The Block NZ recap: Much ado about nothing
Let's be honest: The Block NZ is mostly filler.
Not enough happens each week on the building site to justify nearly four hours of television.
I guess that's why the producers give us so many gimmicky challenges and drum up the drama between contestants. It stops us literally watching paint dry.
This week the total absence of actual content was felt even more keenly than usual. It was "do-over" week. The teams didn't even have a room to focus on - they were instead just given an opportunity to fix past mistakes.
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Fixing design stuff-ups is an important part of readying the houses for market, and I've no doubt it's something the contestants were keen to get onto.
But did it really require a full week of television? The charity build the teams helped with during the week seemed like a concession to the fact that there just wasn't enough going on in the re-dos to keep the audience entertained.
By the time of Sunday night's room reveal episode, it felt like the show's editors were really running short of footage. It felt like when you try to use the last scrapings from the butter container, and find there isn't quite enough to cover your toast.
We got shots of Andy and Nate eating cereal while watching (what else) Three's The AM Show. We got a rather edgy animation that turned Stace and Yanita's tradie woes into a old-stye video game. We got a lengthy duologue where the twins compared themselves to Michelangelo. We got the phrase "warm grey".
Friday on The Block dawned with the twins dragging themselves out of bed still wearing what appeared to be their painting gear. Are these really the same sisters who refused to use solar showers because they were for "peasants"?
"I was exhausted after the first week, and yeah, status quo remains, I'm still exhausted," Julia says.
Her next statement could be applied to the contestants or the long-suffering viewers of this show: "I don't think you'd be human if the Block didn't break you."
The twins do look a little the worse for wear, but they don't look half as broken as their poor builder when site foreman Peter Wolfkamp tells them there's been some kind of stuff-up with the bracing behind one of the already-gibbed walls in their stairwell. Every time we see this guy he looks more fed up.
Stace and Yanita are already up and are setting to work drying the paint on their walls with hair dryers - surely The Block's equivalent of cutting the grass with scissors. They're only resorting to this because the twins are hogging all the available heaters to dry out their stairwell, and aren't willing to share because they're still bitter about the whole Dinner Wars fiasco.
By their own admission, this hasn't been the besties' week. "We've had a whole fruit bowl of pear-shaped," Yanita says.
They're way behind where they need to be. Mark Richardson is calling them "beleaguered", which ominously is same word commenters were using for Metiria Turei in the days before her resignation.
Dads Andy and Nate, as always, have things well under control. I'd be keen to see what it is that makes them always so far ahead of the other teams - is it because Nate is an apprentice builder? But amongst all the filler it appears there's no time to show us the answer to this actually interesting question.
Andy even has time to wax lyrical on his passion for woodworking as he works up a bespoke cabinet to replace the "coffin" in their living room. He says the smell of sawdust is "sweet honey nectar". Don't ever try poetry, bro.
Ling and Zing are grappling with the thorny issue of which room to submit for room reveal. They've spent the week making minor fixes to the whole house, which leaves them without a clear revamped space.
"It's a bit of a dodecahedron," Ling says. A dodecahedron is a three-sided shape with 12 plane faces. I think he thinks it means a difficult problem.
The other dodecahedron for these two this week is what has happened to Zing's moustache? Is it just me, or is it looking very lopsided?
As tools down time approaches, Stace and Yanita are racing alongside their builder, Sam, to get their office unit installed. Disaster strikes as one of their shelves snaps.
As the plank breaks, so too do the besties' spirits. After the tradies leave they curl up together on the couch for a good cry.
Just as they are contemplating giving up on the whole thing, Ling and Zing show up. Zing pulls down Ling's pants so everyone sees his bum, and suddenly all is right with the world.
Saturday is judgement day, and as last week's bottom team Stace and Yanita are forced to dress up in costumes that look suspiciously like they've been bought at Peaches and Cream.
Despite their "week from hell" however, the judges have some good news for the besties. Their revamped living room is the top-scoring room for the week, winning them a much-needed $5000.
Ling and Zing, on the other hand, manage what Mark Richardson says is the lowest score in Block history when Jason Bonham scores them a 0.5.
Bonham says the issue is that they haven't really done anything to the spare bedroom and hallway they entered in the week's judging.
He kind of has a point; does taking down a headboard and hanging a mirror really count as "renovation"? The lads says they made a tactical decision to lose this week's challenge because they wanted to focus on making improvements that would net them big money on auction day.
In a way, though, their efforts serve as the perfect metaphor for this week on The Block: a whole lot of nothing.