The BlockSun 6:30pm/Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch9

Keith, Random Producer, Andrew.

Previously on The Block, Hump Week had it’s way with the contestants in a manner that was more ‘hump’ than ‘weak’. The budgetary purse-strings continued to tighten around the neck of the teams as they realise that spending lots of money eventually will leave you with not enough money. A lack of roof on Dale & Sophie’s house finally bit them on the arse as it rained a lot and “Ze tarps, zey do nuzzink…”. Tonight however, Dan & Dani prepare to throw in the towel as they have every other week they’ve been on The Block – but this time, they’re as serious as a demanding de facto. Also, Herr Keith manages to get under Andrew’s skin (No! Really?), and the tension built around the amount of work suggested to be left when Scotty whistles for tools down compared with what was actually left to do is closer to reality than ever before. Here comes another one… BOOM!

The day before reveal of the entrance hallway and guest bedroom, and everyone seems pretty comfortable they’ll achieve the rooms as they’re all still in bed when the cameras roll up. Dale has a special relationship with his alarm that is surprisingly better than the one he has with his girlfriend, considering one is a screeching noise at inconvenient times and the other is his alarm.

Dan & Dani wake to the revelation they’ve been to be at 3am the last couple of days, but special things are being fitted and expensive paintings are arriving. “You never know if you’re on schedule,” says Dan. “You get a better indication around midnight, but that’s mostly because the junkies start trying to steal stuff from your house and if they don’t stop by, you’re behind.”

For brothers Mike & Andrew, between them they’ve perfected the art of sleeping amidst the noise of building and today it’s Mike’s turn. “It doesn’t surprise me there was a building site going on around my head, considering I live on a building site,” says Mike with a gob-smacking moment of clarity. Andrew shows us just how far they’ve come in their bedroom and it looks decidedly like an uncoloured graphic effect – so not that far at all. Herr Keith is called to Mike & Andrew’s third room as there’s water pooling in the roof and the electrician won’t install the lights in the roof while there’s water there (where’s his sense of adventure?).

Keith blames Andrew’s tradies; Andrew blames Keith’s roofing guys. Thus begins the latest war on The Block – ROOFgate. The verbal stoush continues into the never-before-seen kitchen hidden away in the on-site Mitre 10 store out the back, with Keith refusing to back down. It moves out onto the street as Andrew attempts to give his side of the story to a producer, who ends up getting caught in the crossfire and has to walk out of shot.

“My Dad’s bigger than your Dad,” says Andrew sternly.
“Yeah, well your tradies are weak, so chuck ’em in the creek,” retorts Keith.
“You can’t blame my builder for the crap job your guys did,” yells Andrew.
“Boys are strong, like King Kong,” gibbers Keith.

Dani's not happy. Who'da thunk it?!

A random cyclist zips through shot. In the distance, a lone bird echoes it’s last call and falls to the ground dead. It’s 9:35am. End scene. ROOFGATE TENSION ALL THE THINGS!!!

The fight between Andrew and Keith is so important it stretches across the ad break and into the next segment. All the while, Mike sleeps on like some beauteous princess waiting for her prince to come and wake her with true love’s first kiss. Keith and Andrew manage to agree that all the water getting into the brother’s house is actually the fault of God and nick across the road to see Father Bob about blaming God. When that doesn’t work, they come back and agree that getting 35mm of rain overnight isn’t the easiest thing to combat and they should just move on and fix it. Mike continues to slumber. Worst. Argument resolution. Ever.

Brad & Lara have found time to catch a breather at the local sponsor’s cafe and plan their next move, which will pretty much involve Lara reading the electrician the riot act. “With two pendants there’s eight lights in this room,” she says, “And I wanted four.” The sparky offers that him offering his professional opinion has come back to bite him on the bum, and the penny’s finally dropped with Lara as to the nature of the relationship between home renovator and tradesman: “I want what I want and I’m paying so I should get what I want,” she says. She’s been spending too much time with Dani.

