Year after year I have been a dedicated viewer of The Block and House Rules. But this year I cannot bring myself to tune in. I genuinely don’t care how crazy coloured a house is, what massive stuff up happened or how rude people are being to each other. They was never my motivations to watch in the first place.
I don’t know about you, but I always watched these shows to see people meet a challenge and succeed, to be inspired by amazing room designs, and to learn. And year after year I have been let down when it came to the learning aspect. Instead of gaining knowledge, I was battered over the head with petty fights and people walking off set. Sure I would get little snippets of wisdom here and there, but it was in-between drama I had no interest in.
For me, these shows represent a huge missed opportunity. TV studios have at their finger tips an amazing opportunity to educate while they entertain the public. But instead, they have reduced Reality TV Reno Shows to a battle of who can shove in the greatest amount of drama; one suspects in the name of ratings. A review of the ratings for these programs reveal that they are indeed popular, but that the level of popularity significantly fluctuates and could be trending into a decline. The results for 2017 will be interesting.
So is it that I, a 37 year old wife and mother of 2 with an big interest in interiors, have outgrown these shows and am no longer part of their target demographic? Or is it that these shows have failed to grow up alongside their viewer-ship? Considering that the first (and most successful season to date) of The Block aired 14 years ago in 2003, surely we have all matured a bit?
A quick check of the comments section under social media postings put out by these shows illustrates that - at least anecdotally - many others have had enough too. Comments in the vein of ’Seriously, what is with the drama guys, lets just see people creating nice rooms’ and ‘That’s it, I’ve had enough of this nonsense, you’ve lost me’ regularly appear. Although in fairness, comments from people buying into the drama, adding fuel to the fire, and arguing with strangers over rooms and results, prevail.
Looking to other reality shows such as The Biggest Loser and Master Chef, it’s the seasons which featured Master Classes where participants and viewers alike watched and learned from the pros that got my attention. A chance to gain information and skills which would help us all succeed; where we were all learning and growing together.
It would be absolutely wonderful to see Judges such as Darren Palmer or Wendy Moore giving a class around colour theory, creating vignettes, or outlining the do’s or don’ts of successful furniture placement. Skills which would no doubt lead to better room deliveries by participants, and would also offer knowledge and skills to viewers to apply for themselves at home. Certainly the contribution made by Carolyn Burns-McCrave on House Rules - as she visits build sites, questions design directions, and re-directs participants to better design decisions - is the closest that any of these shows have come. But I would love to see it taken so much further.
So until the day I see the adverts promoting these shows featuring less drama and more learning, I will be steering clear. How about you? Would you love to see Design Master Classes on TV Reno Shows? What would you most like to learn about?