The Eye of the Fish

July 25, 2012

The Block is Schlock

Many years ago, a modern popular music combo called themselves “Pop will Eat itself”, and indeed it has done so. So too has Reality TV. The count of Julie Christo has reinvented herself so many times that all the reality series just morph into one continuous hour long advertisement for placed products. Although the first episode of “The Block” was amusing, with the Wellington couple cheerfully coming last in everything (the Jafas and the money-hungry Trons taking an early lead), and chubby cheerfull Moana more keen to tuck into bed, or tuck into a pie, than do any type of hard work, it has lost its charm for me by the end of the first week. The second week was even worse – just not worth watching. And that’s a shame.

They’ve mixed up the challenges more times than I’ve mixed a metaphor – and heaven only knows I’m bad at that. They’re supposed to be renovating a tip, right? Making it more habitable and easy to sell? And learning a few DIY tips along the way? but somewhere in the “redecorate a new cabinet so it looks old and distressed” routine, this old fish got disgusted and turned off the channel. Sending someone to the shops 3 times, first to buy a length of chain with which to hit the said box, secondly to buy some paint, and thirdly to buy more paint and bling – and then watching as the gambling apes on tv flail around (literally) with the chain until they had started to smash whole corners / panels off the chest was not entertainment, and certainly not a good home decoration experience. Four gormless couples, popping up in every ad-break selling crap coffee, cheap tat, etc, and a presenter who normally does the sports commentary on Prime, does not an intelligent program make. Why do we always have to dumb it down?

By contrast, in the UK they have Kevin McCloud. Sir Kevin now, I believe. Passionate, erudite, well-meaning, clear-talking, taking you through a real renovation step-by-step, with the use of an architect and sometimes even a qualified project manager, the Grand Designs program is a joy to watch. We were heavily rumored to be getting a version of this for ourselves a couple of years ago – they turned me down as presenter, saying that Fish weren’t family-friendly – but we’ve seen nothing of the show on the horizon. Pity that. We’ve got the load of schlock that is the Block instead.

For a start, these weren’t real do up jobs. Clearly they hadn’t really been let go slowly to ruin, due to decades of student flat neglect. Or used as a gang pad for dealing P and giving their Hos the block. That sort of grime stays inset for ages. No, here, four houses, conveniently next to each other on a suburban Takapuna street, had been bashed up by the production team, with every Gib wall methodically kicked in, external brickwork conveniently loosened and removed in strategic camera friendly spaces. It reminded me completely of 1984, with Big Brother firmly in control once more.

The continual advertising, the need for spoilers such as “but the team are in for a big surprise, with an unexpected twist that no one saw coming” and the low-skilled, poorly thought through challenges, just make a mockery of the whole thing. I’m not sure who would really want one of these houses at auction, having seen how roughly bogged together the buildings have been.

Worst. Program. Ever.

25 - 07 - 12

I have to agree.

What erks me most is that the couples leave the site to do these challenges and when they come back the builder’s have been in and done all te hard work.

They seem to have no really input into the project other then to decide where to put the bed. ‘under the window or against the wall’ then it is a choice of “Sandfly Point, Pencarrow, Sandfly Point”

The LBP scheme is probably to blame as the contestants would not live there and so cannot claim an exemption from restricted building work.

I recently found an architects website proudly supporting the show.

25 - 07 - 12

There’s also quite obviously a whole lot more building work going on out the back of the houses – more rooms, decks etc. Will they just keep adding rooms until the public gets so bored the ratings dive? I suspect the additions are going to be the sort of giant Auckland-sized living rooms that 90% of the rest of us can’t afford – and who wants to bet that the contestants aren’t using any of their pretend TV money to pay for it to be built? Or spending it on the sort of practical things that suck up your renovating money – skip hire, giant tarps, scaffolding, delays etc etc etc…

I watched twice, but got bored of just seeing just the insides of one carefully pre-wrecked room, Bunnings and Wild Bean Cafe. Bears no resemblence at all to actually doing up a house – apart from making them sleep in the mess and eat food cooked on the bbq for a month.

25 - 07 - 12

There was a series on the living channel hosted by Ken Crosson. It was in a similar format to Kevins and was good. Some of the language was abit elitist but showed some interesting projects.

Michael Hudson-Doyle
25 - 07 - 12

The worst part is that it could have been interesting. But it’s just tosh.

26 - 07 - 12

Mmmm. So the better quality tv program is only available on Sky via pay per month? I don’t get Sky – I refuse to give any of my money th Murdoch, who has always been an evil, money-grubbing, power-hungry oppressive overlord. That leaves me with just the free to air stations, like those on Freeview. Tv tonight was sooo bad, that I have been watching Parliamentary Channel, as that is the most interesting, and least irritating program on tv.
There is something very sad with the state of tv in Nz.

26 - 07 - 12

There was also a show on living channel presented by Tony Van Raat. Architecture & Design New Zealand. I don’t think it run longer than two shows.

There was a show broadcast of Maori Tv presented by Rau Hoskins. That was quality. It can can be viewed online

26 - 07 - 12

atleast its better than the

26 - 07 - 12

Ankit – I have to disagree. The acting is much the same, but the surroundings in the gold coast are much nicer, and plus, in the GC you get tits. Lots of them. Both male and female.

20 - 08 - 12

Yep, 2 episodes was all I could do too. Remember DIY Disaster? Also terrible but at least we got some tips on DIY that actually made sense.

But I should have known. I read an ‘article’ in Inside/Outside or some other home decoration mag where they interviewed the female presenter. She said that one day she’d really like to try mixing yellow and green to make a lovely mustard colour. Oh dear.