The Block

is back with a few new twists that may turn out to be more trouble than anyone bargained for.

At first, the decision to do up some old 80s houses seemed like a good one. But pretty much at the beginning of demo, everyone realised they have years' worth of moisture build up.

One house smells of mold, another smells like there's a dead possum in it, and all of the houses are - according to Emma - "horrendous".

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But here they all are, four men, four women and the grand idea that the competition becomes "boys against girls".

When they found out they'd made the cut, they hugged, they screamed, they celebrated - and why not? When host Mark Richardson said: "No more testing, no more forms, no more examinations", you had to wonder just what they'd been through.

Scoping out the competition, Emma played into a couple of gender stereotypes by saying of the Dylans: "they're obviously stronger, but we'll be better at design".

And when Emmett wondered whether "the boys hang out with the boys and the girls hang out with the girls", his partner Sam jumped in with: "Will one of the boys get with the girls?"

Sam Cable and Emmett Vallender are asking the tough questions this season. Photo / Supplied
Sam Cable and Emmett Vallender are asking the tough questions this season. Photo / Supplied

Guess we'll find out. In the meantime, they were given 20 minutes to look at four houses and pick which one they wanted, highlighting a couple of different approaches.

The Dylans ran around house four seeing where there they could "chuck some doors", build a "man cave", and how many times they could say the word "bro", while over in house one, Niki commented that the house had a "good vibe".

Dylan Cossey and Dylan Guitink prove boys also wanna have fun. Photo / Supplied
Dylan Cossey and Dylan Guitink prove boys also wanna have fun. Photo / Supplied

Later that night, we saw some personality come through from the team's own filming - they're already pranking one another, sliding down stairs and making their own horror films in their empty houses.

Special mention goes to Niki for her slightly cringey rendition of Snoop Dogg's Drop It Like It's Hot, with the chorus lyrics replaced with "watch us on The Block". No one knows why it happened, but I'm glad that it did.

Niki Osborne and Tiffany Mair. Photo / Supplied
Niki Osborne and Tiffany Mair. Photo / Supplied

When demo started, the Dylans taught us some lessons on not taking life too seriously:

Can't pull the tub out from the wall? Jump in it and reenact Cool Runnings. Got an LED light on your helmet? Play go home, stay home.

But it is still hard to root for them on account of their building experience, especially when over in house two, Emma and Courtney know literally nothing about building (I'm assuming their design skills must compensate).

The next day, the teams got their first challenge and their final twist: due to last season's "budgeting fiasco", this time, teams will lose a point for every cent they go over budget - if they go over by just $1, they're 100 points down.

Richardson also announced that in the spirit of boys vs girls, he'll add the combined scores of the women's teams and pit it against the combined scores of the men's teams and tensions grew immediately.

Emma Diamond and Courtney MacKay are already tricking the boys into helping out. Photo / Supplied
Emma Diamond and Courtney MacKay are already tricking the boys into helping out. Photo / Supplied

Tiff and Dyls had a stand-off over who's space was whose, Emma and Courtney convinced Sam and Emmett to move their mattress simply by telling them it couldn't be done, and when darkness fell, the boys were running around scaring the girls.

For now, it's mostly just a bit of fun and getting to know the teams, but the season looks set to ramp up pretty quickly as the tensions between the sexes rise, and the old houses crop up more issues.

The Block NZ airs again at 7.30pm Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday on TV3.