Even by most ambitious assessments, this year’s undertaking on The Block is simply far too large for any sane or normal human to complete comfortably. The size of the Oslo hotel is mind-boggling – couples have been dealing with a space the size of the previous two Block sites combined – and the budget they’ve had to do it on (a fraction larger than last year’s budget for the Gatwick) is a virtual oily rag. That’s lead to constant financial stress for every contestant, constant berating from judges and show hosts, and accusations from fans that the show simply set the contestants up to fail. It’s been such a massive undertaking that even show host Scott Cam, who has spent the better part of the entire season tearing strips off the contestants for daring to suggest the budget wasn’t big enough, to admit that maybe the job might have been a bit too big to begin with.
The sheer scale of the project – somewhere in the vicinity of 460 square metres per house – coupled with the relatively minuscule budget of $250,000 has seen the show get to the point where it seems legitimately unlikely that some couples will actually complete the build, with dwindling budgets being sapped down to 0 with oceans of floor space still left to go.
It’s such a ridiculous task that even Cam is now admitting it might have been far too big of a bite to chew.
In an interview with News.com.au, Cam rather sheepishly admitted he and producers realised the task was possibly a Mission Impossible in around the third week of filming, admitting that the show will never attempt a project of this scale ever again.
At about week three we realised that it was a bit too big this year and we’d have to push them a bit harder to get it through. But we told them about budget issues from the start, and they just didn’t listen. I gave them extra money, and then I gave them extra money again. I’m dry now. The network will not give me any more money.
We probably won’t do a Block this big ever again. Next year we’ll scale back. Even I’m under the pump — it was tough on everybody, the crew included.
Bafflingly enough, contestants under financial strain have frequently been given conflicting advice: Get more money by winning rooms and challenges on the one hand, but being told to strip styling and trades back on the other in order to finish the job, making winning rooms and challenges a virtual impossibility.
Hell, you had judge Shaynna Blaze explicitly tell people to cut their shit back, only to turn around and severely mark people down while judging for doing just that. It’s insane.
It’d be all well and good if the show didn’t demand absurdly luxurious furnishings for each place, but the fact that producers and real estate agents apparently need the places kitted out like an Armaguard truck just barrelled through Gerry Harvey’s private reserve makes it an untouchable beast.
Give ’em a break, you lunatics. They’re trying their best here.