Last night on The Block NZ, something incredible happened: James Reid from The Feelers showed up.
Every now and again, something completely unexpected happens on reality television that shakes you awake from your slack-jawed couch coma. It’s that jolt of electricity you get from a ponytail falling off on Dancing With the Stars NZ, or Natalia Kills shouting at Joe Irvine on X Factor NZ, or the grisly end to a doomed wheelbarrow vs plank challenge on Our First Home NZ. These moments remind you that you are alive and that, one day, you will die.
Last night on The Block NZ, James Reid from The Feelers managed it with just three words:
“Quite small hats”
With that, he had made his rip-roaring reality TV debut. A true blue Kiwi icon, slumming it with the home reno plebs in Kingsland! 2019! But he was right – they were small hats. Small, and really quite a tense choice. It only took one night before Dinner Wars strayed into naff Look Sharp appropriation-land, with Stacy and Adam choosing to stack their Mexican fiesta with both extremely tiny sombreros (for wearing) and extremely large sombreros (for holding chips in). Eek.
If you are part of the Wolfkamp wolf pack, Dinner Wars is The Block NZ’s chance to dress-up as My Kitchen Rules, with each team cooking for the whole squad. Breaking bread couldn’t have come at a better time this season, with tensions boiling over between Team Blue (Sophia and Mikaere) and basically everyone else after they bulldozed their guest room to make a monster master bedroom. It was controversial, sure, but immediately seemed dull in the glow of the ‘Larger than Life’ hitmaker.
With the slushy machine whirring so hard that Simon Bridges, somewhere, cried a single tear, it was time for James Reid from The Feelers to do a recce of his venue. For some reason, he headed straight to the giant pot of chilli beans to have a good long geeze inside. A true invader. Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show-stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before. Fishing for Lisa? She’s not in there mate!
I’m joking: Lisa was, of course, downstairs in Apartment 2. It wasn’t before the guests arrived and the complaints began flowing like a rich river of guacamole. “It’s like Coin Save… in a cute way,” mused Mikaere. “It’s beans and cheese,” said Sophia, moments after tasting her starter. “It’s like literally beans and cheese puréed – and it tastes like beans and cheese.” Look, that sounds yum to me. I’m not mad and, guess what, James Reid from The Feelers isn’t mad either.
Not one to leave her celebrity guest tootling around on his phone, Stacey had a go at some idle chit chat. James Reid had other plans.
To cleanse the bad aura, the pair had also invited Instagram hero and Dancing With the Stars NZ runner-up Jess Quinn. She talked about the horrible feeling of being judged harshly on something you worked really hard on. The camera didn’t cut to Ethan and Sam at this point, but it’s safe to assume they were more blue than last week’s feature wall.
Quite frankly, the vibe had plummeted. Nobody was using the festive selfie station, James Reid wasn’t eating his tea – leaving Jess Quinn to sit alone at the celebrity end of the table – and Ribz was wearing not one, but two small hats. Mikaere, desperate to start some sort of organic Stomp-meets-Feelers situation, started tapping his maraca on the table. No dice from James Reid. Maybe Shelley Ferguson could lift the mood with some words of encouragement for the guests?
The big picture suddenly came into focus for Master Ribz who, after several margaritas, finally told James Reid how much he meant to him. Turns out a 13 year-old Ribz had bought a ticket to The Feelers concert in Wellington. When he made it to the door of the venue, the vengeful Welly wind whisked his ticket clean out of his hand. “Gone mate, gone in the night,” recalled an emotional Ribz. “I hunted for hours for it but I couldn’t get in – missed the whole gig mate.”
This was the moment we had been waiting for. The maracas, beans, the cheese, they had all been in preparation for this: James Reid going to get the guitar. Come my little Venus, come to Kingsland where the chickens are hench and the restaurants are named exclusively after former Block contestants. Within one strum, the dinner party was transfixed.
Ribz was staring into the middle distance, welling up…
Stacy was gazing lovingly at the man with all the feels…
And Mikaere, for some reason, was filming the whole televised event on his telephone.
The night had been truly saved. Twenty-one years on, Ribz had finally found his golden Feelers ticket on national television, James Reid had found whatever he was looking for at the bottom of a pot of beans, and The Block NZ had momentarily soothed what is becoming an extremely bitter and unpleasant season. I think it was Sophia who summed up the momentous occasion best when she stared down the barrel of the camera and said the following:
“The chicken was pink and I feel sick.”