The BlockMon-Fri 7pm, Ch9

Meet Rana & Brett - the pretty ones

Previously, eight teams arrived in Melbourne for good coffee and a diverse cultural experience. Oh, and the Block. Tonight, it’s all up in the family grills with the last place up for grabs – Mother and son team Brett & Rana (Vic) take on brothers Michael & Andrew (NSW). Apparently it’s a two horse race, but there’ll be only one winner – Black Caviar, natch.

Andrew & Michael arrive to the strains of their audition video reminding us they are renovation guns. They’ve got form, but do they have a design eye? Brett & Rana’s audition video point out Brett’s a tradie and Rana’s an interior design specialist. This looks to be the best match up yet (not hard only four episodes in, but you’re picking up what I’m putting down).

Scott delivers the brief, and the teams are go. Why are no teams turning their rooms into a kitchen or bathroom? Slackers. They’re really not trying hard enough. “If I can give you one bit of advice for this challenge: think outside the square,” says Scott, “And don’t leave a mess because I have to clean up after you.” Rana throws down the gauntlet right from the get go, but Michael isn’t afraid of no girl. The teams get into their room to reveal the judges, as an inspiration item, have left them… an ad break. Fitting, really.

IT seems “Idiot Recap Syndrome” has continued across all reality TV series this year, so there’s a good 15 minutes you can save should you watch the episode via catch up. In the rooms the teams have been left a 3 drawer tall boy – black/white for the boys (who choose a sitting room) and pink/white for Mother and Son – the Beare family (who, after much deliberation, agree it’s too hard to decide).

Mike & Andrew came prepared with magazine clippings that are colour coded for just such an occasion (oh, how fun their Friday nights must be). Brett & Rana head out to get paint for their magical mystery room while Mike & Andrew are yet to leave the house as they’re still picking style and colours. It’s no big issue as Brett & Rana can’t work the GPS but eventually make it to the flooring store and pick a timber floor after selecting a carpet that isn’t in stock. The brothers arrive as the Beares leave, though Rana doubles back to attempt to put them off by saying Scott is calling them all back to the house. It doesn’t work on any level – the brothers don’t bite and Rana isn’t revealed as a jokester.

Meet Mike & Andrew - the pretty ones

The brothers race from one shop to the next and pretty much have the main things they need organised in the first two hours. Rana meanwhile is bitching to Brett as they travel to the next shop… and we still don’t know what kind of room they’re delivering. It doesn’t matter, as Brett’s been dropped off at home to paint so Rana be shopping. She is cracking reality TV fodder though, as she spends the next minute talking to herself in the car like a producer just asked her a question. That, or her medication hasn’t kicked in today and she’s talking to the dead people again.

A Tram! We must be in Melbourne! Rana’s wallpaper shopping now to make a feature wall and the saleslady is right on board with her. “It’ll really bring the wow factor,” says the saleslady. Neale Whittaker slides past in the background and gives Saleslady a very rude stare for breaching his intellectual property.The boys are changing up their order to save some money – the clock’s ticking and money’s running out. The boys race back to Mitre 10 to collect their paint, but still running around whilst Brett is a painting mad man. By 5pm the brothers just make it back to the Red House to collect their furniture delivery and start painting… just in time for Scott to pop in and make fun of one of their feature chairs being delivered in the wrong colour.

There’s no pretence with Scott – just a typical, laconic ex-tradie who wishes he was Gok Wan.

Mike & Andrew explain their idea to Scott, noting that because it’s a sitting room there won’t be a TV. After all not many people have TV’s. Scott notes that if they didn’t he’d be out of a job. SACRILEGE!!! THERE IS NO WAY THESE BROTHERS CAN WIN AFTER DISREGARDING THE ENTIRE REASON THEY ARE EVEN INVOLVED IN THIS CHALLENGE!!! Who do they think they are? TV critics from a competing internet website?

Scott visits Brett to find him painting and Rana still out in the car talking to herself. She hates the city. Rana’s living in a whole different world, after realising she’s gone shopping while all the shops are still closed, though a rug store was open and nothing says planning like an expensive impulse rug purchase that blows the budget to bits. Nice work, ma! The Beares are in a bit of a pickle.

The brothers are furiously painting and seem to be pretty much caught up to the Beares… the floor guys in tomorrow for both teams which (remembering the wallpaper) will and won’t be a problem depending on which team you’re on. Also: FAINTGATE cometh!

