THE COMPLEX: MALIBU
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Home improvement takes Malibu by storm as eight couples renovate their way through tests of their relationship skills and handywork in four apartments in an attempt to turn a huge profit.

Visit the Complex Blueprints to see who is still in the running!

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN


FACT FILE:
Host:
Tyler Harcott
Judges: David Kessler, Lourdes Marie Barros, and Jason Marshall

Creator:
Nine Network Australia (based upon "The Block")
EP: Ted Haimes
Packager: Chaos Theory, FremantleMedia North American
Airs: Friday at 8:00pm ET on Fox


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"Moving Day/Bedroom Bonanza" - August 30

Ah, Malibu, California. Enclave of the rich and famous. And starting tonight, home of eight couples who will battle in the newest competition out of the house of Idol and TPIR, FremantleMedia. And their weapons? Tools. They're loud. They're sharp. And they can kill you. But not all is fun and fortune with this beach blanket community... It's time to enter... the apartments that evil took for granted. In a word... Hideous.

This is "The Complex: Malibu", taken from an Australian format currently in its second season. Our eight couples, living and working together 24/7 and grouped in teams of four - Upper Complex and Lower Complex - will have six weeks to turn things around in our slum block, room by room. EAch week, a team of experts will determine which renovations add value to the complex, and which ones don't. The ones that don't will put one couple of that team in danger of getting evicted, kicked off the project.

We meet our host Tyler Harcott (hey, another "Junkyard Wars" alum!), as he lays out battle plans. Living and working in Upper Complex are: Sanyika & Monique, Erik & Jayna, Scotty & Sam, and Scott & Nicole. Living and working in Lower Complex are: Brad & Lew, Carl & Kim, Dave & Ana, and Barney & Rose. Each team will remodel one identical room each episode, with the losing team of the appraisals facing eviction. 

Like my cohort-in-crime Wolvie, expect lots of nicknames. Erik & Jayna (The Artists) have never done anything like this in the mainstream, although they do allude to building Habitat homes. And they want to keep their limbs. Understandable. Scotty & Sam (The Rednecks) are quite brassy. Scotty's a pushover, for lack of a better term. Barney & Rose (The Seniors) have been together for 49 years, having married in their teens. They're eager to get started, despite Barney having a big mouth. Dave & Ana (Team NYC) have your usual passive/aggressive relationship - she's a priss and he's understanding of said prissness. Brad & Lew (The Boys) hope to play off the other teams' prejudices of gay couples. Carl & Kim plan to play dirty, thus prompting my nickname: "The Dirty Dirty". Steve & Nicole (The All-American Fiancees) are your basic story of football captain meets cheerleader. And if they act as such, I just might vomit. And finally, we have Sanyika & Monique (The Renovators), who say they don't camp. They just finished refurbishing their first house, so expect them to have a slight, albeit unfair (tee hee), edge.

There are your remodelers, and here are the keys to your new homes for six weeks! Sanyika & Monique and Steve & Nicole will share a flat, as will the Artists & the Rednecks, the Seniors & NYC, and the Boys & the Dirty Dirty. Steve & Nicole already learn that they're underdogs, only having done one discrete task in comparison to the Renovators' flipped house. The Rednecks promise not to go freaky on the Artists. The Dirty Dirty and the Boys ally with each other to start. The Long Island Seniors meet the NYC (from Brooklyn) and trade design secrets. But will Western and contemporary mix? Probably not, but it would be fun to watch.

Lots of rumors going around of the places, but none of them realize that all of that means nothing. Dirt. Dust. Debris. Broken stuff. In a phrase: "Holy schnikeys!" And if you needed further motivation to get your butts in gear? You'll be living in... this. The other places... don't look any better. The roommates can't even get into Apartment 4 without pushing really hard.

But there is hope. If you walk out in the deck, you're going to see some tools and other accessories from our good friends at Sears ($PLUG$). So what do you do with all those? Lay waste to the place... You know, more so than usual. Seriously, the first task involves cleaning the place from top to bottom, getting rid of years worth of dust and grime in a single afternoon. Steve himself probably made 20 trips up the Complex stairs, meanwhile Apartment 3 heads down to Apartment 4 to help clean up, since they are teammates. Although Kim doesn't feel that Ana and Rose are pulling their weight. Rose is waiting to start cleaning, as she had no problem going down the stairs, but did so coming up. "I thought I was going to die." Yeah, maybe you should put out the cigarette so you won't feel that way later.

Back in #2, Sam doesn't clean. She puts Scotty and Jayna to do that. She says she gets along with her, even as they don't know each other that well. In #1, Sanyika sweats a lot, so it only looks like he's doing a lot of work. And the dust helps, too.

At Lower Complex, Rose hasn't done jack since her first trip back up the stairs, so she gets to cook. "I was very pissed off." Rose sure gets feisty a lot, so much so that she swears off cooking for the rest of her time here.

