The Block – Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch9
Dale & Sophie butted heads, and we got to see some of the real workings of how they’ll function once they are completely fatigued. Brad & Lara struggled to find their style, but retraced their steps through their day and found it under a pile of dirty laundry upstairs (it’s always in the last place you look). Brothers Mike & Andrew struck heritage gold and high-fived each other with a little too much gusto for us to not think they were wankers. Dan & Dani won the first Workshop challenge and managed to fan the flames of what will be all out war with Site Foreman Keith in weeks to come. Silly, silly children.
Tonight, it’s the first room reveal. This is the payoff, people – where we get to see (and judge) if all the effort and stupid late nights put in by the teams have paid off. As it’s the first room reveal it’s very important as we get to see how each team will be stamping their style on their house over the coming weeks. Unless they baulk and change styles halfway through… which will only make it better for all of us armchair critics. Bring it on, bitches. HERE COMES ANOTHER ONE… BOOM!
Token shot establishing we’re in Melbourne.
With 24 hours until the first rooms have to be delivered, The Block is all a-scurry. Brad & Lara are completing their sitting room cum study and Brad’s working hard on brushing up his filthy lies while Lara’s out shopping. She’d called and asked him if he’d tried fitting their new couch in the front room and he offered “yeah, we’ve already had it in and out, it’s fine”. He’s not tried it at all – yet – and he’s not sure if it it’ll go in. It’s a bloody long lounge and they don’t have a lot of turning space to get it in. Brad’s become a deft touch with the drop saw so there’s always that as a fall back position.
Dan & Dani are delivering a guest bedroom cum study that could also be a teenager’s bedroom. “So you can sneak in and out all you like,” says Dan. What a guy. Still, he’s confident they’ll be done and cracking a beer with their feet up by 7pm tonight. Tradie confidence. Dani tells us Dan’s been cracking tantrums all day over little things, so it’s good to see the tension bubbling there isn’t just for show. Dan’s upset about a meal or something (really, I mean who has time to listen to the crybaby girly-boy?) and Dani offers to go and make him a cement milkshake so he can harden up.Dale & Sophie’s dining room is coming together nicely, though their styling is looking to be a little… “casual university take-what-you-can-find-on-hard-rubbish-night”, or shitty chic. The centrepiece of their room is Sophie’s own design of an antique jar chandelier, and as it went in the electrician was a little amazed it even worked in the end, but good on the lady for having a go. Sophie was very pleased when it lit up. No tough choices for her just yet but it’ll be delightful when there is.
The brothers Mike & Andrew have been working hard on their room with a ‘secret weapon’ – a concealed bed that folds in and out of the joinery at the end of the room. Their home office/study/guest bedroom design looks good and they’re coming along nicely, though Mike’s description of the bench being for “e-mailing” makes me wonder if he’s really committed to the idea of sending an e-mail. There is a problem though – in fitting the floor Andrew ‘moved’ some wires that Tony the site electrician needs to get to so that he can be sure the room is terminated correctly and now they’re inaccessible with the joinery fixed into the room. There’s to-ing and fro-ing, the floor gets cut open so the Sparky can have a look to see if he can find them. TENSION AND DRAMA +1.
After a lecture for Andrew and Scotty poking his nose in to nod like the tradie that isn’t responsible but just wants to make matters worse, the Sparky miraculously finds a way to isolate them at the circuit board so there’s no problem at all. Nor was there the need for Andrew to cut a hole in his floor for anything. It’s an important learning moment for everyone – don’t stiff the tradies when it comes to milestones while your building or renovating your house (that, and there’s always something else you can do to solve a problem).
Brad’s decided he better at least try getting the couch into their front room. It’s a long couch and the thin main corridor doesn’t allow them any tolerance for swing, nudging or scraping. And it’s a nice new white leather couch. They push this way, they wriggle that way. They give the couch a friendly tap. Nada. Brad’s mate offers to go and see how big the front window is and how easy they could remove it to fit the couch through that way? No. *Massive* strife. IF ONLY THE COUCH COULD BEND LIKE BRAD BENT THE TRUTH TO LARA ABOUT THE COUCH FITTING IN THE FIRST PLACE! Just as Brad offers to grease himself up and try and slide the couch in on his back, he has another idea to tip it and shuffle it through in a vertical position. It sounds so crazy it just might work. Which it does. Stand down, panic merchants. “If at first you don’t succeed,” says Brad, ” Panic like fuck as you’ve told the wife it’s all OK. That’ll get you thinking.”
