TVNZ's new reality show Our First Home (TV One, 7.30pm, Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays) is, said its host, Goran Paladin, "kind of like Packed to the Rafters but with renovation thrown in".
I read this in the paper after watching the first episode and I was very thankful to have done so because I now see I was quite mistaken about what it was kind of like. I thought it was an advertisement for a make of car with no renovation (or not yet) thrown in but a lot of cod psychology in the guise of jolly games - so also sort of like Top Town - thrown at it, willy nilly.
The games - negotiating an obstacle course created from scaffolding, presumably just so we knew this was supposed to be a show about renovation; throwing balls at a wall of fake bricks; retrieving water from a stinky duck pond with buckets with holes in them - were supposed to allow the host to "psychoanalyse" the personalities of the three families. This was supposed to then result in them being assigned sponsored cars, which matched their personalities, to drive about in for the duration of the show. So whoever got the flashy bright yellow one was a show off? And how would being given the grey one make you feel about your personality?
Read more: Meet Goran Paladin, host of Our First Home
Not that it mattered. That this was a load of bollocks was more or less conceded. It was an ad for the car brand and the cars had already been assigned before the keys were revealed. And before the competition had concluded. There was, then, no advantage in winning. There was, then, no point in having the competition in the first place and there was certainly no point in sitting through it other than it gave you a very good excuse to throw bricks, fake or otherwise, at the TV.
The families, three sets of parents who will be providing the dosh in the form of the deposit - how much? Who knows? - to allow their kids to get into that game of snakes and ladders that is the Auckland housing market, all seem perfectly pleasant. That is my assessment after the deep psychoanalytical probe that is an hour of reality TV. Also, one of the mothers has really big hair. I don't know what this means, exactly, except that her hair is already known as "that hair". A psychoanalytical explanation of this might be that ... she has big hair.
One of the fathers "wears the trousers" in the family, but his wife "tells him which ones to put on". Is this the same father who is a "true man's man"? I don't know because I was busy furiously throwing bricks at the TV at the time.
There's a show in here somewhere, given the obsession with the Auckland property market and with the difficulties of getting half a toehold and the related angst. You'd think the narrative, and the family dynamics, would reveal themselves - and given half a chance they probably would.
But aside from the infuriating filler games, it's both hokey and insincere and has more holes in it than the floorboards in the crappy do-ups on offer.
"It's about family and a place to call home," the host said. No, it's not. The houses are done up by the families in quick smart time then flogged off at auction and whoever makes the most gets the 100 grand for a real deposit. And good for them, they do all seem decent and likeable. But the "game" means that they will move in, make a hell of a racket next door to your home and family and then move on. Sort of like Packed to the Rafters with Neighbours From Hell thrown in, then.
• What: Our First Home
• Where: TV One, 7:30pm Sun, Mon, Tues
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