Upon seeing the bile-spewing, assistant-firing, OCD-fueled "monster" captured by Bravo's unblinking TV cameras, Flipping Out star Jeff Lewis had something of an epiphany: Holy crap, I really was that guy with the screaming and the cat psychics and the 70 percent lemonade/20 percent punch/10 percent Sprite drink orders, wasn't I? Rather than blame the network's editors for making him into the most watchable reality TV star in recent memory, Lewis did the unthinkable: he apologized to his abused employees. [Ed.note—Audible gasp!] He tells the OC Register:
"When I got into it, I told the production company and the network to show all sides of me," he says over lunch at a Los Feliz restaurant the day after the second episode aired. "After all, I'm human. I have bad days, I have meltdowns, just like everybody else."
What he didn't expect was the way he felt once he saw himself in the unflattering mirror of his television.
"You can have people tell you how you are, but until you see yourself on a 40-inch plasma TV, you really can't know," says Lewis, 37, who grew up in Orange County.
And so he decided he had to change. [...]
Times were bad, both financially and personally. The cameras captured every tantrum.
"It brings back a period of my life that I'd rather not re-live," Lewis says. "And it's alwayson reruns. Zoila has it on her TV constantly. I walk by her room and hear myself screaming."
The way he has been portrayed, two episodes into the six-episode run, is not an exaggeration. "I really was, at that time, I was a monster," Lewis says.
"If nothing else, I've been able to watch myself and change."
He has apologized to his assistants - several times over.
"Last night, I watched the show with Jenni. And there came a point that I had my hands over my face. The part where I said, 'You wouldn't have a house if it wasn't' for me, you wouldn't eat if it wasn't for me.' And I apologized again."
We must admit to being more than a little disappointed by Lewis's outwardly healthy strategy for dealing with the harm he inflicted during those dark, TV-friendly days; hugs, apologies, and healed wounds would really interfere with the successful production of the second season we already find ourselves craving. Still, despite his above indications that he's trying to change his ways, we can hold out hope that Lewis is just experiencing a Paula Abdul-style psychological break, and that Evil Jeff will soon be calling up the LA Times to deny all the vicious lies being spread by his weak, conciliatory alter ego, and promising that "next time around, I'm going to bury one of my incompetent assistants underneath the gleaming hardwood floorboards of a four-bed/three-bath fixer in Beachwood Canyon."