At last, the first room reveal on The Block NZ. If the past three weeks have been a marathon, tonight’s episode is the sprint to the finish. I’m ready: I’ve done my warm-up stretches, donned my favourite terry towel headband, and double knotted my Bata Bullets. Let us now together enter the virtual stadium that is The Block NZ, excited and exhausted, to see who will be crowned Guru of the Garage.
We begin with a review of the terrible conditions we’ve all endured so far. It was wet. It was cold. It was damp. I lost half a bag of jaffas down the back of the couch. “It was not fun,” says Jo. You’re right, Jo, it wasn’t. It took me ages to get those suckers out, and my sofa hasn’t been the same since.
It’s the morning of room reveal. There’s a lot to do and efficiency is key. Mark’s up to ‘M’ in his thesaurus and says Alex and Corban are being “typically metronomic”. Initially I think this means they’re sitting on a piano keeping the beat, but apparently they’re being mechanically regular. They’ve set their own pretend deadline so they have contingency time in case of emergency. These two are so clever that they’re
welcome to sit atop of my piano anytime.
In contrast, Jo and Damo’s garage plans hang by a thread, just like their faulty lighting. (I see what you did there Mark, and I like it). Damo’s having no luck with his pesky electrics, and Peter Wolfkamp brings his usual positive problem-solving attitude to the party to say it’s Damo’s fault, not The Block’s. Oh dear.
Poor Maree and James: Mark says they’ve been stuck on Struggle Street for the past three weeks. No wonder they’re having issues, as The Block NZ is on Newell Street. Quick, Maree and James, get over there – you’ve got 45 minutes, you can still do it! Alas, Maree is wrestling with some complicated flat-pack metal shelving, which we all know is best assembled late at night after drinking three bottles of wine. Or is that just me? Maree becomes so frustrated she swears at James. Holy moly, Maree! Can I get you some wine?
30 minutes to go. For some bizarre reason each garage must have a fishing rod holder. Damo channels his inner Macgyver and in a moment of sheer genius creates a “sticky pointy proddy little thingy”. Come on Jo, no need to get personal. “It looks choice,” says Damo. “It’s rubbish,” says Jo. Richard Dean Anderson would be proud.
The countdown is finished, the work is done, and the teams gather for the results. Corban is sweating AND freezing cold at the same time, which is just how I felt when I lost my jaffas. Mark says the fortnight has been epic and they should be very proud of themselves. What he didn’t say was that despite how proud you are now, six of you will be big fat losers in about ten minutes time. Sorry.
Judges Shelley Ferguson and Mark Gascoigne begin with Quinn and Ben. Pregnant Quinn’s been feeling nauseous but apparently love is their secret weapon, which makes me feel nauseous too. According to the judges, Quinn and Ben have created a garage of atmosphere featuring a “pendant nook of wow factor”. That’s wanky design speak for “cupboard with two lights in it”. Stop the bus – I have one of these in my own garage. Hell, my capital value just tripled!
Next is Alex and Corban’s garage. Choirs of angels begin to sing as the judges enter. Bam, an electronic clothes rack. Bam, cute little yellow flower pots. Bam, snazzy stripy gumboots. These two have hit this one out of the park. This is a garage that’s a creative style statement, says Shelley, but Quinn is skeptical and Ben doesn’t think that all people like fresh, new ideas. What, like putting black carpet on polished concrete? Steady on, you two.
Over to Maree and James. Holy moly! James actually speaks and I fall off the couch in surprise. The judges like their man-cave look but disapprove of the dim lighting. Ever been in a cave, judges? Not much light in there either. Overall, Maree and James made a strong first effort let down by some finishing touches.
Finally to Jo and Damo’s place. It’s stylish and smart and I’m a fan of the wooden ceiling. Shelley calls it a clean, cool, industrial space while Mark thinks it will go well at auction time. That’s the idea, Mark Gascoigne – welcome to the game.
The moment we’ve been waiting three long weeks for: the scores are revealed. The metronomic Alex and Corban bag the win with 18 points, Jo and Damo second on 15.5, Quinn and Ben on 14.5 and Maree and James on 13.5. Alex is stunned and is unsure of how they did it and frankly I’m not sure either, as they don’t even have a Pendant Nook of Wow Factor. Last place doesn’t sit well with Maree, who tells James they won’t be there next week. Got that, James? Just don’t buy any more flat pack storage units, and you’ll be fine.
By Tara Ward
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.