For a show dependent on scandal to lift ratings, the "cheating" that occurs on Wednesday night's episode hardly qualifies. But for those already watching House Rules, it just makes you dislike competitors Leigh and Kristie even more.
Shaping up to be this year's villains due to their conniving tactics and highly competitive nature, the couple kicked off the season with several underhanded incidents that only the TV cameras have caught, until now.
Other teams on House Rules will surely be fuming when they witness Leigh and Kristie's true colours thanks to the national playback and just how many of them have been duped by the Victorian villains.
The first incident was between the couple and WA 'hotheads' Chiara and David (aka CD, as in DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's Code Red album); during which the un-LeighK-ables conceded a study nook space they were trying to carve from CD's zone only because the builder advised that it was cutting into a supporting wall. They didn't tell Boom! Shake the Room that, instead they played up the idea that they really listened to CD's concerns about what was best for the homeowners Jared and Jess.
The second came when Kristie got a bit "Texta happy" and labelled every paint pot "L+K", even though at least one of them belonged to the battling mother and daughter duo, Kim and Michelle. While it could have been an innocent mistake, set aside the skepticism over the fact that Kim and Michelle won painters for the night after putting forward the best statement piece, it was Kristie's reaction when she got caught that really grated.
Instead of humbly apologising, Kristie was "happy to go halves" in the ceiling paint even though Michelle had already pointed out that Miss Marker only ordered one pot, not two, of the paint. And Kristie's smirk said it all as Michelle stormed away, fuming because it was meant to be her night off from the worksite.
But the "real kick in the guts" came for chippy brothers Josh and Brandon, who got roped into buying a statement piece that the homeowners Mel and Dave already owned! The un-LeighK-ables had salvaged a vintage Singer sewing desk from the Queensland house that they then sold to the bumbling brothers for $750 (down from a starting price of $2000!).
Now the rules on salvage are unclear, as the show has never openly promoted the idea of teams being able to salvage any original items; leaving viewers to assume all the homeowners' furniture and home contents go into storage to be reclaimed after the renovations and show have been completed (except for in the case of Fiona's unlivable shed-turned-house, last season, because everything got demolished).
In a case of buyer's remorse, the brothers told the cameras: "To be honest, I think it's cheating." And after sharing the story with mates Toad and Mandy, there seemed to be a consensus that they had been dudded.
The witless brothers' standing in the competition was not helped by the fact that homeowners Mel and Dave thought they were "taking the mickey" by regifting them their own vintage piece, unchanged.
Whether the incident will blow up further come judgement day, has yet to be seen. But the silver lining for viewers was that Leigh and Kristie's dodgy deal didn't win them professional painters, after Mel and Dave shot down their expensive wooden stool statement piece.
Cheaters or not, House Rules producers are hardly going to kick these un-Leighk-ables from the show. It was only thanks to last season's villains Fiona and Nicole, and Troy and Bec, that the renovation show's ratings finally boosted. And the show is once again in need of a sizeable temper-tantrum meltdown to draw viewers away from MasterChef or The Voice. Only this wasn't it.
Aja Styles is a passionate and dedicated writer who specialised in courts and crime during her stint with WAToday.com.au. Since moving to theage.com.au in 2012, she's taken on varied duties in reporting, home page editing and in sections, before commencing her current role in 2013.
Morning & Afternoon Newsletter