As they start to look around their room for finishing touches, Dan & Dani look to the ceiling to see their light fittings – that Dani bought on impluse after they won the Workshop challenge this week – aren’t the same colour as the ceiling. In fact they’re about as the same colour as cream is to white. I mean, really. They look very installed, but Dan insists they need to be changed so off Dani trots to the lighting store where she’s told if they’ve been installed they can’t be replaced. Dani rings Dan asking if they’ve been wired, knowing full well they have. They decide to leave them in and get them powdercoated to match next week. “I’m not happy,” says Dani. “You never bloody are, you lecherous, needy succubus!” thinks Dan, as he says “We’ll be right.”3pm the day before the reveal is due and Mike, Lara, Sophie and Dani are all out shopping for various items. This proves to be somewhat dangerous as it leaves Brad, Dale and Dan unsupervised. I’m surprised there’s been no nudie run down Dorcas St yet. Dale pops over for a chat: “Youse guys got any of your missus in there or are they all out pretending to be shopping?” What a catch, Sophie. The boys decide to have an impromptu dick measuring competition over who is the busiest. Easily solved, really – Andrew isn’t there gas-bagging, so he must be (dick or no dick). This actually starts to reveal that the brothers aren’t part of the tight circle of friendship forming on The Block. A “No Mikes & Andrews” club formeth.
Dan’s holding close to his theory that he and Dani are all but done. Delightful schadenfreude. All the shopping team members make it home with their newly acquired chattels and pitch in to help get things done. A montage ensues showing us that it was far from an early night for Dan & Dani – or any couple for that matter. Only Dale & Sophie managed to cop a few hours sleep, while Brad & Lara realised at 5am they’d only purchased one curtain for their room. “Who only sells you one curtain?” asks Lara in a pre-dawn, curtain-rage inspired haze. No sheet/curtain fiasco for them. This time anyway. No worries – she and Brad are off to find a K-Mart that’s open to purchase a new one. What an age in which we live where you can shop for copious amounts of nothing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Good morning! It’s 6:30am on room reveal day, and we are greeted with Dan & Dani and Dale & Sophie in bed, as they’re the only ones who managed any sleep (no matter how few hours). Mike & Andrew are still going strong on their first all-nighter, and they realised Brad & Lara haven’t returned from sunrise shopping. They appear at a bit before 7am, citing Lara’s poor directions getting them lost. Dan nicks down to the local McCafe to get Mike & Andrew a pick-me-up coffee, and everyone’s stirring knowing there’s a lot to get completed. No shit, Sherlock.
Making a bed is looking to be a marriage-limiting task for Dan & Dani. “What you’re witnessing is the real Dani,” says Dan, “She’s real fragile.” Dani stabs Dan in the chest with her glare, and he’s never heard of again. Sophie’s looking through her room and wonder what other manner of eclectic crap she can squeeze into her room in the next hour or so before the reveal is due. The pace is picking up – people are making beds, sticking up frames, ironing cheap curtains with hair straighteners, shaving your husband’s back(!). The things you do to impress people who might give you $5,000 towards your next room.
Mike & Andrew are fixing the shelving Dan & Dani made for them, adding books to their room. They’re in full chaos mode. Everyone is. The brothers opt to not fix their handles they purchased to the joinery in their room as it doesn’t match & they’d rather not draw attention to it. Spray this, wipe this, turn your head, cough, sweep that. The minutes run by, and finally Scotty gives a whistle and that’s it – time up, everyone out. It’s a dishevelled mob that meets on the front footpath to compare tragedies. Dan ended up with 2 hours sleep despite his cockiness of the day before on being done by 7pm. Dale & Sophie got 3 or 4 hours, while Brad & Lara and Mike & Andrew ended up with none. “What I’m seeing is not that you’re desperate, but that you’re ultra-competitive,” says Scotty to the teams. Potayto, Potahto. With $5,000 at stake for the winner, they all want it so they’re all doing their best to get their hands on it. He sends them off to McCafe for a morning pick-me-up while the judges cast a critical eye across their rooms.The rooms are done. It’s all too late now, so it’s time to welcome judges Neale Whittaker, John McGrath and Her Majesty the Queen of style Shaynna Blaze. Starting in House 1 with Sophie & Dale’s vintage-inspired (read: shitty chic) dining room, the judges enjoy a touch of vintage or retro style but John thinks it’s all a bit too much. “It’s almost like you’ve walked into one of those places that sells all this stuff and they’ve recently had a fire and salvaged what they can and what’s in here is the stuff they are throwing out,” he says. Queen Shaynna is non-plussed with the curtains as they’re adding a modern feel to a retro room and it’s not working. Blinded by his ignorance John thinks the room is finished pretty well. Neale likes the dining table and the chandelier (as does Her Maj: “That’s the best part of the room, I think.”), but the chairs depress him. “If you replace the chairs,” says John, “At least you’ll have something new and worth stealing in here.” None of the judges like the Bon Appetit sign that Brad & Lara made from Dale & Sophie’s design from the workshop challenge. They all agree the opening of the dining room to the kitchen was a smart room.
