was dedicated, pro-active and a hard worker. Jeff himself stated that Keslar had a nice personality which was often the kiss of death when working for Jeff. In the last episode, Keslar resigned, in part because of the poor treatment given to him and in part because there was no hope of job growth. In the end, Jeff says that to work for him a person needs to be dysfunctional. He tells Keslar that he thinks he's just "too healthy" to work for him.
- Jett joined the cast in the second season finale. He was the first person interviewed to replace Chris Keslar and was hired almost immediately, after being asked a series of peculiar questions by Jenni and Jeff involving his behavior such as whether or nor he uses the bathroom frequently (he claims he doesn't), and whether nor not he can admit he is wrong even if he knows he is right (he claims he can). Jeff says that he hired Jett because he was the first good looking person to walk in the door and the only one, which would be good for first impressions, and had no real interest in the business. Jeff also admitted that they are shallow people because they tend to only hire good looking people to work for them.
- According to the reunion special (season 2) it appears from Jeff and Jenni's perspectives that he's doing a really good job. He finishes the entire list early, and doesn't complain.
- Zoila was born in Nicaragua and lived the early duration of her life there. She married and raised two daughters. In 1987, when her daughters had grown up, Zoila divorced her husband and moved to the United States to pursue work. She began cleaning Jeff's house every week, then was eventually persuaded to become Jeff's live-in housekeeper. Zoila became a citizen of the United States in 1996 and lives here with several of her brothers and sisters.
- In addition to Jenni, Zoila is Jeff's favorite employee. Jeff says she takes very good care of him and his animals. Because he did not have warm and affectionate parents, Zoila serves as a surrogate mother to Jeff. She is resilient in the face of Jeff's temper and rarely loses hers. Zoila is now more firm with Jeff after getting her citizenship. She is currently going to school, which Jeff sometimes fears inhibits his ability to control her.
- Zoila sometimes jokingly displays a lack of work ethic, often asking for time off but never getting it. Even for her birthday, she was denied the weekend off. Jeff's infamous reaction, which was played several times on various media shows including The Soup was, "Didn't you just get off for Christmas? Now you want another holiday off?" and, in a talking head, "She wanted all of Saturday and she wanted all of Friday. Well, what am I going to do? Who's going to do my laundry? Who's going to make me breakfast? She's so selfish."
- Rather than the weekend off as she preferred and postponing her birthday for another weekend as Jeff preferred ("I think your birthday is conflicting with my schedule"), she is given an oil painting of herself which is decidedly unflattering. The painting is up for bid, now you can take Zoila's infamous portrait home.
According to seasons one and two...
- Jeff's five pets-three dogs and two cats-frequently make appearances on the show. The pets are treated like people and better than Jeff's employees; for example, the pets are given therapy, acupuncture, have regular visits with pet psychics, and one of Jeff's assistants is always at their beck and call. Jeff maintains that his pets each have their individual personalities and should be treated as such.
- *Oliver-The fourth pet and second dog in the Lewis household. He is a stray dog of unknown breeding, possibly a Corgi mix, that Jeff found at the dog park and took in. Jeff's pet psychic says that Oliver's previous owner loved him very much but had to let him go to give him a better life. Jeff says that Oliver is the most affectionate pet and was already perfectly housetrained when adopted; according to Jeff, he is also apparently best friends with Casey.
- *Casey-Jeff's third pet and first dog, happens to be a pit bull mix. Casey is not as well house-trained as Oliver and often has accidents in the house, which the delegated pet assistant, formerly Chris Elwood, sometimes fails to notice. Jeff said he found her in a pet adoption place while driving around and when he came back to see her at the end of the day, all the pets had been adopted but her; Jeff feels that there is a definite reason why but cannot decide if the adoption was fate or a mistake. Jeff says that Casey is spoiled and slow to learn; it took three years and seven thousand dollars for her to learn to sit.