Lara’s dragged Brad out shopping, but for some reason he’s decided to wait in the car listening to sponsor’s ads and playing with a tape measure. By the time Lara returns 45 minutes later he has the complete internal dimensions of the car and is ready to install a fold-out bed, he’s picked the feature wall colour and has spoken with the electrician about installing six (not four) downlights. All this just so Lara could watch an upholsterer finish off their ‘artwork’. The least he could have done is caught on some sleep. Or done something humourous… ENTERTAIN US, BRAD! WE’RE NEEDY TOO!

Andrew’s gone shopping and managed to break up with the GPS in the process (it’s a relationship that was never going to last – they come from different backgrounds). Back at The Block Mike Van Winkle’s woken by the cameraman (true love’s first kiss can come from the most unexpected of places) and in his half-awake daze agrees to everything Keith says to him about fixing the water leak. “Just tell Andrew we’ve fixed it and to shut his mouth hole,” says the site foreman politely.

Dan & Dani's hall & stairs

There’s more shopping to be done for Brad & Lara, though he questions what normally takes her so long. “We’ve been out for, like, an hour, and I’ve picked a vastly inappropriate light fitting and the most god-awful decoration thing and we’re going back to The Block,” he says. “I don’t see why it’s so hard.” They get their spoils home and in a fit of madness hang the cloud-like fitting in the hallway. Delirious from shopping so quickly, Lara inexplicably agrees with Brad that it looks great there. The Judges will determine what looks great and doesn’t, young renovators.

Minor tension build: The site sparky is waiting for Andrew to return with the brother’s hallway light fixtures so he can install it, and if the older brother doesn’t make it back before tools down tonight it can’t be installed before the room reveal tomorrow. It’s all for naught as he arrives back with 20 minutes to go so the fitting is installed without issue. Stand down.

After their shopping experience with Queen Shaynna the Ever Gracious, Dale & Sophie are on song to complete their spaces with style this week. Their ‘Noodle-ier’ was found on the trip and takes pride of place in the hallway. All the ‘yucky stuff’ has been completed in the third bedroom so Sophie’s about to let rip with her styling eye while Dale continues to sand and finish the stair balustrade. How nice of her to let him do that for them both.

As Andrew shows Mike the spoils of his shopping trip, Mike has a pretty good idea Andrew’s spent a lot of money but Andrew won’t fess up. This role reversal thing has worked well for the brothers as they’ve instantly taken on the responses and affectations of the other. Cue flashback to last week intercut with this week and how the similar the two men are. There’s no time for sibling rivalry as that costs too much and there’s no room in the budget for it.

Dan & Dani are committed to staying up on the last night until everything’s done (but not before an attempted side gag by Dan sneaking over to Brad & Lara’s to investigate a “noise complaint” – they’re vacuuming), and doesn’t Dani look pleased about it. Obviously she’s not, but it was worth suggesting she was.

Brad & Lara's hall & stairs

Lionel Ritchie is dragged into the fray with Andrew deciding it would be a great idea if the contestants all recorded a clip, of sorts, to “All Night Long”. Because they have nothing else they should be doing. Brad storms out after the music isn’t ready the minute he’s ready to go, and the rest push on without him. Once it’s done, it’s back to work for everyone… except Brad & Lara who bunk down for the night, dreaming of 80’s latin-inspired pop rhythms and one special mustachioed singer.

The morning after the night before and the brothers have been up all night painting. Brad & Lara surface with a couple of small jobs to do, though Lara can barely keep her eyes open. Dale’s still painting while Sophie watches on, and over at Dan & Dani’s there’s just so many things to get done it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the enormity of it all. The lack of sleep has led the couple to be extra snarky towards each other, so that won’t create any problems in the coming hours. Like right now.

The stairs are painted and Dan’s installing the ‘funky’ zinc treads they purchased. Now Dani doesn’t like them. “We should have carpeted the stairs instead,” she says helpfully. “It’s nice to stand out in the crowd sometimes, but I think this time we’ve gone too far.”

