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Pop CultureJune 28, 2017

How much Mark Richardson is too much Mark Richardson?


Now that The Block NZ is back, Alex Casey recaps a marathon four hours of Mark Richardson television.

Home renovation juggernaut The Block NZ returned this week, bringing with it two incredibly harsh realities. The first is that I’m going to feel very conflicted for the next few months as I wipe the mould off the ceiling of my damp Auckland rental while also coveting the latest plush ottoman from the Freedom Furniture winter range. The second is that, for three of The Block’s four days a week, your television viewing on Three can be book ended with all Mark Richardson everything.

Heart-stopping television.

How much Mark Richardson is too much Mark Richardson? To find out I abandoned my usual viewing habits – which is to sit groaning at my laptop whilst scrolling through millions of hours of content before settling on an old episode of The Office I’ve watched a million times – and set my clock to what Ling and Zing might refer to as ‘Rigor’ time. That’s four hours of Mark Richardson a day, more time than I am able spend with my friends and family – assuming he doesn’t pop up on The Project as well to talk again about why politicians shouldn’t be expected to be trustworthy.

I got home from work and flopped on my distinctly non-Freedom Furniture couch to clamber through the dense scaffolding of The Block NZ. We’re in Northcote this time around for the Ariana Grande-inspired ‘Side X Side’ season. Four huge houses, all the same except for slight differences in elevation. The teams, too, are the usual fare – a safe mix of brothers, besties and twins. The one other thing that always stays the same on The Block NZ is host Mark, swaggering through the site in his fashionable coat and icy hair.

Barkers? More like Markers

Mark is amping up his dad jokes this season, aided by a handy tally visual on screen. During a white water rafting challenge, in which the teams had to rescue plastic ducks, Mark excitedly belched out all the duck puns he could think of. “It’s a quacker of prize” he said, “that really fits the bill.” Pause. “See what I did there?” To be honest, undertaking a show as bloated as The Block NZ is a huge slog as it is, for the viewer and the host alike. If bad puns are what can get us all through four nights a week, so be it. Like water off a duck’s back, puns of a feather etc.  

After catching up on the home renovation monolith it was time to hit the hay and set my alarm for The AM Show. Turned out the one day I decide to undertake this stupid challenge was also the one day The AM Show started half an hour early for the final America’s Cup race. Truly Rigor’s Law. Hurting more than the time he got a cramp during the cricket in a viral vid my boyfriend showed me, I crawled downstairs what felt like 15 minutes later to greet the rising (Richard)sun on The AM Show. New Zealand had won. “It’s a party zone in here this morning!” Mark was swigging champagne and talking about spooning. I wasn’t sure if I was awake or not.  

Give me the trophy for waking up at 5.30am.

The good news is, such a massive sporting moment threw ex Crowd Goes Wild and sports presenter Mark right into his element, thankfully leaving no wiggle room to say anything regrettable about shooting P cooks in the head or why International Women’s Day shouldn’t exist. Waving around a small New Zealand flag for the entire three hours, Mark commended the performance of the boys before pitching for a waterfront stadium with a collapsible wall when the Cup rolls around next time.

All I can say is I hope he doesn’t bring that same building know-how to The Block NZ again tonight, or he will have absolute hell to pay from site foreman Peter Wolfkamp. Either way, I’ll probably still be watching, Dad Joke tally chart in hand.

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