Upper Complex starts talking about features to make the place pop. Jayna can't stress enough: no crown moulding. Sam disagrees. So we have ritzy vs. middle class. Who'll win out this one? Time will tell. Nicole hopes that this clash doesn't affect team standing. At Lower Complex, Kim rallies the team in solidarity... except for Rose. "Somebody that talks so much can't really be trusted. When it comes down to the big bucks, nobody's your friend." And so ends the first day.

Morning comes on day 1 after a "very dusty" night. Lower Complex is full of energy, with the exception (again) of Rose, who wants to go home. Meanwhile, we get tree-mail... without the tree. It's blueprints to your first challenge: the master bedroom.
 
NOTES:

1. CHALLENGE #1: THE MASTER BEDROOMS
2. TOTAL BUDGET: $10,000 ($7,000 cash, $3,000 Sears gift cards)
3. PROPERTY MANAGERS: Before work begins, choose a "property manager" to oversee this week's assignment. The Property Manager is your team's leader. He or she can make all the decisions themselves or he or she can choose to be democratic, but the final say on all matters will be theirs, so choose wisely.
4. TRANSPORTATION: One car per team, one pickup truck to be shared by both teams. Each team gets the pickup for four shifts to be designated by both Property Managers.

And your have 120 hours... starting NOW. Lower Complex nominates Kim as PM, which is good for her little power trips. Upper Complex nominates Monique as PM. The two meet for truck negotiations, as Monique leaves Kim with shifts that, for all intensive purposes, are crap to drive in LA.

UC1 try to strategize the bedroom, ending up with a divider. UC2 talk goldfish bowls, as Sam tries to get everyone on the same page of music. The Rednecks & the Artists don't agree on many things, among them floor boards. UC has a design meeting with 115 hours to go. Surprisingly, they're all in agreement on open-shelf bookcases, and by "all", I mean "UC1", as Scotty & Sam try to butt heads with their idea. Monique steps in and lays down Robert's Rules of Order hard. "I'm not two, man! I don't think I need a marker to speak!" Then stop acting it, you yutz!

Carl & Kim decide to keep Brad & Lew around as long as they have to. Rose likes wood for LC4, while Dave & Ana don't really see the point of relating this experience to previous ones, once again prompting Rose to scream out "I want to go home." Can Kim play the team savior? Their design meeting boils down to putting a bed in a cubby hole, which irks Rose, who is so type-A that she makes Colin and Christie look namby-pamby in comparison.

110 hours to go, and Scotty likes to sleep with the ceiling fan on and centered to the bed (Sam: "Because you're a redneck."). Jayna say that they're your typical hot-blooded Southern couple. Dave, on the other hand, says that he may have to be completely plastic to win this game... whatever that means.

74 hours to go in UC2, and Jayna and Sam are out to put aside differences to "get things accomplished". LC4 manages to snag floating shells. Nice. Along with flowers and a lamp looking... thing. Not so nice. UC's Monique  senses a lot of ideas, but not a lot of structure. Basically, Darth Monique puts UC2 on notice to "spare me the pleasantries, I've come to get you back on schedule". Erik is concerned with "wow", and Sam's concerned with "not that much wow". Steve, in UC1, gets to work on a shelf, saying that "time is our worst enemy." LC3, though, has already finished painting, as they talk about Rose & Barney's constant arguing (or potential thereof) and team dynamics. Barney, seeing that gay men have a better sense of decorating, asks the Guys for assistance downstairs. Which is cool with them. They get along well - "That's you in ten years! Twenty years!" They click on birch cabinets, talking about spending the day on it tomorrow, while Barney talks about how to get rid of these guys when the time comes.

UC1 gets their stuff from the wonder-truck. Meanwhile, UC2 is heading to the competition sponsor to check out.. stereos? Well, they're arguing in stereo, and so far, it's getting nothing done... except determining that they're on the same page. Back at the Complex, Erik and Scotty get the ceiling fixtures in. Coming from the exits, Sam and Jayna have paint! Well... HAD paint, as it's now running on the ground after the trolley spill. Needless to say, they have to clean up that mess. While Sam trucks the rest of the paint to the car, Jayna is stuck with the hazmat team. They return to the Complex and "I don't want to talk about our (^_^)ing afternoon." Okay. Let's move on, then.

More complaining ensues at LC4 with Barney and Rose. Meanwhile, Kim "asks for the truck keys" while visiting UC's kitchen, knowing full well that the kitchen is in the back of the flat and you have to pass the bedroom to get to it. Kim reports back to LC, and LC's in agreement that they have the better setup, while UC is in agreement that Kim went a little too far. Nicole's solution: a sign that says "Do Not Enter!"

LC4 has more woes, as the furniture that is delivered... isn't the one that Ana wanted. And the delivery guy isn't taking it back. Barney thinks that there's no way that the room is going to get finished. Meanwhile, Steve thinks that Sanyika is the weakest link of UC1, so he tries to point him in the right direction. In this case, the right direction is totally wrong, as Sanyika buys two different floor panels.

