Just two days in and the reality (TV) of life on The Block is already setting in for our five teams.
As per usual, producers have upped the ante on the 10 contestants in order to upsize the drama for viewers.
This year they are being expected to renovate TWICE the amount of floor space of last year’s Gatwick Hotel.
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They’re also being asked to renovate TWO rooms in week one. The first, a bedroom, is due in two and a half days’ time.
No mean feat given St Kilda’s Oslo Hotel was in a complete state of disrepair when the teams moved in. Picture a mummified rat and towers of stained mattresses snuggled in next to the shiny fridges packed with Lite n Easy meals for hungry workers (yes, The Block sure loves a spot of unsubtle product placement).
Sunny-natured Deb is the first to break. She’s in tears at the steering wheel of her car as she goes out to pick up homewares for the bedroom they’re renovating. But it’s hard to imagine they’ll ever clear space for anything resembling a bedroom with all that rubble and rubbish lying around.
Poor Deb has a lot on her mind. She’s left her four kids at home in NSW to do this show. The penny is also dropping about the hard yakka that lies ahead of her for the next 12 weeks (clearly, she hasn’t watched the show before if this is coming as any kind of shock).
But perhaps the hardest thing of all to deal with is the fact that she is married to a bloke who proudly and loudly breaks wind on national television.
The pressure is getting to team rival Mitch too.
He can’t decide what on earth to wear on prime-time TV. Here I was thinking overalls and work boots would be all you needed in the wardrobe on The Block. Not our Mitch and his partner Mark. With their colourful suits and shirts with necklines more plunging than anything ever worn by Brynne Edelsten, the veteran house flippers are by far and away the best-dressed labourers in Block history. And it seems their decorating style is going to be just as eye-catching.
Mitch is spending up big on the bathroom. Marble, gold and a “smart toilet”.
But for all his renovation experience, Mitch didn’t think to do something as basic as measure the dimensions of his bathroom before fronting up to Reese Plumbing (yep, another bit of product placement) to order his OTT fittings and fixtures. Whoops.
Honeymooners Tess and Luke have been way more organised on the measurement front, at least when it comes to the bathroom. They’ve decided to take a huge gamble by sacrificing some of their bedroom space to create a larger bathroom with a tub side view.
Tess is floored, however, by the concept of carpet. Apparently, they don’t “do carpet in Cairns”. She’s also surprised to learn wardrobe doors need to open, so there’s going to be no room for the bedside tables she wanted to use.
Things aren’t going much better for the woman with more punctuation in her name than most teenagers’ text messages. El’ise, is hoping to wow the judges with a fancy sink. But it basically looks like a tall ashtray. And who knows where she expects the occupants will put their toothbrushes and dental floss without any discernible bench space around it.
At least they’ll have a floor and walls to put in their new bathroom. The same cannot be said for overly confident Jesse and his skull-loving girlfriend Mel.
The real estate agent and secret tiler has got foreman Keith offside by acting like a know-all from day one. Of course, it then brings Keith delight when it is revealed Jesse can’t practice what he preaches. I know! Remarkable that a real estate agent is all talk. Turns out, Jesse forgot to order the key bits of his flooring. Does he learn his lesson? Nope. He then forgets to order his Gyprock (that’s the brand name for the plaster they use on walls).
Poor Andy is also learning the hard way that it doesn’t pay to laugh at Dan when he offers advice. Not only has the stand-up comic had to tear up his newly laid floor but wife Deb has foolishly arranged for the four-poster bed to be delivered before there’s a room built to house it. There’s not much to laugh at in this scenario.
Nobody looks even close to getting their rooms finished so what does host Scotty Cam do? He calls a group meeting to announce he’s giving them a helping hand, in the shape of a bearded tradie nicknamed “Mighty” because he’s affiliated with — yep, you guessed it, Mitre 10. But it remains to be seen whether even the might of this human slave will be able to save the day for all these teams so that they’ll be able to deliver a finished boudoir that meets the exacting standards of judges Shaynna Blaze, Darren Palmer and Neil Whitaker.