The Block – Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch9
It’s an early morning looking at shots from the latest Victorian Tourism commercial: rowers on the Yarra; Punt Road with traffic moving on it; a St Kilda local heading out to pawn their first flat screen TV for the day. Everyone’s had a late night painting, so everything should run smoothly this week given how on target everyone is. Enter: Keith. “We’ve got 4,000 bricks coming this morning,” he says. “That digestive biscuit really worked a treat.”
The brick truck arrives – an hour early – and everyone puts down their tools and races into the street to celebrate the miracle. SOMETHING RELATING TO BUILDING A HOME THAT HAPPENED BEFORE WE NEEDED IT TO! Then Keith commandeers some of the tradies to help clear the site so the bricks can be put onsite, much to the disgust of the the tradies. Andrew & Mike’s builder has words with the site foreman after he asks for some help to clear the place up. Supreme Warlord Keith wins. Natch.
Dani’s on the warparth after their site has been disrespected leading to their yet-to-be-installed downstairs toilet seat becoming cracked thanks to carelessness from random tradies. “It’s not good enough,” she says, “But on the plus side I get to go shopping again.” Mike & Andrew’s mirror copped a battering as well so they’ll have to replace that too at some point. To make matters worse, one of the key features of the brother’s bedroom – the marble desktop – looks like it won’t make it this week either. “20 hours to go and we don’t have a desktop for the desk,” says Mike. “Of course that’s our entire plan, but Andrew made me promise not to tell you. Shit, I’ve done it again, haven’t I? This is why I don’t do many of these pieces to camera.”
The wardrobe at Dan & Dani’s place is progressing, the sparky is all but done, the plumber is due in an hour, and Dani’s out shopping. “It doesn’t get any better than this, does it?” smiles Dan. Dani arrives back and she’s in quite the rush, and a filthy mood to boot. Her detailed eye is unhappy with the way the wardrobe is installed, and she can’t find Dan (who’s out the back sucking on a sponsor’s shake) to complain to him. Dan offers to fix all the issues Dani has identified, but that’s not enough to soothe this savage beast. Heaven forbid the room start to look too small.Everything’s falling into place for Brad & Lara – painting’s almost done, carpet’s being laid, a with a few finishing touches, “I *think* we might get some sleep tonight,” says Lara. She’s encouraged Brad into a health kick to improve his fitness (as he used to be a first grade rugby league player but his fitness has fallen away somewhat since retiring), and has secretly arranged for him to take part in a training session with the Melbourne Storm NRL club. “I hope he’s excited – they’re turning it all on for him: they’re giving him a full outfit, he’s getting a tattoo sleeve, and the team are arranging private kickbacks from sponsors off the books so that they remain under the salary cap.” Brad has a great time, but on The Block there’s always renovating to be done. Besides… nobody once offered for Brad to join in any form of group sexual encounter.
The interesting thing about Dale & Sophie’s bedroom is they’re sticking with their trademark ‘shitty chic’ look, so naturally Sophie’s out shopping for chic shit. Dale, meanwhile, is back onsite and cleaning up a table Sophie found. She expressly told him she didn’t want it sanded back. “If I’d have wanted a new table, I would have gotten a new table and distressed it so that it looked like an old table,” says Sophie. NO. SANDING.
So he sands it.
Oops. Andrew’s forgotten to arrange the holes in his glass desk backing for power and data, so he asks his sparky to move them and another set of points pretty please. “Just another day on The Block, really,” says the Electrician. “If only I was charging them what I charge you lot, they’d be reconsidering all these last minute changes.” At least he realises he’s only being asked at the tenth hour and not the eleventh. That’s when the going gets tough, and the tough get invoicing.
In an attempt to smooth things over with his girlfriend, Dan’s decided to arrange a romantic dinner for he and Dani. It starts with Dan doing what he does best: hunting and gathering. “Me find meat. Me pleased,” grunts Dan after he tracks down his triceratops rib for the special dinner. He also smashes through a flower shop and somehow walks out with flowers stuck to him in a manner that might look appealing when arranged in a box. “Dani like?” Dan asks the cameraman. The camera shakes and Dan blunders off into The Block.
Sophie’s back from shopping with a boot full of firewood. “It’s to go above the bed head to create an extra fire hazard within the house,” she offers. “It’ll also come in handy if the prospective buyers belong to the local witch’s coven.” Inside, Dale is busy sanding back the table that must not be sanded. She who must not be named is gob-smacked he’s gone against her wishes and suddenly, “Avada Kedavra!” – a green bolt of lightening streaks across the room and strikes Dale dead. In Sophie’s mind at least. “It’s just the top, it’s not the end of the world,” offers Dale barely sympathetically. “Sophie couldn’t know anything, could she?” mumbles Sophie rhetorically as she storms upstairs. At least we agree on something.The glass arrives for Mike & Andrew and it fits a treat. They’ve also received word their marble bench top will be ready and delivered two hours before room reveal. That’s cutting things finer than Andrew’s grasp on reality. Dan’s hard at work fixing all the things Dani has found wrong with the room so far. This is why he’s fixing ALL THE THINGS. Dani, meanwhile is… where is she? No, that can’t be right, she never does that! Who woulda thunk it: Dani’s out shopping, and spending $1,000 on a high-backed armchair for the room(!!!). “There’s no stop-ping us right now,” she sings on the way back in the car. There are many ways you could be stopped, Dani, not least of which include taking away the credit cards and slapping a paintbrush in your ungrateful hand.
