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Pop CultureSeptember 17, 2017

Jane Yee on The Block: Please don’t talk about The Block at my funeral

FMLs (1)

Before the winner is decided at the live auction tonight, Jane Yee looks back at the season that was The Block NZ for 2017.

It may seem like an odd – perhaps even narcissistic – thing to do, but every now and then I wonder what might be said about me at my funeral. I’m sure mention will be made of my time raising children. Maybe I’ll launch a successful business before my time is up.

However, with each passing year I fear my most notable achievement in life might be my commitment to watching every second of every episode of every season of The Block NZ.

The longevity of the show would suggest there are countless others like me who have nothing better to do on Sunday through Wednesday nights than watch a bunch of young folks drown in self-pity and make questionable decor decisions.

It’s barely a renovation show, is it? I’m not sure it ever has been. Over the years The Block has consistently delivered a series of ridiculous challenges that are totally incongruous with remodelling. It never ceases to amaze me that you can lose the keys to your house if you’re not good enough at Kerplunk, or that the fate of a room reveal can hinge on how adept you are at spinning toilet paper around yourself.

The same basic recipe of a little bit of reno with a whole lot of What Now has been unfathomably working for years, so why mess with it? Even when ratings slumped during 2015’s ‘Villa Wars’ you could never have called it a disaster and the numbers have only climbed since. This season has produced the highest ratings for the franchise since 2013, and at a time when flipping gargantuan houses in Auckland is about as unrelatable as you could possibly get.

With that in mind, it’s difficult to still consider The Block reality TV really, and after the many scandals aired over the last three months you could even justifiably re-categorise it as drama.

Once upon a time handing out a low score during Dinner Wars was the upset of the year; now it’s not only commonplace, but expected. This season, raining zeros on culinary delights that would fare well on MKR was just one of the many underhand tactics employed by the Blockheads to gain the edge on their competitors.

Never before have we seen so much dodgy dealing, alliance hopping and double crossing. It’s become a weird mix of Survivor and the Beehive the day after an election. At times the arrangements were so convoluted I had to pour myself a wee Baileys to settle my nerves after my brain imploded trying to figure out what was going on.

I can only assume the show’s popularity this year was buoyed by all the wheeling and dealing as it was an otherwise underwhelming season with a lacklustre cast. If it weren’t for Julia and Ali’s complete lack of filter keeping things interesting I’m not sure I could have lasted the distance.

Andy and Nate were lovely overall, but when was lovely ever an interesting watch? Ling and Zing were reasonably entertaining but felt like watered down versions of last year’s brilliantly petulant Dyls and Dylz. As for smiling assassins Stace and Yanita, constantly playing the victim is rarely endearing and any goodwill I had for them at the start of the season had well and truly dissipated by the time they revved up the Honda to leave Northcote for good.

So here we are on auction day, and I can’t say I’m sad to say goodbye. Much like Yanita’s hair, The Block NZ is a voluminous hot mess – this year more than ever. I’m not sure why I keep watching, but I can’t stop now so I might as well just go ahead and pre-order my tombstone.

Here lies Jane Yee. Loving partner, devoted mother, reluctant Blockaholic.

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