Colin Hogg on television

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Colin Hogg: Eliminations shatter the dreams

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House-building show reveals a brutal side, while a marae do-up series is brimming with feel-good factors.

Team Orange members are sign-writer Martyn Giles, 43, and wife Sarah, 35, a stay-at-home mum.
Team Orange members are sign-writer Martyn Giles, 43, and wife Sarah, 35, a stay-at-home mum.

Some people have been saying awful things about Mitre 10 Dream Home, the television series which returned last week for its umpteenth series, so I thought I'd say a few of my own.

The uproar among viewers has been about a judging process that appeared to break its own rules in choosing one of the first episode's winning teams. It certainly looked that way to me too, though I'm not in too much of an uproar about that.

I'm more uproarious about the show's other shortcomings. Dream Home (TV2, 7.30, Tuesdays), after all, should be a dream show, lining up six home-hungry young couples in a house-building contest that taps right into mortgage-worshipping middle New Zealand.

For additional emotional impact, this series is set in Christchurch, channelling the dreams of young families whose lives were shattered by the earthquakes and the aftermath.

For even more emotional impact, Dream Home is presented by Christchurch local Simon Barnett, who last week suddenly cried in the midst of eliminating one family from the contest, quite stopping my own tears in their tracks.

But for me, the big emotional problem last week was the elimination of two-thirds of the show's talent. Budget probably prohibits the building of too many houses, so the show solved that problem by cutting the competition from six teams to only two by the end of the first episode.

It was a brutal business after we'd been introduced to the various keen couples and their cute kids to be so rudely parted from them.

The competing couples had been given 24 hours to build a complete model of the dream home they'd hopefully go on to build in real life through the rest of the series.

It seemed simple. Simon said quite clearly at one point, "If it's not fully completed, you're goneski". But then the lovey-dovey lesbian couple with the cute kids but the seriously incomplete model (no windows, no colour scheme) were surprisingly declared winners.

Which might perhaps have a cynic thinking they were "inski" simply because they were "gayski" which gave them an appealing point of difference.

Anyway, for the next however-many weeks - appealing or not - they're competing against the lovely couple with six kids, building houses with only an endless queue of product-related sponsors to help them.

For a more genuine sort of show about that sort of thing, there's AIA Marae DIY (Maori, Wednesday, 8.30pm), which has charm in truckloads as it hits the sticks to tidy up a tired old marae somewhere else each week.

Last week they were at the Putahi Marae way over Wairoa way, bringing a slick production touch to a down-home show that mixes it up as much with the charismatic kuia as it does with the concrete and paint.

Just lovely, really - and that marae didn't half look smart afterwards.

And there was more down-home charm available on Maori TV on Sunday night at 7.30 as that reconstituted institution of a show It's In the Bag hit the semifinal of its current tiny-town-hopping series.

Frontman Pio Terei isn't Selwyn Toogood - who is? - but he sings, though mercifully not for long. The show can't miss though, and Terei has the right sort of circus charm for the money-or-the-bag format, though he wasn't offering much financial temptation on Sunday.

The semifinal brought five small-town winners to Auckland and there were lots of laughs, the usual flirting, and Barney from Ohakune went home with a wooden spoon.

But smiling.

- NZ Herald

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