On Dani’s return, the room lights are up and Dani’s concerned everything’s too big – everything except her demands. “It won’t even fit the $1,000 chair I’ve just purchased to go in here that I haven’t told you about,” she offers with a sigh. Nothing’s going Dani’s way, so Dan hopes more than ever that his romantic efforts will pay dividends. Just as long as she doesn’t act like the rest of her species does and rip the head off her partner after mating. “It’s like we’re being punished,” says Dani, now so beaten down not even a ritual sacrifice would perk her up. Well, not a standard ritual sacrifice anyway. Remember Sophie’s got some wood to start the pyre.
Dan has managed to drag Dani offsite so that his partners in crime, Dale & Brad (aka Dumb & Dumberer) can set up for the big surprise dinner. They’re consummate romantics. “He must be strugglin’ if he’s gotta pull out all these stops,” says a wizened Brad. “Yeeeeeah,” drawls Dale. They set up the table, flowers, champagne & candles, and role-play what will happen when Dan returns with his partner. Brad (playing Dan) leads a blindfolded Dale (playing Dani) in to show him all he’s prepared for her. “I can’t believe I’m sharing this with the paintball champion of The Block,” says Dale/Dani. The boys embrace and then, still holding each other, hold a lingering stare into each other’s eyes. They know this is a special moment only they will share. Brad & Dale kiss tenderly with only the chorus of bleating sheep on the mountain to seranade them. An unexpected love amidst the chaos of renovation. Coming soon to theatres – Block-back Mountain.
The team from House 4 return and Dan surprises Dani with the prepared surroundings. “What is this?” she asks bewildered. “Dan hunt and kill for Dani. Dan king of House 4,” he says. “Awwwww,” says Dani. Dan revels the steak he’s arranged to be prepared for her and Dani asks “Is that a whole animal?”. What a perfect couple. They enjoy a romantic candlelight dinner, and after an awkard question from Dani asking if Dan was going to propose, the couple excuse themselves and race upstairs. 5 minutes later we see cigarettes being lit in silhouette through the front curtains and a muffled male voice ask, “Want to go round again?” Mission accomplished.
The morning of delivery day and it’s situation normal for Mike & Andrew – no sleep last night and minimal the night before, and has Mike flying around the bedroom thinking he’s a hummingbird. Andrew’s in flatpack hell but he knows he’s got 2 hours to finish that, dress the room, write a speech for the King of Finland and make his next move in the ongoing game of Risk that is African politics. STOP PRESS: Dani is seen ACTUALLY doing some renovation-type work within their house – she’s touching up the painting on the ceiling. At least it *could* be her, but the grab was so quick it likely could have been a producer standing in so the camera man could get an establishing shot. Allegedly she’s only had a couple hours sleep (said the priest to the nun… eh? eh?!) and there’s still so much to be done in their rooms. Like change all the things Dani doesn’t like about the bedroom this morningBrad & Lara are woken by Mike fixing something into their shared brick wall, which they later discover to be a fold-out toilet. It’s frantic froofing and tjuzing across all four houses. Andrew reveals their secret weapon for the week – a four year old called Milan they bought on eBay. He’s delivered her into their slave labour camp they call House 2 so she can help finish the room, and Milan starts by finger painting on the wall. “It’s really quite lovely,” says Andrew, “And though we’ve been guaranteed an excellent buy-back price for her, I think she’ll make a nice permanent addition to the room once we freeze her in carbonite.” Thank goodness for the internet.
With 10 minutes to go the marble desktop the brothers have been sweating on arrives and gets installed with literally 300 seconds to spare. With everything in place and wiped twice, Scotty sounds his whistle indicating “tools down” (which sounds remarkably like his call for a site meeting) and the teams assemble on the street. They’re so well trained, though Dale still needs a whack over the nose with a rolled-up newspaper from time to time. Scotty greets them with a smile and a chipper “Good morning!” and then sends the teams off for a sleep. How is this allowed to happen? Surely sleep is for the weak and will only lead to sensible decision making?
The judges are welcomed to The Block and this week John’s back to join Neale, but WHERE HAS QUEEN SHAYNNA THE MAGNIFICENT GONE? She’s been usurped by the Editor-In-Chief of House & Garden magazine Lisa Green. This treason shall not be tolerated. I’ll bet it was that McGrath fellow… he looks to be a shady character AND he’s a real estate agent to boot. Who can trust them? I mean, really.