- *Stewie-Jeff's second pet, a cat, and six-years-old. He is Seal Point Peaked-Face Lynx Himalayan and the exact opposite personality of Monkey. Jeff says that he is the least friendly of all the pets and is very selective with his affection. The cat will only let Jeff touch him; assistant Steve Bowman was often forced to use a broom to push the antagonistic cat from one room to the other. Jeff compares him to Garfield because he is lazy, and only eats and sleeps all day rather than playing like the other animals.
- *Monkey-Jeff's first pet, a cat, and seven and a half years old. He was a gift from Ryan while he and Jeff were dating. He is a rare Blue Point Peaked-Face Himalayan. Jeff describes him as a mischievous prankster and has the best sense of humor of all the pets. Jeff's pet psychic says he's very imaginative and creative, and as a result, holds the delusion that he is an outside cat. Monkey is very valuable so Jeff won't let outside for fear of petnappers. Monkey is very sickly so Jeff treats him to a variety of expensive medical attention, including holistic doctors; at least fifteen to twenty thousand dollars has been spent on Monkey's physical ailments. The kitchen sink is left constantly running in a slight stream so Monkey may drink from it.
- *"Little" Chris-Chris is the newest pet and the third dog, and was adopted after the first season. He was named after Chris Elwood. He is not well house trained, and doesn't often get along with the other dogs, particularly Casey.
Lewis purchased the Ben Lomond property in Los Feliz for $975,000. The Ben Lomond property eventually sold for $1,349,000 after Lewis had lowered the price drastically after failing to sell the property for months. Lewis lived in Ben Lomond for the duration of the taping of the first season of the series.
The Commonwealth property is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house located in Los Angeles. Lewis originally paid $863,000 for the 1,938 square foot house. The house was featured during the end of the first season. Lewis bought the house after other real estate speculators had failed to improve the property after finding serious structural deficiencies. Lewis lived in this house during the taping of the second season of the series.
After Lewis quit the Hancock Park job, he was brought on as a consultant to remodel a home in Encino.
Hancock Park (Lorraine)
The Lorraine property is otherwise known as the Dorothy Chandler
Mansion or where the late philanthropist lived out the last few years of her life before she passed away. The house was also once known as the "Western White House". As Lewis states in the second season opener, he had worked on this project as a consultant, earning himself and Brown a salary of $25,000 a month to supervise the remodeling of the mansion. The mansion was purchased by Joe and Courtney Handleman for $8,070,000.Lewis quit Lorraine after a disagreement about hiring contractors in the second episode of the second season.
The Nottingham property was purchased for $2,260,000. It, was by far, the largest house that Lewis had flipped. Brown had lived in the house after he won a bet with Lewis that was featured in the series. The property sold for $4,350,000.
Valley Oak One
The Valley Oak One property was initially featured as the first property that Lewis lived in during the series.
Valley Oak Two
The Valley Oak Two property is currently featured in the 2nd season of the series. This is the second property that Lewis "flipped" on Valley Oak Drive in Los Feliz. Lewis purchased the house for $1,710,000 in March 2007. Valley Oak Two was notable on the series, because the owner that Lewis had purchased it from had refused to vacate the premises after the transaction took place. Lewis began demolition even while the former owner was still living there.
According to the episode, "Looks Like New," Jeff has a fifty percent stake in the house which happens to have five rental units.
This property was purchased by Jeff on the Season 2 Finale for $1 million dollars. It will likely be his new home if there is a Season 3. He joked during the inspection that Zoila would be sleeping in the basement, where the gas valves are located. While he is preparing Edgemont, Jeff will be living in a Malibu beach house, forty five minutes away from where he usually works, where they allow no pets.
Jeff decided at the conclusion of the season two finale he would become a renter (which he says is against his 'religion') for at least four to eight weeks, in an effort to have stability as well as (according to him) it being his 'vacation.' During his interview with the landlord, he lies and states he has no pets.
According to the same episode Jenni deemed that his moving into the house is a great move for Jeff, since he wants to slow down a little bit.
Reactions to the series
The series premiered to critical acclaim on the network. A few celebrities support Lewis' OCD
-nature including Ellen Degeneres
and Rosie O'Donnell