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Television: The Block NZ Power Rankings, Week One – Daybeds and Dick Moves

To celebrate the arbitrary three-day respite TV3 have offered us from The Block NZ: Villa Wars, Calum Henderson looks back at the last week-and-a-bit of daybed dramas, dangerous drilling, dick moves and a hundred pre-line inspections.

1) Cat & Jeremy – House 3

The New Plymouth jokers took out first week honours with their guest bedroom – and its godforsaken rhombus daybed – earning a solid 8 from each of the judges. Their prize was the pick of the houses and they, perhaps surprisingly, chose the bigger but gardenless House 3. In doing so they abandoned their expensively-restored bay windows to Jamie and Hayden and gave cause for Mark Richardson to harshly enunciate the words “rhombus daybed” in his narration until they lost what little meaning they ever had to begin with.

It remains to be seen whether their move to House 3 was a wise one. They’ve effectively given themselves a $10k / one week handicap, and construction of their kid’s bedroom has been held up by their new house’s damp timber framing failing numerous and increasingly tense pre-line inspections.

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The couple’s secret weapon so far has been Cat’s shopping trips – while all the other couples seem to shop in frenzied 30-minute sprees at Freedom Furniture, Cat has been going on all-day odysseys to vintage furniture hangars on the outskirts of the city and sourcing rare culturally questionable art for her ‘Cowboys & Indians’ room.

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Cat’s shopping trips are a weirdly soothing respite from an unnecessarily stressful show. Huge potential for a post-Block reality spin-off where she signs up to be an Uber driver.

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2) Brooke & Mitch – House 4

Christchurch’s one-couple Stüssy revival won this week’s stressful and very dangerous physical challenge at Woodhill Forest, earning them $10k worth of bathroom stuff in the bank. The challenge involved using various power tools as part of a race in a wet and slippery mud-based obstacle course, which seemed in clear contravention of several ACC guidelines on safe tool usage.

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Was this irresponsible broadcasting? To find out I laid a broadcasting standards complaint with MediaWorks, who generously allow complainants to specify what punishment they want to see enforced.

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So far the most notable moment of Brooke and Mitch’s time on The Block has been Brooke’s incredulous, unmistakably Cantabrian-accented shriek of “that was a bit of a dick move!” at Sarah and Minanne. In six months, probably all anyone will be able to remember of this show will be an eternal Simpsons’-esque loop of “Rhombus daybed… That was a bit of a dick move! Rhombus daybed… That was a bit of a dick move! Rhomb-”

But for now, they are sitting pretty in House 4, which still promises a ‘hidden secret’. Is it a pool? School zones? Or the fact that it is quite clearly haunted.

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3) Jamie & Hayden – House 1

The Auckland couple came roaring out of the gates with some hyper-competitive and alarmingly aggro talk, but have quickly settled as one of the show’s more endearing duos. They have arguably got the best deal out of all the house-shuffling, snapping up the previously desirable House 1 complete with Cat and Jeremy’s new-windowed, rhombus-daybedded guest bedroom.

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Hayden’s wardrobe has been an unexpected highlight of the show’s first fortnight. For a while it looked like this buzzy optical illusion t-shirt was his statement piece, but then he pulled out this quality vintage What Now! Kids’ Club top. Shit – was Haydz the original Props Boy?

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Despite the obviously huge advantage of now having a rhombus daybed, questions remain around Jamie and Hayden’s ability to present a room without completely ruining it by painting at least one of the walls black. The two already-renovated rooms in their house are a huge trump card, but are they playing their hand too early by re-doing one of them already?

4) Sarah & Minanne – House 2

The sisters had a shitter of a first week, spending about 72 hours restoring their room’s original ceiling only to see it promptly discarded with by Jamie and Hayden when they took over House 1. Slaving over the ceiling meant Sarah and Minanne ran out of time to properly decorate, and produced “the worst room in Block NZ history”. What’s worrying is that even if they had all the time in the world to decorate, it still would have looked awful.

The girls are obviously on a steep learning curve. They’re learning hundreds of new things each and every day. Like, at the mud obstacle course they learned that wood floats.

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They’re classic underdogs who now have the advantage of two already-complete rooms although, like Jamie and Hayden, they are re-doing one of them straight away. House 2 is also the one with the mysterious and very menacing fire damage, which could come to haunt them literally and / or figuratively.

I don’t expect Sarah and Minanne to remain anchored to the bottom of the Power Rankings forever. But if they do completely bomb out of this show they will have at least paid their way with that endlessly watchable Morepork hide-and-seek ad, and some of the most compelling Pita Pit product placement you’ll ever see.

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The Block NZ: Villa Wars airs Sundays on TV3 at 7pm, and Mon-Thurs at 7.30pm

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