House 2 is Mike & Andrew’s “Open all hours” painting party palace and completed study/guest room. The boys are obsessing about the little things – “All we’d like them to say is: you’ve done a great room, we know you’re gonna put handles on the cupboards, here’s $5,000, go do it,” says Andrew. If only they focused on the other little thinks like shabby skirting boards and all the nail holes that haven’t been patched and painted over. HRH Shaynna notices the missing door handles immediately and all agree that on first impression it’s a good room. “The colours are fantastic, the built-ins are brilliant, but off with their heads for no handles or catchplates for the cupboard doors,” says Queen Shaynna. Neale thinks the combination of the pendant light and feature lamp don’t work, and John thinks they’ve over-styled the mantle. All the judges agree the shelving unit that Dan & Dani made to the brother’s specs should have been mounted over the fireplace instead as a feature itself. The attention to detail is shoddy, however Neale feels good though the artwork feels wrong – until they discover it’s a foldout bed. “It’s a bit Maxwell Smart for me, really,” says John, revealing both his taste and grounding in modern popular culture. Of the Seventies.
Brad & Lara’s sitting room in House 3 gets a going over by the judges. It gets a wow from Neale and John as they enter – it’s very different to the other rooms. The room is very light and Queen Shaynna loves the cornicing and ceiling rose that they’ve kept to maintain the vintage feel while modernizing the room with the furniture. “First thing for me is it’s fresh and clean and well thought out, but it feels a bit sterile,” says John as he heads to the corner, unzipping his pants ready to leave a present to make it less sterile. “Whenever you have a television as the focal point of the room, that’s gonna be the result,” says Neale, confusing everyone as by putting a TV in there that’s pretty much what Brad & Lara were looking at. No mantle around the fireplace is a big no-no for the stylists, and Her Graciousness is non-plussed at all the packet curtains she’s seen so far, as window treatments can make or break a room.
Finally, House 4 gets a look in and Dan & Dani’s guest room/study is considered for what it is. John’s liking the styling (as are all the judges) but he’s concerned that they’ve made the front room into a dedicated 4th bedroom as he thinks there wouldn’t be much call for it in this area at all. Every scrap of old school styling is gone and in its place it a wonderfully modern room. Neale loves the grey and loves the carpet so much he’s gonna marry it. Queen Shaynna is aghast at the presence of another packet (curtain), and “I’m hating those cushions so much”. Neale thinks it works, and a sharp glance from Room Judging Royalty soon has him back in his place. The judges retire to conflagrate and make their decision, passing Scotty to advise they pretty much have an idea who they think will win. Maybe.The teams are called to Scotty’s Scoring HQ (how many bloody rooms around Melbourne does he have? He’s worse than the Moran boys!) where he unveils the new contestants place in The Block family having hung their pics on the photo wall. Scotty taunts them all, asking if anybody thinks if they got the full 30 points. Nup, and they’d be right. “Everyone’s gonna need to lift their game – their words,” says Scotty acting as a sort of Blockhead Pilate. There is valuable feedback for each team:
Dale & Sophie – Loved the light fitting; hated the chairs.
Mike & Andrew – No potential buyers are going to be alienated here; you must fill up all those little holes.
Brad & Lara – The vintage features are great, but where’s the mantelpiece? Please put it back.
Dan & Dani – The judges were divided on removing every period feature from a room in a period house, but they felt the room had great personality.
Scotty also gets to deliver the window dressing deal – no more cheap curtains and blinds. The Torture Board is revealed, and Scotty mucks about revealing the scores in a manner that isn’t worth repeating here. Dan & Dani are offered the opportunity to use their One Point trophy, but they opt to save it for another day.
Coming back from the ad break, we learn this week has been deemed to be “Hell Week”, with the teams delivering two rooms – the master bedroom AND the ensuite, and for the first time in The Block’s history, one team isn’t going to deliver a room. It’s “Blockossal”. Actually it’s not, but that’s what the marketing people thought it should be called. They learned NOTHING from David Hasselhoff. Someone will fall into the “Blockomless Pit”. AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH WILL SOMEONE AT CHANNEL NINE MARKETING/PROMOS PLEASE USE REAL ENGLISH WORDS?!
The scores were (Shaynna; John; Neale; Total):
Dale & Sophie: 6 + 5 + 6 = 17 .
Mike & Andrew: 5 + 5 + 5.5 = 15.5.
Brad & Lara: 5 + 5 + 5 = 15.
Dan & Dani: 5 + 6 + 6.5 = 17.5.
Brad & Lara are a bit miffed to come last, but that’s OK because it’s softened a little by a visit from Rod from last season of The Block to deliver the Chump awards – a pretty propeller hat that both Brad & Lara have to wear for 24 hours. Incentive enough to go from Chumps to Champs next week. Given the teams have two rooms to deliver in one television week, it’s super puzzling to see they’ve been sent to Sovereign Hill for a challenge with Shelley to win some money. Hopefully they’ve all got their tradies working hard for them in their absence. But the best sizzle of all is Queen Shaynna looking at someone’s room and saying “This is bad, this is really bad.” Oh, we hope so…