Excess BaggageMon-Thu 7pm, Ch9.

"Even the sign is telling us to look out..."

We’re still in Taswegia, and hopefully everyone has had a Bex and a good lie down and is ready to play nice today. Oh, that’s right – it’s the Breakthrough Challenge where today three teams will abseil 140m down the wall of the Gordon Dam. DAMN.

Team Yellow (Christine & Nathan), Team Blue (K-Fed & Renae) and Team Green (Gabby & Ben) are the ones selected to have a go. Christine’s confident when she sees it she’ll freak out but calm down and get into it. Sucked in everyone else, you’re off to train with Christian all day. As the Dam teams arrive, Dr Tim is there to help them through it. “What would it be like, how would it change your life?” he asks. Gabby then recounts a time her step-Dad went abseiling and got the ropes wrong and ended up dangling at the end of the rope – she hopes it doesn’t run in the family. Everyone else is going to their ‘safe’ places too. A place of complete terror. At least with all the contestants wearing their colour-coded helmets so if they need to find their heads after they fall they’ll easily be able to find which body it used to connect to.

Of course none of the contestants have realised once they’ve abseiled down they have to climb up 140m of stairs. JOKE IS ON THEM! K-Fed is first over the edge of the dam and somehow last to get to the ground – quite and achievement considering there’s only one rope/harness setup. Nathan, Ben and Christine are all freaking out while the blue team go over the edge (turns out there’s actually two harness dealies). Renae is loving it, and loves calling Ben “Benny” far too much. K-Fed’s confident he can do anything now he’s completed the challenge, so he immediately takes up faberge egg collecting. Team Blue nail it, and Kate is there to celebrate with them.

At the end of the pedal powered challenge Christian has for the other teams is a nice little picnic. ZAP! Back to the dam and Ben still worried sick about stepping over the railing. Team Green get strapped in and Gabby’s straight over the edge, and coaxes Ben over too. He totally mans up and steps over. Everyone is very encouraging, and in no time he’s sitting on his rope and ready to go. He and Gabby make their way to the bottom, where you’d think he’d just abseiled down 140m of dam wall. Hooray!

Once the pedal-powered teams make it to the end, John gathers them all in and announces it’s Christian’s 30th birthday. SURPRISE! There’s also cake. SURPRISE! The cake is cursed. SURPRISE! The cake comes with a free frozen yoghurt called ‘forghurt’. SURPRISE! Half slices all round. Ajay tricks Christian into a kiss on the lips, and not one person turns into a princess. What sort of frog is she (and for that matter, what sort of princess is Christian)?? “He’ll be washing that off for a month,” laughs John. POW! Back at the dam it’s Team Yellow’s turn and they know they can’t back down as the other two teams have completed the challege successfully.

Christine and Nathan are both struggling getting over the edge to start with, but it’s Christine who has gotten all teary just in attempting to get over the railing. Panic attacks at 140m above the ground can’t be fun. Trying to coax Christine to start the descent Nathan jibes, “Come on, Christine, if we don’t start now I’ll never has kids.” Someone should remind Nathan he may also need a donor womb. It’s a real breakthrough for Christine as she realises how much she’s been kidding herself over how confident she has not been. Kate surprises the team with no stairs home – they’ll be lifted to the top by special L Ron Hubbard “magic”.

Christian takes Team Grey (Brant & John) for a walk and tells Brant straight – the booze isn’t helping and neither is the smoking. Brant seems to think that Christian is preaching to the converted and it’s John who’s in trouble. Uh-oh – contractual obligation issues. Back at the house Christian has a chat with Lana who’s been a bit aggro with others of late. He sees great potential in Lana but she doesn’t recognise it. It’s tough for Lana as she’s not sure how to channel her feelings of bitterness and regret to turn it into positive opportunities. Christian assures her she can do it. Hugs all round.

The teams come back together and share they joys and challenges of the day, and everyone is surprisingly honest, tears and all. The personal videos are most precious from Christine, Nathan and Ben as they share how they feel like they’ve really achieved something and marked a turning point in their lives. As kitschy as it may seem, THIS is why Excess Baggage rocks.

My Kitchen RulesMon-Thu 7:30pm, Ch7

How cute are those aprons?!

Here we go, people. It’s Valentine’s Day and we’re in Tasmania. Let the incest jokes commence. Team Tas (Megan and Andy) live in Four Mile Creek on the east coast of Tassie, and as sales reps they know how to “seal the deal”. They look so cute in their matching aprons: “Tas” & “Mania”. Must be that new NBA player’s brother – they’re big NBA fans for an average couple from Tasmania. Andy’s mum influenced him a lot in cooking, and conveniently so has Megan. SHE COULD BE THE ONE AND THE SAME.

