The Block All StarsSun-Fri 7pm, Ch9

So ‘Hell Week’ is complete, teaching us that eternal damnation will comprise of deep soaking baths, bold tile choices and a fancy lady complaining about a lack of storage space. Enter we into ‘Ben Hur Week’, which is a rather grandiose title for a week that’s about a loungeroom, hallway and linen cupboard. We get a tantalising taste of the week to come; everything is difficult, everyone is running out of money and Phil and Amity have teenage girl reactions to things. OH EM GEE. NO. WAY. SHUT UP.

We begin by reliving Phil and Amity’s Chump coronation from last night. I may be burned at the stake for saying this, but when, when will they let the Chump joke die? It’s two years beyond funny and honestly, my neck is starting to hurt from all the cringing. You don’t need a lurid yellow jacket and a stupid nickname to feel bad that your room was rubbish. It’s such a lazy, cheap running gag.

Alright, well, while I was ranting about that, Amity was being sad about her bathroom. She says that although she knows the judges are design experts, she’s not trying to win a design competition. Although the buyers are the final judges, I think what she means is, “I am trying to win a design competition.” She goes on earnestly for a while but it’s late and I’ve already hit my daily limit for listening to things that don’t make sense.

The next morning, Duncan is reflecting on the pleasure of four bathrooms with excellent scores. Phil and Amity are doing their squeaky-clean jovial husband/tolerant wife thing. Dan is gearing up for an epic week, calls it “the biggest thing he will ever see or do”. Are we all being a trifle alarmist about a couple of couches and a linen cupboard?

Now Phil has his jacket on backwards and giggling at the word ‘double-breasted’. Ho, ho, ho.

Rules state that you can’t do things early because then the weeks would have to have less hyperbolic names. Phil has had to remove work done too early and is now quizzing Keith on what he can and can’t do. He questions someone else – didn’t catch whom – being allowed to pour a concrete slab. Keith is befuddled for a moment and says he’ll think it over and get back to him.

After some ads, we pretty much watch the entire conversation again before finding out that Phil can lay floorboards. Whacko.

Duncan points out that this week is crucial. Everyone is looking to win enough money to finish off their houses. It’s going to take something unique to pull it off and everyone has plans. Josh and Jenna are planning four levels of storage, starting before the floor. Dani thinks storage is desirable.

Duncan and Mark are not too fussed about finishing the room as they’ve decided to tackle a third bedroom instead of a formal lounge. The hope is that it’ll pay off on auction day, if not this week. Phil and Amity want to do the same but might be too poor.

Dan and Dani have been bathroom cursed by some kind of renovation witch. They had two rubbish bathrooms last year. Finally pulled out a good one last night but it’s gone wrong. Keith has slipped underneath the floor and discovered five leaks in the bathroom floor. Dan is very cross and thinks someone has come by while they were out, and flooded the bathroom floor. How that causes leaks, I’m not sure. Keith doesn’t care how they fix it. I don’t really, either.

Gal pals Jenna and Dani are couch shopping together in short shorts. They don’t care too much who as long as the win on auction day goes to one of their two teams. FOREBODE.

Phil and Amity’s hapless builder has arrived and they all vote to tackle the third bedroom. FOREBODE.

Meanwhile, Dani and her shorts are buying a tee vee which they won’t be able to plug into their heritage walls. FOREBODE.

Amity and Phil are kicking around ideas for their third bedroom when Amity realises that their new plans will allow them to create a second bathroom. Their house will be three bedroom, two bathroom, which is guaranteed to make a serious impact come auction day.

Everyone’s running out of money, but no one more so than Dan and Dani. They’ve won only $1000 in the competition so far. Dani claims she is in hyper budget mode. At this point, they cannot finish their house. Not even a little bit. Josh and Jenna apparently are in a similar situation, which doesn’t make sense because of maths. Jenna explains however that priorities have changed since their first spin round the Block. It was all about styling, winning rooms – now it’s the big picture. Living spaces, not furniture sells houses. She’s right of course, and it’s all very practical but it sounds boring as stink for those of us at home already suffering through the mindless repetitions and pseudo-disasters lurking at the end of every adbreak. The trouble with the All-Star season is that they want to be taken seriously and fair enough; but it cuts down on the interestingness. Yes. It’s a word.

Dani agrees wholeheartedly with Jenna, bare minimum is all that’s needed. She’s only going to get an armchair, a sofa, a rug, a coffee table, a sideboard, an elephant, a toboggan, a French dignitary… Dan disagrees, saying they only need a couch and a rug. Dani rolls her eyes. This is why she doesn’t let him shop. How are they supposed to win the room, Dan? Dan thought a few seconds ago they weren’t planning to even style the room? Dani tells him sharply that she’s either going to do it properly or not at all. I vote for not at all.

Mark and Dunc are doing some budgeting on the wall. It’s not dire yet – they’re bleeding but still conscious. Seems like they’ll probably get it done but are about $20 000 short of where they want to be. I reckon they could make some serious money doing moustache masterclasses.

Amity has budgeted for no wins and thinks she can get the house finished and styled. That’s impressive considering that her shopping list just stretched to include another load of bathroom fixtures.

Keith is grumpy again. When he saw Dan and Dani’s leaky floor yesterday he noticed some dodgy pine… things… that hold the bathtub up… badly… something, he’s cranky about something. For some reason that has nothing to do with dramatic tension, he hasn’t bothered mentioning it til now. The leaky floor failing to illicit any hysteria, he’s going to try again today with the pine disaster.

Mark is buying a shed from some online hardware store. He has a cunning plan to sublet shed space to other Blockheads.

Keith’s over at Dan and Dani’s to drop the bombshell. Dani smells trouble and bails immediately. Shockingly, it’s not that shocking, because Keith offers a simple solution along with his concern. Dani still thinks that he needs to ease up and stop picking on them.

Remember last week when Duncan and Mark nicked off to get some Art? The casts of their faces are finished and quite frankly, they are magnificent. Duncan seems to quite enjoy the company of Mask Mark and chats to him all the way back to the Block.

Keith is back on the warpath after a nice cup of tea and an iced Vo-Vo when he finds out that Dan called up the heritage people to double-check he wasn’t allowed to punch holes in the wall. The heritage people were annoyed to be contacted directly, Keith was annoyed at not being spoken to and Dan is annoyed that the others are annoyed.

The end result is that they can’t plug their TV where they want to and they have to pay $500 for the forbidden phone call. Dani refuses to pay it. Keith has a big go because he already told them the plugholes were not allowed. Dan tells Keith its his fault, which Dani agrees with. They exchange some more words until Dan comes out and accuses Keith of treating Dani, and some other former contestants in an appalling way.  It’s interesting that Dan wants to put past behaviour on the table, but Keith chooses not to make use of the incredible opportunity to throw it back in his face and walks away.

Tomorrow – it’s the biggest week ever for the millionth time! Dan breaks a window and swears at his girlfriend! I write my recap earlier and get more than four hours sleep before work!