In UC2, Erik never finishes his projects, including the sheetrock and the ceiling. Other than that, nothing accomplished. And both the Artists and the Rednecks are mentally at each other's throats. So it's time for Monique to mediate.  But it's not helping matters much as Erik says "That's not going to get done" about the walls. Scotty and Sam... pissed. This will plunge Monique into "micro-management" mode: "Scotty... this is YOUR wall." This brings Monique to a new low, as she seeks solace from Sanyika.

On the other side of the coin, Carl focuses on the floors of LC3. And it shows. 29 to go, and we're sanding in UC1, steering in UC2, cabinet building in LC4, cabinet botching in LC4, cabinet complaining in LC4, and driving on the street with Sanyika... with no money thanks to his initial blast out the door. They rush out to catch him in the pickup. And all of this while moving at a frenzied pace.

Enter Tyler with the 24-hour warning. "Your room must be completed by noon tomorrow." But there's more, because now there is the vote for which team will be evicted from the Complex. Here's the score: eight people, seven ballots, because "with power comes accountability". The PM will not get a vote. If your team loses, the couple with the most votes is evicted.

So the strategy now? Eliminate the dead weight. Kim, not having a vote, decides to take matters into her own hands (again) and talk up voting Rose & Barney off the Complex. We're at 15 hours now, as Scotty and Steve talk about maybe voting the Artists out. Scotty's still iffy about the "alliance". However, NYC talks to the Seniors about what Kim said. Their response... cut off by the sudden appearance of Kim.

Crunch time, as we're heading into the final night. 88 minutes to go, and we're heading to the finishing touches. UC1 is far behind. 39 minutes, and UC2 is still pushing for finality despite Sam's control freak tendencies. No floorboards somewhere, and the team of experts are on their way. Final cleaning, and (*air horn*) that's it! The renovation's done, the master bedroom battle is OVER! It's time for inspection, as the PM is the only one to enter the Complex with the panel. The rest of the teams must wait on deck. The appraisers are real estate broker David Kessler, designer Lourdes Marie Barros, and architect Jason Marshall.

UC1: Quite a turnaround. David notes the use of color. Lourdes loves the spacing with the divider and the bed. But Jason plays flaw-finder and notes that the dividers aren't really finished and that the mouldings need a total rework.

UC2: Another macroscopic impressive turnaround. the judges think the room is too busy. Jason faults the team on the haphazard job with the edging.

LC3: David thinks the space in front of the bed is empty, while Lourdes likes the interior design (except for the base moulding). Jason agrees.

LC4: Very nice. Almost. In the end, they went with plywood, and that does not sit well with David. Lourdes thinks the suspension lighting isn't functional at all. Jason likes the idea of the floating bed, but thinks that the tables needed to come closer.

All in all, it looks as if Upper Complex will take this one, as Lower Complex begins to plot putting the Seniors out of their misery. Brad and Lew think that Kim & Carl are their strongest - and weakest - ally. Back at UC, Steve tells Sam that he doesn't trade his character away for a game as he debates who's the bigger liability - the Rednecks or the Artists.

It's off to the Lumberyard as the Complex casts their votes to evict. This is where we find out who wins of the two teams, and which couple is evicted. To run down vitals:

UC1 spent $9525.93, leaving them with $474.07.
UC2 spent $9002.86, leaving them with $997.14.
LC3 spent $7942.75, leaving them with $2057.25.
LC4 spent $9311.46, leaving them with $688.54.

The money leftover will carry over to the next project. Now the results: the most valuable bedroom goes to LC3 this week. The least valuable... will be revealed after we serve eviction notices to two teams:

UC: Sanyika & Monique
LC: Carl & Kim

Both unexpected... Sanyika and Monique are shocked for one, the work ethic put forth, and two, the strategy to put up Erik and Jayna. Carl and Kim aren't surprised in the latest, spawning an argument between them and the Seniors.

And now, the results of the appraisal. If the least valuable room is in Upper Complex, Sanyika & Monique will go. If it's in Lower Complex, then Carl & Kim will go. That room is in... UC1. Sanyika & Monique, you've been evicted. Please make your way to the exit, and thank you. "It burns," Monique says. "It does sting. Life happens," Sanyika says. Well, at least they get to sleep in a real bed.

Some info to pass along, if you would like to bid on the Complex Malibu and decide the winner, you can call 1 877 3 ESTATE (1 877 337 8283) or log onto complexonfox.com.

My take: It's "The Amazing Race"... without the Race... or the Amazing. But still, it's a cute, quirky little show that unfortunately will have the uphill climb of being placed in the dead-end Friday 8pm slot. Worth catching if you have the time, though. And besides, any show with "Burning Down the House" as its theme can't be that bad, right?

Back on Friday with another room, another eviction, and more hammers of mass destruction. Boom, baby.

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