Saturday, 17 January 2015

Reality (TV) Check

I don't generally consider myself gullible.  I don't believe in unicorns or expect to see leprechauns at the end of the rainbow.  And I know that "reality" tv has very little resemblance to actual real life - I mean they're mostly just about the train wreck like quality of not wanting to watch and yet not being able to look away.  But somehow I seem to have been sucked in by the DIY renovation shows, and so my expectations of the difficulties involved were very much lowered.

The Block is probably the worst - the formula seems to be to take two attractive young people, usually a young woman who is more concerned about her nails and hair than drill bits, and her handsome tradie boyfriend - throw them together with 3 other couples and watch them apparently build high class apartments from scratch in a period of six weeks.  Of course that is feasible.  Building approval?  Council restrictions?  Actual professional tradesmen (particularly those that turn up, quote, then turn up again to do the work)? Who needs those? Then someone pays millions for the privilege to buy the apartment, leaving said young couple to be amazed about their sudden wealth and to be able to sail off into the sunset to get married and sell the story to the women's mags (if they can fit it in around The Bachelor (how funny is Rosie?) offcasts, the weight loss wonders of the Biggest Loser or the inside gossip from the kitchen shows....)  At least House Rules involves real houses being renovated, although the possibility for each couple involved to renovate in a totally different style may mean you end up with a federation, rococo, modern, minimalist, shabby chic casual beach house fibro shack.

Every tradesperson we had through the house in the early stages mentioned The Block.  Maybe it was obvious that we had close to no idea about the process.  Maybe they had all been burnt by people who were inspired by Scott Cam before.  But pretty much every conversation started something like -

Tradie - "So you want to renovate.  Big job"
Me "yep"
Tradie - "Do you watch The Block?"
Me "sometimes"
Tradie - "You know behind the camera they have a team of tradies ready to work.  Nothing is like it is on TV.  You can't do it in short time"
Me "oh well, we've got two or three weeks......" (this part generally said silently so I wasn't laughed out of town!)

So I admit, I was ambitious.  But at least I had some validation later, when the same tradies came back to complete jobs - and then the conversations went more like -

Tradie - "It certainly looks different"
Me "Yep"
Tradie - "Looks good.  I didn't think the floors/walls/carpet/tiles/kitchen would come up so well"
Me "Thanks.  We like it"
Tradie (well this was mostly just our plasterer/handyman) "You should go on one of those TV shows..."

Think I'll just stick to watching thanks.

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