The Block is the most popular reality TV show on television at the moment and it's probably because it has everything that a good reality show needs, healthy competition, drama and a cash prize. You know, the good stuff!
But I have an unpopular opinion, I believe that The Block is extremely flawed. There are aspects of the competition that simply don't make sense and as much as people love to watch teams fighting the clock to create a wonderful home, there are a few specific issues that could be rectified.
Let me explain...
Firstly, the aim of The Block is to renovate a house (or in this case, a run down building) and transform it into a liveable home for future generations. Renovating is something that us regular people who aren't on television, do all the time, however, we don't renovate an entire room in the space of a week. Why? Because it's next to impossible!
There are a lot of things that can happen during the space of a week that can delay a renovation. For example, a contractor could cancel at the last minute and not be available again for another week and all the other contractors in town are booked out; the shade of paint you picked could be incorrect and it might take longer than a week to replace it because the colour you need isn't in stock at the time; the wood you were going to use for scaffolding could have been cut too short and you might have to wait a week for more timber to arrive... there's a lot that could go wrong.
So, on The Block, if anything like this happens to the teams and their room isn't finished by the time the three judges walk through it, they're penalised. If they were too busy focusing on one part of the room to not take care of the thing that wasn't done, sure that's fine, but why penalise a team for something that was out of their control? Why give them less points because their electrician got their bookings mixed up and couldn't show up?
Then, there's the issue of creative freedom. Teams are urged to give their house (or apartment) their own creative flair by decorating it in a way that reflects their style. This is great because it gives the homes on The Block variety and the viewers at home a great surprise, however, this part is also flawed.
Teams are told to sprinkle their own magic dust on a room, but when the three judges walk through it, they penalise the teams because they think the couch is in the wrong spot, or the rug isn't the right colour. The judges give feedback to the teams every week about what they think they should do to improve their scores, but then, if they simply don't like the bath used in the bathroom, the team is penalised.
Really, on The Block, you're supposed to use your style... but only as long as your style aligns with the personal taste of three judges. Style and design is relative. What one person enjoys, another person will probably hate, so when you're telling a team to use their creative flair whilst decorating a room, only to have three judges say that they don't like the couch you chose, then we have a problem.
On that note, just because a team wins all of the challenges whilst renovating their home, it doesn't mean that they will win the show overall because again, style is relative. Just because the judges like how a space is decorated, it doesn't mean that the people who are looking to by a house and are attending the auctions will like it. If the judges decide that they love a beach-themed home, it doesn't mean that it's exactly what the buyers are looking for. The buyers might be looking for something more modern and so, a team who barely won any challenges throughout the season, may end up making the most profit at the end of the day!
So, a team who feels like the followed the brief quite well, may end up disappointed on auction day because their home isn't what people are looking for.
So, how do we fix it?! Does my rambling come with a reasonable solution?
On the topic of timeliness and penalising teams for not having certain things done because something that was out of their control delayed the renovation, one solution is to simply stop penalising them. If the situation was out of the team's control, then don't penalise them for something that's not done. There are people coming in and out of the property all the time and cameras filming their every move, if you see someone chatting with their contractor about an issue, just ask how its going and if they tell you, 'our electrician has had to pull out and there's no one else available until next Monday', take note of it and remember that when the judges hand you their scores.
Speaking of the judges, how do you have them score a room without bringing their own personal taste into the equation? No matter how hard you try, this can be tough because judging is all based on opinion and whether or not someone suits a certain brief. The brief's on designing a kitchen or a bathroom on The Block are very vague, so my solution would be to bring in new judges for every room reveal so that you have different people with different tastes casting their votes. This gives the contestants a bit more creative freedom and stops them from feeling like they are struggling to appeal to the judges every single week (cough, Hayden and Sara, cough).
Or, you know, you could open the voting up to the Australian public aka the people who will eventually be purchasing the properties at the end of the day. Both of these solutions would not only make the contestants feel less like they're building a house for three judges and more like they're building a house for the Australian public to enjoy (which is exactly the point of this entire show), but it would also help them on auction day, because the public would have been able to share their thoughts on what they're actually looking for in a home.
A rotating list of judges scoring each room introduce a bunch of different styles into the competition and help feed the creativity of the contestants, and public voting would give viewers the chance to share their thoughts on what a good, comfortable home should look and feel like. In the end, this would give the contestants a better idea about what kind of homes people want to buy and allow them to walk home with a higher profit on auction day!
So, as much I love all the drama that comes with The Block, I still think it's flawed and that some changes would make the show a lot more interesting and a bit easier on the contestants who work constantly and who barely have a moment of relaxation.
I'm tapping out!