Starting in Dale & Sophie’s bedroom, the judges are impressed with the marijuana garden the couple have started in the bookcase. “I think the room has a nice feel,” says Neale, “Which is enhanced by just how cooked I am after rolling my own spliff from the accoutrements available.” The woman usurper says something but no one really listens. Conveniently the room “feels restful” which therefore makes it an accurate representation of a place to sleep. The desk isn’t a winner with any of the three judges. They stick their nose in on the powder room and disturb a random young starlet doing a line of something on the vanity. She’d thought it was a Logies bathroom. Neale manages to contradict himself from start to finish – not liking it at the start and by the end admitting it’s smart and functional (It’s just a toilet, Neale). “Man am I ever hungry,” says John. “Got any cheezels?”
Moving into the Kid’s room that Mike & Andrew have created the judges think it’s a hit. That’s a MASSIVE TV in the kids room and all John can do it stand two feet away from it, stare and say “Woah”. The TV allows the room to adapt as the child matures into a teenager and decides they hate the world and all they want to do is sit in their room and play World of Warcraft. There’s lots of nice touches they judges are taken with and very few negatives. The downstairs powder room is in keeping with the ensuite the boys delivered upstairs last week, though the finishing touches are lacking by comparison (the mirror being the most glaring of ill-fitting items). Mike flys by in full hummingbird mode. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.The House 3 Green team have pulled everything back after a roof debacle & WWIII with Keith over the powder room vent. They managed to deliver their rooms and the judges think it’s pretty good, though John isn’t taken with their half wall/bed head. The walk-in robe is considered a smart idea to use the space, though the dressing of both rooms is considered to be under-done (“needs more books”). The room finishes are considered a success by consensus due to their high quality, though John is sitting in the corner, eyes glazed, sniggering at the way the sheets are folded. The smart toilet in the powder room with integrated sink above the cistern draws strong praise in these water-efficient-if-impractical-to-use times. Don’t let Sophie see it – she’ll freak out having to stand over the toilet to wash her hands.
Over in the love nest that is Dan & Dani’s house the guest bedroom has been met with a determined positivity by the judges. “The wall colour, even though it’s closed it in, has given it a real richness,” says Neale, who is taking all sort of risks & liberties with his temporary freedom from Her Majesty Queen Shaynna. The styling helps set the room off, and Neale indicates he’d like to jump into the bed – no mention of who with. John is starting to come out of his haze and smiles politely but nods to decline Neale’s offer. Dan & Dani’s toot adds to the overall picture for the couple and John admits that this, like every other week, is a tough decision so they should all nick off to The Press Club to discuss it over lunch on Channel 9’s coin. Without the leadership of Queen Shaynna this group of “judges” are rudderless and insipid, so how they actually made a decision is beyond this commentator.
The bells are rung, division is called and the teams assemble above Scotty’s Workshop to hear the feedback from the alleged judging panel. The winners this week get the “quality” award and $5,000 to go towards their budget for the remaining rooms, and the notes given are generally encouraging:
Dale & Sophie: The room is friendly and happy, and they all like the bunny light BUT the judges felt the room was overstyled. The powder room was considered strong, functional & able to lift it’s own weight in toilet paper.
Mike & Andrew: Very clever use of space in the bedroom, using both the horizontal and vertical of the room yet somehow completely forgetting the Z-axis. The big TV was risky though it paid off BUT the marble desk was an odd choice. The powder room lacked the final detail of other weeks.
Brad & Lara: It’s a boutique hotel, and the walk-in robe is any woman’s dream. The bed head to divide the room is risky and won’t appeal to all buyers, least of all nudists. The water-saving loo with built-in basin was a great idea and theirs was the best finished powder room of all teams.
Dan & Dani: The colour choice was a bold move that added a cosy feeling that was loved by the judges. The bedside table was excellent BUT the room would have been better with tables plural, and a complete re-design. Everything was too big, especially the phallus John found in the bedroom wardrobe but he thanked them nonetheless for the surprise. The powder room was considered efficient and well presented.
Along with Scotty’s trademark ability to draw out the scoring beyond what anyone considers reasonable, he delivers Neale & John’s scores publicly, which at that stage has Mike & Andrew and Dan & Dani tied on 15.5 points each, followed by Brad & Lara on 15 and Dale & Sophie on 14. Scotty goes dark, and after some kidding around and what felt like could have been at least one ad break, steps back out to ask if those with bonus points want to use them. Dale & Sophie opt to not, but Dan & Dani *DO* use their bonus point. They’re nervous and don’t want to lose, particularly if it only comes down to one point. After adding the one point to the score (which seems to take an inordinately long time – it’s just one point, mate), Scotty spins the board to reveal the scores (Neale; John; Lisa; Total):
Dale & Sophie: 7 + 7 + 7.5 = 21.5.
Mike & Andrew: 7.5 + 8 + 7.5 = 23.
Brad & Lara: 7.5 + 7.5 + 7 = 22.
Dan & Dani: 8 + 7.5 + 7 + 1 bonus point = 23.5.
Next week the teams are working on their master bathroom “and… good luck with that”. Guffaws all round until the contestants realise that this won’t be a walk in the park – and it’ll likely cost a bomb, too. The teams head back to get started knowing full well the week will be interrupted by at least two day long challenges plus numerous interruptions by Keith, poking his meddling nose in. In a shock twist Sophie is expected to use power tools and, shrugging off any help from Dale, manages to hurt herself. Go figure. If only people listened to little old Sophie.