Two hours to go and Mike’s just starting the first coat on the feature wall in their third bedroom. He lists the jobs that have to be completed in the time remaining:
1. Finish painting the feature wall.
2. Stop talking to the producers who are only there to slow us down.
3. Completely clean and style the bedroom.
4. Landscape the entire front area for no good reason.
5. Finish painting the hall.
6. Broker a peace deal between Keith and Andrew.
7. Sand and paint the balustrade for the hall stairs.
8. Collapse into bed and sleep for three weeks.
“It’s gonna be a tough couple of hours,” says Mike.

Dani’s in the depths of pre-reveal depression, while Dale & Sophie couldn’t be in a better position. So much better, in fact, that Dale’s vanished but Donger’s turned up to help. All while Sophie watches on. Again. Donger’s got a lot of time on his hands though, as he spends most of his time putting the hard word on Sophie. “For one more derro to have a crack, it’s no big drama,” says Dale. I predict a showdown between Dale & Donger before the end of the series.

Mike & Andrew's hall & stairs

One hour to go. Dan & Dani are removing the tape they put down before painting and it’s taking the paint up with it. It pushes Dan into a self-defeating shame spiral which brings out the angry Annie in Dani. She’s vacuuming th stairs which aren’t looking anything like what they wanted. Which was a gold-plated staircase lined with spare cash.

Mike & Andrew are furiously cleaning and working to finish things off, noting the bed’s still not in the room or made, but they’re powering on in spite of the obvious obstacles. “It’ll be tight, but we’ll get it done,” says Mike, thinking of that time he and Andrew completed something else difficult but had a lot more time available to them. AS the final minutes race by the chippies have been co-opted to help make the bed just to get things done. Yes, they’re that desperate.

Scotty arrives and it’s tools down. The teams emerge sheepishly into the street knowing that this week near enough will not have been good enough. With the weekly sleep check done (Brad & Lara got three or four; Sophie got “a couple”; everyone else zero) Scotty asks how they think they all went. Dan offers he reckons they’ll be the Chumps this week, but quickly withdraws the claim after laughs all round and a death stare extraordinaire from Dani. Next week it’s Dani competing with a pillar of salt that bears a striking resemblance to Dan.

This week’s judging panel consists of Neale Whittaker & Queen Shaynna of the Blaze, and johnny-come-lately Darren Palmer. Scotty unleashes them on the houses with passing “Earn your keep!”, and for some reason the judges decide to work in reverse order. I blame that Palmer fellow with all his Generation Y, “do what you feel” ways.

Starting therefore in Dan & Dani’s house, the judges like the colour palette, the pictures and the light fitting, but are not sold on what the couple did in replacing the much fought over arch. Nor do they like the black stairs with zinc treads. “It looks like contact rolled out on the stairs,” says Darren. Queen Shaynna notes that the couple would have been leaning on the zinc to be the feature piece of the stairs and hallway, but that it has been executed perfectly. Just like her last traitorous minion. The judges love the wallpaper in the bedroom but note the artwork doesn’t work with it.

Dale & Sophie's hall & stairs

Moving to Brad & Lara’s house, and all three judges are taken with the archway. They also love the feature light, with Neale offering, “That’s a new take on the chandelier, and I like it.” Not one judge mentions how good the smoke alarm looks – all that effort towards a safer house for nothing. The like that the integrity of the house has been preserved in the hallway, and as they move into the bedroom Her Lady of the Throw Pillows is impressed with the styling touches. Of course Neale likes the palm tree poof that Brad found. Darren makes specific note of the six downlights in the roof and that the electrician obviously had a hand in the lighting schedule for the room. Note to Lara: stick to your guns with the sparky next time.

