What a bore the first episode of The Block (TV3, 7.30pm, Tuesdays- Fridays) was as we howdy-doed the four couples chosen to renovate houses in Point Chevalier, Auckland.
Host Mark is back, looking suitably elder statesman with his George Clooney, crossed with a wire-haired terrier, grey-white hair and crinkly blue eyes. Then there is the comely brunette Shannon, there to look the part and herd the teams, though if you wanted to fatten the prize money, which they really oughta, shoulda – get rid of her role so that the winning couple get more than the lousy $80,000 They Shoot Horses Don’t They prize money.
It is still the same crappy deal, the four teams – if you can call a couple a team – slave their guts out for 12 long tedious weeks to completely renovate their homes before facing what has been in past seasons, the humiliation of reaching a pittance above the reserve (one year a couple got nowt).
The couples leave their jobs and homes to put themselves though their DIY paces and, yes, that is their choice – they put their hands up for it. But the gamble is very real as outraged fans of the shows throw dead cats at the screen when they see their favourite couple get nothing for their trouble.
Like an Australian couple on their Block, Jo and Damo “the oldest couple”, aged 34 and 36, are classified as positively geriatric, and had to postpone their honeymoon for what could become, as Damo predicts, “a horror moon”.
Described by his other half as a “hot cop” he sits stiffly next to his partner as if he’s a piece of the proverbial four-by-two.
Maree and James tick the colour box in aces – she is part Samoan and Chinese and he is Raro and Pakeha.
Quinn and Ben look like male and female models, and last but not least are Alex and Corban, the male pigeon pair hailing from my hometown of Rangiora now called Ranganui after most of Aranui fled there post-quake.
One very long introductory episode down of The Block and three months of padding to go, and all we have been served up so far are tedious challenges while not one foot has crossed the threshold yet.
The advertisement breaks come with laced ads for a certain hardware emporium and the couple’s choice of cars is mentioned ad nauseam. Dull, dull, dull.