The Block 2017 recap: It’s gnome more Mr. Nice Guy on challenge night
It’s challenge night on The Block, and if you think you’ve seen episodes before that have little to do with renovating, buckle up.
It all starts with an eerie rendition of “Whistle While You Work” being played over loudspeakers to call our Blockheads to assemble. They’re as confused by this as we are. Each of them momentarily assumes they’re having an auditory hallucination, and try their best to ignore the music and act normal so as not to let on that they’re having a complete breakdown.
Once they’ve managed to ascertain that everyone else hears the music too, the contestants assemble around Scott Cam’s truck, which is filled with silver gnome statues. Now, this in and of itself is enough nightmare fuel to last several human lifetimes. But then the statues begin to speak in the tongue of man, and taunt our contestants in high, reedy little voices.
"We'll swallow your soul!"
Catch you later, sanity. It’s been nice while it lasted.
It turns out the gnomes are being voiced by hosts Scott Cam and Shelley Craft, who are explaining tonight’s challenge to our contestants. Sarah is surprised by this. She tells us the voices “sounded just like real gnomes”.
Wait. But I just … I can’t … whozzit? What? WHAT?!
Anyway, tonight’s challenge will see each team take eight of the silver gnomes and attempt to trade them for something of value that they’ll later auction off to benefit charity. I guess this is as good a time as any to mention that THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A RENOVATION SHOW.
But the contestants are only too happy to pitch in for a good cause, esoteric though the challenge may be. They all speed off to different points around Melbourne to trade their gnomes to various businesses and sporting organisations, all of whom seem suspiciously au fait with this weird gnome challenge. It’s almost as though someone prepped them for this beforehand.
With a total of 40 gnomes to trade, it would be a fool’s errand to go through every item our teams secure, but some of them do manage to snare some pretty impressive goods. Ronnie and Georgia even manage to get a meeting with Eddie McGuire, who gives them a signed Collingwood jersey to auction. Eddie’s got even more good news for the pair, when he tells them he’ll throw in four tickets for the VIP section at the MCG. The bad news is that the lucky ticket holders will have to spend the evening sitting with him.
Eddie McGuire shows Ronnie an awkward handshake.
Sticks and Wombat really pull out the stops and manage to get a spa roughly the size of an Olympic swimming pool. They also get an actual swimming pool made from one of the shipping containers Wombat so loves.
Josh and Elyse are no slouches in the gnome-trading stakes either. The couple end up with a 7-night Bali holiday and a VIP Formula 1 experience, among other things.
Meanwhile, Clint uses his NRL contacts to get VIP tickets and memorabilia from the Melbourne Storm, while Jason and Sarah get a whole bundle of expensive retail products. It’s hard to say how everyone has done as I have no point of comparison, but I guess they’re really good at trading gnomes? That’s what this show is about, right? I’ve forgotten.
Fortunately, the contestants head back to the Block and a visit from Scott, Shelley and Domain’s Alice Stolz jogs my memory. The three are here for their weekly progress update, and Alice will hand out a $5,000 prize to the team whose room shows the most progress. The producers know that we’re all impatient to get back to the gnome-trading subplot, so they truncate this segment as much as possible and declare Ronnie and Georgia this week’s winners. No-one else is happy for them.
There’s one more bit of business before the teams begin auctioning off their wares for charity. Jason finally manages to apologise to Georgia. He tells her he never intended to upset her. Apparently in Jason’s world, calling someone an arrogant, cheating jerk is usually accepted with aplomb.
With that out of the way, it’s time for the main event. The Blockheads will auction their items to benefit a charity for the homeless, and the team that raises the most money will take home $5,000. Our teams all do their best, from visibly nervous Josh and Elyse to confident and gregarious Clint and Hannah.
I refuse to explain this image.
In the end, though, Sticks and Wombat’s decision to show up dressed as Harry and Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber pays off big. The pair raise $45,750 with their auction, putting them nearly $17,000 ahead of their nearest competitors. All in all, our contestants raise $154,600 for a very worthy cause.
Most importantly, tonight has proven that Sticks and Wombat are the best auctioneers on this reality show about auctioneers competing against gnomes for the title of Australia’s top auctioneer.
Wait, I think I’m confused.
Missed an episode? You can read our recaps of every episode of The Block 2017 here.