The teams arrive ready for a big second day. Playful even. Brett knows they are in for a bit of a challenge and it’ll come down to the last 10 minutes for them. Mike & Andrew have a plan; Brett has a pain who heads to the yard to start making the wallpaper feature frames for their room, but can’t find the release for the dropsaw. Oh the hilarity at Scott sitting by, reading the paper, watching “the woman” struggle with “the man’s tool”. Eventually he overcomes his misogyny and shows her how to release it (“If you don’t know how to work it what hope have I got,” says Rana), and it’s on with the cutting.

Brett & Rana's room is very pink, innit?

With floors being installed, Mike is outside working on his flat pack feature lamp (renovating hint: if you’re not sure what to call a piece, make it a “feature” item) and scoring all sorts of snark from Rana. If only he’d been outside 15 minutes ago when she couldn’t get the dropsaw working. Rana’s got game but nothing to back it up – she’d be an interesting addition to the Block, that’s for sure. Andrew’s panic buying the dressing items and races back to the Red House while Rana walks around the shops looking like a homeless person wanting to make the pinkest room in the world ever.

Brett & Rana’s couch has arrived, but no wallpaper. Brett can’t raise her on the mobile, but why should she care – she’s shopping in places where you don’t buy flat packs. “Now I have to get home and put all this together,” she says. Oh, the Alanis Morrisette-inspired irony. When Rana does call the wallpaper still hasn’t arrived – with 3 hours to go Rana’s about to go stressballs on Saleslady who is delivering it. The paper arrives before Rana; and Andrew arrives back with all the bits to dress the brother’s room. 60 minutes to go.

There’s DRAMA +5 in the Beare’s room as the frames for the wallpaper features aren’t lining up, and Brett’s made five holes in the wall trying to get one side of the curtain rod hung. Five. 30 minutes left and they leave that (and the holes) and run around dressing their room. When Scott announces eight minutes left, Michael runs off to get some apples and oranges to help dress the room. Actually RUNS off to get them, and when he returns almost collapses next to Scott (who kindly reminds him not to faint holding a stanley knife). The seconds count down and both teams have managed to deliver the rooms they pictured in their head. When asked how it felt Rana offered “I’d rather give birth actually” than do a room reno like that in 24 hours again. She knows that the Block is this on steroids, right?

Website – check. Judges – check. Opinions and vast generalisations – check. Starting in Brett & Rana’s room, the judges are critical but not turned off. “It’s scary to think the judges are sitting in our room with our fate in their hands,” offers Brett in a rare moment of clarity that isn’t interrupted by his Mum. Neale acknowledges straight up all they’ve done is take the colour cue rather than the style or vibe cue (they mustn’t have opened the top drawer – surprise!). Scott’s job is to point out all the flaws and so draws the attention of the judges to the holes in the wall with no fittings. Queen Shaynna likes the coffee table and how it works with the inspiration piece, which has Scott all in a tizz – “I’ll never work this game out,” he says.

As the judges enter Michael & Andrew’s room, the boys admit they didn’t want to do anything that was too masculine. Job done on that, boys. Two snaps. Neale expected more, but sees a very paired back feel. Queen Shaynna loves the conversation pit feel, and John is quite taken with the level of detail in the dressing of the room. Queen Shaynna notes that the boys love pairs in their dressing, but that it could all go “pear-shaped”. Boom tish. Scott notes the two things he likes in the room are the two things the judges think are superfluous. Stick to… whatever it is you’re doing now, Scotty.

"We wanted to make sure we didn't go too butch" - mission accomplished.

With the final two teams assembled out the back to hear their fate, Scott is pleased to let them know the judges have a decision. He notes it came down to the last minute for both teams but they got the job done and did it well. “But of course, the judges don’t care what I think,” says Scott. The contestants laugh in what might be seen as a slightly mean if accurate responsive gesture. The judgement is dragged out, and given what Scott’s just detailed in the design, execution and delivery it’s no surprise that the brothers, Michael & Andrew, will be moving into the Block for 2012 as the final team to compete (Faintgate and all). Yes Rana, this was your failure.

Both teams embrace, and the pressure of the last 24 hours catches up with both teams. Bye bye Brett & Rana, we’ll see you in challenges to come. As for Michael & Andrew they’re exhausted but excited to have made it to through to the opportunity to exhaust themselves daily and deliver a fully renovated and landscaped flat in ten weeks. They’ll join Dan & Dani, Brad & Lara and Dale & Sophie in the renovational fight of their reality television lives.

But before that – the four teams have to compete to see who gets to choose which flat and in what order, so here we come St Kilda’s Luna Park…