“Flipping Out” over insults


I’ve never watched Bravo’s Flipping Out before, but my girlfriend is an interior designer who got hooked, and I’ve followed suit. For those not familiar, the reality show, now in its fifth season, follows designer Jeff Lewis and his team’s antics that range from re-designing ridiculously wealthy people’s already pretty nice digs, to making cracks about or with his live-in-maid Zoila — and yes, “flipping out,” mostly over little mistakes made by his design associate, Sarah.

So basically, there’s something for almost everyone. This week, there was even something for us: a big fat insult.

Jeff’s newest nightmare client, Stacey Farish, has a big problem with his assistant, Jenni. For no reason, because she seems like a really sweet lady, who reminds me of Julia Louis-Dreyfus.( And who doesn’t love Seinfeld?) Anyway, Stacey is rude and catty with Jenni from the very beginning, even accusing her of breaking her french door when the bottom molding sticks and prevents the door from closing completely. Right.

Later, when Stacey and Jeff are alone, Stacey expresses her surprise that Jenni is straight. “I totally thought she was gay,” she tells him. When Jeff is surprised, she further explains: “Well, she didn’t get hit with the pretty stick.”


That’s right. Lesbians aren’t attractive. Or seemingly unattractive women must be lesbians. 

Clearly, Stacey has issues that can only be addressed by a professional. She made several awkward TMI comments about what she had to do to get her husband to agree to increasing her remodeling budget, and then jokingly flirted with Jeff’s associate, Sarah. Example: sofa shopping, she sat on a love seat and told Sarah, “Come here, lover.” patting the cushion next to her. She’s a very confusing person.

What’s more confusing, though, is that Bravo didn’t seem to think there was an issue with her comments that blatantly insult lesbians. I know TV is all about the drama and the ratings, and it’s not like I can’t take a joke (you know, all lesbians have cats, wear plaid, don’t eat meat, err — all those do apply to me, but whatever), but Bravo is known for being really gay-friendly. Flipping Out, after all, is about a gay male designer and his mostly gay male employees and clientele. But they are allowing a stereotype to be perpetuated, and the double-standard we work hard to overcome stand: that gay men are exciting, entertaining and good at design, while lesbians are the ugly girls who just couldn’t get a man.

Opposite of “Bravo!”, Bravo!

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