Their menu reflects the best of Tasmania: Entree – Crispy Skin Rainbow Trout; Main – Wild Rabbit, Chorizo & Mushroom Ragout; Dessert – Apple Tarte Tatin with home-made vanilla bean ice cream. Through the clever use of smoke signals, Manu tells us that rainbow trout and Tasmania go hand in hand. I wish someone vetted these immigrants before they came… fish have fins, dummy! Pete says, “Wow! Lots going on in there. I wonder how they are gonna present this?” We all hope on a plate of some form.

Megan & Andy get home with 30 minutes to prepare their instant restaurant, “Baggy Green”. This refers mostly to Andy’s scrotum and partially to their joint love of cricket. Which explains both the balls and the bats separately. Gary thinks Team Tas are the dark horses, and Team WA thinks what you see is what you get. It’s like they can see through the TV into their home. Prep time starts, and Megan is straight onto dessert, like the cooking demon she is. “It’s all about getting the pastry right,” she says, but isn’t so confident with Andy’s vanilla bean ice cream especially when she spies him returning from the toilet with a bowl and sheepish look.

Andy’s a big rabbit fan, and knows he has to start cooking ASAP. But the grapefruit salad causes friction in Team Tas – it may overpower the entire entree. The BONG BONG rings and Andy doesn’t even have the rabbit in the oven. Sacre bleu! Megan hopes everyone is impressed with their table setting just as Team Qld’s Peter notes that, “Cricket is the most BORING sport.” He’s a lover, not a fighter. It’s chaos back in the kitchen as the hosts know they have to get the rabbit in the oven before the peacocks arrive at the front door.

Oh look – the menu is written on the cricket bat. Everyone’s* basically impressed (*By everyone, I mean everyone BUT Peter & Gary). Andy’s cooking the trout quick whilst trying to crisp the skin, but he panics and the skin hasn’t crisped and he isn’t wearing any pants. Entree is served. Megan & Andy are nervous, but the fish was perfect! C’est triumph! But Stupid Pete says their entree “didn’t bowl him over”. Oh yes, it’s gonna be that kind of night too. Peter’s very disappointed – two tiny slices of grapefruit aren’t enough. The screen asks the question “How long should you cook rabbit?”, and I can’t wait for it to tell me the answer. It’s rabbit ragout raterrible in the kitchen – it’s tough and not falling away from the bone. Andy’s feeling sorry for himself as the rabbit is the hero of the dish (DRINK!) and it’s currently looking more like the knave.

They present the rabbit ragout, and Peter immediately notes it’s pink. Pink rabbit! Well what else would Bugs date? Andy’s straight out embarrassed, so pulls his pants up and faces the truth – the vegie stack was great but the ragout was horrible. Pete offers up their main is “a wide”, while Megan thinks it’s more of a “no ball”. More to the point it’s more like an India/Sri Lanka One Day International match – those that turn up wish they hadn’t. Maybe dessert will be better.

“I’m embarrassed, you’re embarrassed, I’ve let you down,” says Andy.
“Nah, we are a couple, darl…” says Megan.
“It’s noice, I loike it, it’s different,” says Kimmoie.

Megan mentions that to make a good tarte tartin you have to the pastry right again. Then she realises she’s forgotten to put the eggs in the pastry. Horrible! Mon Dieu! It must be time for Manu or Pete to visit the kitchen, yet they don’t. The tartes aren’t working but maybe the ice cream can save them? Manu breaks down in tears at what has been served him – he knows there isn’t enough butter in the caramel. Megan & Andy look at each other in horror! She forgot the butter! Note for Team Tas for all future comps: don’t expect Megan to remember anything… give the damn woman a recipe to follow! Pete’s no more impressed, but both judges note the ice cream is a winner.

As the guests dissect dessert, the screen now asks me “Are Peter and Gary too critical or just honest?”. It still hasn’t answer the last question, why should I trust it for this one?! Gary regales the table as to why what Team Tas served wasn’t a tarte tatin, and eyes roll faster than Warnie spins the ball.

Score check! and the screen tells me to go to Fango to score the menu myself. As if that will make a difference, stupid Fango! Team SA – 6; Team WA – 6; Team Vic – 5; Team NSW – 4; Team Qld – 5. Total score 26/50. Pete and Manu scored:
P Entree – 7; M Entree – 7
P Main – 4; M Main – 5
P Dessert – 3; M Dessert – 4
Overall score: 56/110
All the way to the bottom of the jar with two teams to go. Tomorrow, it’s off the Gold Coast for Peter & Gary to finally put up or shut up. It’s time for alliances to play out…