The BlockMon-Fri 7pm, Ch9

Meet Brendan & Michelle - the pretty ones

If you’re only just joining in now, at least you’ve not missed too much. Dan & Dani (Vic) and Brad & Lara (NSW) have already won their places on the Block proper, and tonight we get to see which Victorian newlywed couple will move in with them – will it be Dale & Sophie or Brendan & Michelle? The worst part about the intros where Scott announces the match ups is that he’s talking as if it’s happening “today” when clearly it was done before ALL the challenges were started as previously eliminated couples are standing there congratulating the other match-ups. IT MAKES NO SENSE, continuity producer!

Brendan & Michelle’s audition video reveals Brendan thinks he’s Bear Grylls and MacGyver’s love child. There’s at least two things wrong with that, but Michelle loves him anyway despite the obviously flaw in his day-to-day logic processes. “You give me a pen and a piece of string… and I’ll win the Block,” claims Brendan. At least he’s confident. Dale & Sophie’s audition video reveals they’ve never renovated a house. Excellent – at least we know who wins tonight’s episode.

Scott lets the team loose on the house with the same parameters as the other teams have faced: a room to renovate inside 24 hours with a budget of $5,000 and an inspirational item left by the judges to influence what they do with their rooms – and it must be used. Queen Shaynna will know. Scott makes far too much of the fact they’re newlyweds by forcing the blokes to carry their new brides across the threshold of the Red House.

Both teams get a front room, and a delightful chair to use as the inspiration for their design… Brendan & Michelle opt to deliver a relaxed sitting/lounge room, while Dale & Sophie want to keep the room white and add a mural into what will become a kid’s room (with all those lovely stained glass windows? Really?). The teams get into checking through their supplied tool kit and measuring up as the well-meaning Scott pops in to remind then to hop to it – these rooms aren’t gonna renovate themselves. Which does beg the question: what if a couple decided on a minimalist style and did NOTHING to the room? Surely they’d be straight through to the Block based on past judgements.

Both teams are straight to Mitre 10 to get paint and supplies and it’s here we learn that Michelle is a judgemental nosy control freak, as she tries to find out as much as she can about what Dale & Sophie are doing. She and Brendan don’t hang around long thought and are off to the next shop, while D&S spend a little more time making sure they get everything they need the first time around. Famous last words in competitive renovation if ever we’ve heard them.

Meet Dale & Sophie - the pretty ones

Dale & Sophie have determined they want to add a swing into their room and there’s tension in the selection of the timber for the seat. Dale wants something nice to match the sturdy hardwood they’ve selected for the support; Sophie wants a light, thin piece of pine. There’s eye rolling from both sides but Dale wins round one. Michelle meanwhile is taken with some boxes that might push their budget, but that’s Brendan’s fight, not ours.

Everyone has shopped for round one and arrives back at the Red House to unload and get started. Michelle cannot help but be nosy and determines that Dale & Sophie are doing a kid’s room because of “all the Adairs Kids bags”. That’s some mighty fine sleuthin’. Sophie drops the bomb she’s going to a store in Geelong to try and source some stuff for their room. From St Kilda. In a challenge where every minute of your 24 allotted hours count. Scott’s amazed but it’s not his call. Dale, meanwhile, dug a hole. By “dug a hole” he actually intends to paint a mural on the wall of their room. Given his landscape gardening background, he may have been better digging a hole.

Brendan sense Michelle off shopping to “take as long as you want”. Cue Scott, incredulous at the offer. Brendan admits they’re probably taking it a bit casual and over-confidently. “She’ll be right,” says Brendan in best narrative recap mode, “No, she won’t be right!” At least it would seem some justice comes to the Block early on. The boys are painting and women be shopping.

Boy, do women be shopping. Michelle’s out doing lots of looking but making very few decisions. Sophie’s made it to Geelong and is straight into purchasing what she needs. Dale totally trusts her because he and Sophie realise time is too precious to call each other every five minutes – which is exactly what Brendan & Michelle are doing. Though when Dale DOES need Sophie on the phone she’s not picking up. DRAMA +1! Where will he paint the mural?

Michelle’s shopping excursion has taken her longer than expected. So much so when she returns to her car it looks like it’s about to be towed – by a flatbed tow-truck that already has a car on the back. DRAMA +2! The more interesting part is when Michelle tries to drive away and does nothing for the stereotype of the Asian driver and nearly collects at least two other cars while dodging a turning truck.

This is the face of a very stressed husband.

Dale’s dug in (see what I did there?) and painted the mural where he thought it should go. Sophie returns and the mural isn’t quite where she expected it but Dale offers to paint a couple of branches out around the wall to include it in the space. Sophie has her “I’m-not-gonna-say-it-out-loud-but-you-should-have-called-me-about-this” face on. Scott comes in to talk about the fabled swing and entirely bursts their bubble in saying their plans aren’t gonna work at all. What fun is he?! Don’t all kids need a swing that breaks in the first week they’ve had it in their lives? However it plays out, that’s the end of Day 1.

Day 2 starts with Dale & Sophie turning up for a big day, while Brendan & Michelle have found time to swing past Macca’s for a bite and a coffee. In Melbourne. Aren’t they supposed to be locals?? The girls head out for more shopping, though their priorities are different in that Sophie is looking for the finishing bits for their room while Michelle is looking for curtains and all sorts of things (stuff that she and Brendan were looking at shopping for together today – in what spare moments?).