Into the house of Mike & Andrew. The brothers have worked hard to deliver a strong room, and the judges are struck by how stark the white is without any artwork. Mr Wow Factor(tm) notes there’s just no wow when you walk into the place, further muddying the definition of what exactly “wow” is. The judges moved to the bedroom after Queen Shaynna decides she’s bored with the hallway, which she’s right to be as there’s nothing of interest there. Andrew accuses Mike of being a wanker as he describes the colour palette they used in the bedroom – cut to Neale saying how much he likes the colour choices for the room. They judges don’t like all the birds or the amount of cushions(!), but everything else comes up trumps.

Finally Dale & Sophie’s house gets a look in. The ‘Noodle-ier’ is a clear winner for the judges, with Queen Shaynna declaring it has personality, while Mr Wow Factor(tm) adding it has Wow Factor(tm). The feature brick wall has come up a great, while the carpet on the stairs also gets praise. Coming into the bedroom Darren is quite taken with the Jackalope bust hanging on the wall. Queens Shaynna loves the wallpaper, while Neale just loves everything so much he wants to marry it. The sense of whimsy and fun is what caps off the room for all the judges. I think we have our winners, folks.

The teams gather to hear what the judges thought, with each team acknowleding they need to win for the cash for their budgets. Scotty congratulates the teams on the effort thus far, and notes the diminishing budgets so is pleased to announce the winners today will get $5,000 to add to their coffers. The feedback is honest, with key learnings for everyone:
Dale & Sophie: The judges felt very welcome in the home today. The rooms were considered to be joyful, funny, contemporary and perfectly styled.
Mike & Andrew: Good job with the staircase, and the judges were impressed with the carpets and lighting, BUT it all looked unfinished. The judges loved the colour palette in the bedroom but not taken with tall the bird motifs. The styling was a bit daggy.
Brad & Lara: Hallway = gorgeous. The judges liked the lampshade as it made the hallway feel very special. The bedroom was also nice and the attention to detail was fantastic.
Dan & Dani: The judges liked all the elements used in the hallway, including the zinc tread and black stairs BUT the judges just didn’t like all the elements put together. On the archway: “What were you thinking?!” The judges were far more impressed with the efforts in the bedroom, suggesting that the touches here should be a guide when re-visiting the hallway.

Look at the scoreboard!

The all important scores are where it’s at, and after revealing Queen Shaynna & Darren’s scores, Dale & Sophie are clear leaders on 18, ahead of Brad & Lara on 15.5 and Mike & Andrew on 13.5, with Dan & Dani on 12.5. Dani looks like she’s been smacked in the face by Will Smith. Scotty goes dark to add Neale’s scores, and before revealing the outcome asks Dale & Sophie if they want to use their bonus point. With their clear lead they opt to not use it, which is smart as the board turns around to reveal…
(Shaynna; Darren; Neale; Total):
Dale & Sophie: 9 + 9 + 9 = 27.
Mike & Andrew: 6.5 + 7 + 6.5 = 20.
Brad & Lara: 7.5 + 8 + 7.5 = 23.
Dan & Dani: 6 + 6.5 + 6.5 = 19.

Congratulations to Dale & Sophie on their first room win on The Block! The couple are understandably buoyant at taking the win and the $5,000 for their budget. Commiserations to Dan & Dani who are crowned this week’s chumptastic Chump-ions. Dani’s pretty dark on the staircase and archway, while Dan claims it to be a “hopeless week”.

Scotty reminds Dan that he predicted that morning they’d be this week’s Chumps, and on their coronation Dan announces he and Dani already have plans to “fix up” their stairs and arch. Scotty laughs that this week it’ll mean they’re doing all of this week’s stuff AND last week’s stuff. Oh the hilarity at not being the one to do it.

The week ahead holds many pitfalls. This week the teams will be working on the rest of the staircase, the room above AND the rooftop terrace. With another 3 rooms to deliver this week it’s gonna be chaotic (Dan instantly announces the stairs will stay the way they are). Brad notes the producers have missed the point of hump week by making things harder instead of peaking and now cruising to the finish. With budgets tighter than a starlet’s grasp on her handbag at the Logies, this week on The Block is going to hurt so good.