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Pop CultureNovember 19, 2015

Television: The Block NZ Power Rankings Week 7 – Is Dale the Al Borland of The Block?


Everyone sort of loses their minds as terrifying new creative performance challenge ‘Block Stars’  consumes Backyard Week on The Block NZ: Villa Wars.

1. (Last Week: 2) Cat & Jeremy – House 3

While technically Brooke and Mitch are probably still ‘winning’ The Block NZ, it’s good buggers Cat and Jeremy who hold all the power heading into the backyard reveals. Who will they choose to exclude from the judging? The big backyard bribers in House 1 or the strategic scoring snakes in House 4? Either way, it’s going to be bloody intense.

It’s been a hysterical week on the corner of Haig and Renfrew streets, and Cat and Jeremy started the ball rolling with their rightfully winning Shakespearean comedy skit at the Block Stars open mic night. For a brief, magical moment in time Cat’s overwrought cry of “Minanne!” really did seem like the funniest thing in the world, and it just kept going from there.

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For further example, Cat’s tiny, illiterate best friends from the daycare centre she works at in New Plymouth sent her a pile of fan mail. She later explained that she has told them all she is an IRL cat, taking her feline form at night. So when they see a cat on the street, it’s her, and they should give her a wave. Completely and utterly bonkers.

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2. (LW: 1) Brooke & Mitch – House 4

If Brooke and Mitch thought all their strategic scoring comeuppance had amounted to was Hayden hiding their tool box and some stink sideways looks, they were sadly mistaken. Their chickens have very much come home to roost this week, with Hayden leading an orchestrated campaign of bribery to get them excluded from the judging and protect his own cricket pitch-sized patch.

He’s out-strategised them fair and square, but whether or not it actually works hinges entirely on their neighbours in House 3. Either way, they’re feeling the heat of their unpopularity now more than ever, skulking around grumpily all week – weirdly making them about 100x more likeable.

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They are inevitably still going to win. When they do, they’ll look back and laugh about how their self-conscious clowning routine surpassed Sarah and Minanne’s guest bedroom as the show’s most disastrous moment. At least until the sisters stunningly claimed that title right back within 24 hours.

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3. (LW: 3) Jamie & Hayden – House 1

Jamie and Hayden have finally given Villa Wars what it’s been missing for the first seven weeks – some good old scheming and tactics. Not just scoring your mates zeroes and thinking you’re the sequel to Moneyball. Real tactics.

Hayden’s plot to avoid exclusion from backyard judging – which they would surely win – involved supplying every team with free labour for an afternoon, which he later used as leverage to broker an agreement with Houses 2 and 3.

House 3 now hold the power, but appear to be wavering on their promise. Should they go back on their word, the honourable and angry Hayden is going to be madder than he’s ever been before. No amount of candle-lit Pita Pit platters will be able to make things right.

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4. (LW: 4) Sarah & Minanne – House 2

It was probably inevitable, but Sarah and Minanne have lost the plot. Their brains seem to have turned entirely to mush, they can barely string a coherent sentence together, but still they find themselves somehow allowed to operate heavy machinery.

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The sisters’ Block experience has turned into a sort of bizarro parallel universe Home Improvement in which they are both playing Tim ‘The Tool Man’ Taylor. Their long-suffering builder Dale is the stern and disapproving Al Borland, while Mitch has become a sort of de facto Wilson offering sage advice over the back fence.

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But while Tim may have done some outrageous antics over the years, Home Improvement featured nothing quite so unbelievable as Sarah and Minanne’s open mic performance. Holy shit. With one original composition ‘Paint Paint Brush Brush’ and two reworkings of public domain standards they transcended mere badness to create a body of work that could only be described as pure outsider art. Perhaps the most atonal and confronting musical performance on New Zealand television since the time the Dead C performed on Ground Zero. Very cool.

Click here to watch The Block NZ on 3Now

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