With three hours left the teams are in very different places. Brendan wanted Michelle to swing by and pick up the coffee table while she was out, but she refuses to and suggests he do it once she returns. Sophie returns with her bits to find Dale at work with a chippie mate they’ve hired to help make their swing a reality (yes!). It’s all hands on deck including Sophie telling Dale there’s no time to eat. Besides he needs to finish the mural.

Michelle’s returned in the form of a failing whirlwind, having bought a lamp with no bulb or shade, a coffee table that hasn’t been purchased and a curtain rod that’s at least 300mm too short. So, with two hours remaining in the challenge, Brendan is sent out to source these and a host of other last minute bits. To say they’ve not used their time correctly is an understatement. For starters Brendan heads out and pretty much gets caught in traffic.

If you hadn’t already worked it out, there’s a website for the Block that you can visit for stuff. Scott Cam said so. Go – NOW! Hurry!

Dale & Sophie’s chippie mate is nicknamed “FatBoy”, probably because he isn’t, or maybe because he was fat as a boy, or because he saw a fat child once and mentioned it. The inclusion of FatBoy, however, indicates that Dale & Sophie’s game is a long one – they’re ready with tradies already in tow if they make it onto the Block. A critical advantage. 90 minutes to go and Brendan has just arrived at DFO but he gets the good news that the coffee table they wanted will be delivered for them – that’s good. He rings Michelle to let her know and she announces she’s given up on screwing the boxes together and is now fiddling with other crap – that’s bad. The look on Brendan’s face pretty much sums up their chances at the moment… it’s a quaint mix of “someone just stabbed me in the buttocks” and “I love my wife though this is stretching the friendship”.

The room has a FRICKEN' SWING!!!

Brendan is running around DFO like a crazed maniac, so he’s well prepared for life on the Block. He’s grabbed a couple of rods to act as curtain rods and something to join them in the middle(!); he’s grabbed the cheapest TV he can get from JB Hi-Fi; he’s racing to find the light bulb they need and then has to race back to the car and race back to the Red House. He’s dropped the joiner bracket for the curtain rods and can’t find a way to pay to get out of the car park either. DRAMA +ALL THE THINGS!

It’s all action stations for Dale & Sophie who are finishing and dressing their room. Brendan’s stressing in the car, hoping Michelle’s doing stuff back at their place. She’s not… we’ll, hardly anything. Scott gives her the one hour warning which she acknowledges but does nothing about. Dale & Sophie think Scott takes a little too much pleasure in his ‘time reminders’. They’d be right too. He *loves* it.

The screech of tyres herald the return of Brendan the Stressed. He races in with all the gear and realises that he’s lost the middle bracket he was going to use to join the rods he’d just purchased. Oh well, back to plan A and using the rod that’s too short for the window to hang the curtains they have. “I just want to go back a few hours and slap relaxed Brendan over the head and tell him he’s a muppet,” says current Brendan. Future Marty is busy playing a Chuck Berry song in the background but everything’s OK as the past iterations of his future mum & dad have now kissed and he’s back in the photo again.

There’s all sorts of karmic joy being experienced by the viewer while Brendan & Michelle struggle to mount the curtain rod. 60 minutes quickly becomes 30 minutes becomes 15 minutes and the intensity increases for both teams. cleaning, sweeping, placing, fiddling, wiping, folding, hanging, re-placing, de-taping… until Scott counts out the last 10 seconds and they’re all done. Now it’s well out of their hands and over to the judges to come forth and enjoy the feeling of their own self-importance.

Enter Queen Shaynna and Princes Neale & John. Starting with Dale & Sophie’s kid’s room the team is nervous, but when Her Majesty the Queen Shaynna the first enters with a “WOW” you’ve gotta think they’ve done OK. After Neale corrects Queen Shaynna for using ‘his’ phrase about how they’ve brought the ‘Wow Factor’. “For me, the word that comes to mind is ‘Courageous’,” says John, and he’s not just talking about Shaynna abusing Neale’s alleged copyright. Neale thinks the chair they offered in the first place has been lost in the room, and Queen Shaynna thinks they’ve definitely over-styled, but on the whole the judges are very complimentary. The swing splits the judges with the boys loving it and Her Majesty thinking it’s a big no due to the impracticality of it.

It's very blue and woody... but mainly blue.

When the judges have a look in Brendan & Michelle’s lounge room the first comment is about the blueness of the room. There’s lots to look at and Queen Shaynna identifies the milk crate bookshelf as the most interesting thing in the room though it doesn’t contain much that is interesting. “It’s what I’d describe as a ‘Shabby Chic’ room,” says John. Two things immediately: First, I thought we were done with that style; and second, DRINK! “It reminds me of a house that would be in a little cottage down the coast but not here.” Neale thinks the coffee table is the nicest piece in the room, and John thinks the room as a whole works.

Out the back to Scott and the teams. There’s ominous tones as the decision is delivered: Dale & Sophie are moving into the Block this time. At last some sanity prevails, no matter how much Brendan & Michelle think they want it so bad, blah blah blah reality speak blah. Dale & Sophie, like every other team, are overcome as Brendan & Michelle nick off down the driveway (don’t let the gate hit you on the arse on the way out!).

At least Dale & Sophie look like they’ll be a lot of fun on the Block, and by a lot of fun it looks to be moments of complete disaster coupled with times of hilarity as they learn they’ve been a complete disaster. Bring on FatBoy because they’re absolutely gonna need his help. Tomorrow night, we finalise the Block’s last couple – will it be Victorian mother and son team Rana & Brett or the brothers from New South Wales Mike & Andrew? Two teams, two rooms, and too many exaggerations of skill and ability. Maybe someone faints? MORE DRAMA THAN ONE EPISODE CAN HANDLE!!!