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    House plans go awry

    29/08/2019 - Author: admin - Comments are closed

    One thing that makes perfect sense about House Rules, the faltering new reality television renovation show from Channel Seven, is that the network has signed on Panadol as a sponsor. If the show fails to improve on its current state, which is to play as a predictable and manufactured competition, then it’s going to be an enormous headache for a broadcaster suddenly on the back foot.
    Nanjing Night Net

    In a bold move, Seven put the show’s launch episode (last Tuesday, May 14) up against Channel Nine’s daunting ratings combination of The Block Sky High and The Voice. House Rules drew a metropolitan capital city audience of about 800,000 viewers, while the Nine duo, which House Rules’ running time overlapped with, scored viewing figures of 1.3 million and 1.6 million respectively. By episode two (Wednesday, May 15) it was 784,000 for House Rules, then a worrying slide to 687,000 by Thursday (May 16). The first three nights of the following week delivered better audiences of 1.036 million, 954,000 and 900,000 respectively.

    House Rules stems from the team that put together My Kitchen Rules for Seven, and it appears designed to duplicate the highly successful format of the latter’s initial episodes even as the focus switches from cooking to home renovation. The six teams travel the country, visiting each respective house in turn where the five visiting teams will renovate their host’s distressed property while the owners have the week off.

    The tension that makes My Kitchen Rules work is based on the social friction of having people into your house to judge the meal you make for them, but House Rules can’t duplicate that. Aside from the stock-standard inserts where they worry about what they will find upon their return the host team is absent, and any sense of ownership is literally obliterated as walls are demolished and floors are removed.

    Even though the action is focused on location, beginning with West Australian couple Jemma and Ben’s ramshackle property, House Rules boasts the ”House Base”, which appears to be nothing more than a tick on the box duplicating My Kitchen Rules elements such as Kitchen HQ. Short of having Manu Feildel pop in to test the newly installed kitchens by putting together a favoured dish, the crossover couldn’t be any more obvious.

    What’s left, unfortunately, resembles The Block – dashboard cameras in sponsors’ cars documenting conversations on the way to sponsors’ outlets; the welter of tradesmen doing work in the background while the contestants give interviews about how they don’t have enough time; decisions about tiles and exhausted-looking people painting second coats in the middle of the night.

    There are not that many practical ways to make a reality show about renovating houses, but House Rules just feels overtly familiar. And it’s one thing to resemble The Block when it’s in recess (My Kitchen Rules, after all, originally began to satisfy pining MasterChef devotees), but quite another to be trying it on when The Block is only a few weeks into a season and sharing airtime with the newcomer.

    By placing five teams in one home, House Rules is obviously hoping for on-screen friction, but the first week didn’t allow for much more than some blunt disagreements and sundry loud voices. A notable early crisis was manufactured from the possibility of missing out on buying a spray tan tent, while the first tweet flashed up declared that the on-site building expert, Chester Drife, was ”dreamy”. The word ”lightweight” comes to mind.

    You would hope that House Rules finds a groove and picks up, but some of the decisions are fundamentally flawed. Casting Queensland couple Amy and Sean, who have no renovation experience, is supposed to make for a triumph against the odds, but for now it’s just a procession of scenes where Amy feels insignificant or errs and bursts into tears. Three nights a week for three months? Not pleasant.

    House Rules may chug along, as happened with Nine’s similar homeMADE in 2009, or implode as Ten’s The Renovators infamously did in 2011. Certainly the portents are not good. The biggest storyline in the first week was the discovery that sections of the initial house had no concrete foundation beneath the floorboards, just a sandy mix. Nothing could be built on that so cement had to be hurriedly trucked in.

    But on the basis of last week’s turnaround, the show has found an audience.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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