3/2/16

Why I Love The Great British Baking Show: A Story in Screenshots

In light of all of the unsettling things happening in the world, please allow me to talk about something pleasant, uplifting, and downright delightful: The Great British Baking Show.

Matt and I like the show so much that we’ve taken to dissecting exactly why. Here are some reasons we’ve discussed in detail, even sometimes at 3am after Isaac's woken us both up.

1. The Hosts Are Subtly, Consistently Hilarious

2. The Hosts Aren’t Dressed Like This:
I got tired of searching the Internet for sexy Padma shots, but you get the idea, right?

3. They Are Dressed Like This and They Wear the Same Pants Every Episode!:
Go ahead and click on this photo to enlarge it and really examine those pants!
5. The Judges Say Things Like, “Bang on.” and “That’s a nice bake.” A Lot.

6. The Show Features Old People! And They’re Not Discriminated Against!
I realize that this is a show for amateur bakers so a direct comparison to Top Chef isn’t exactly fair, but I find it so refreshing to see older people on TV doing things that aren’t stereotypical “old people” things! Sidebar, I recently read this superb essay, in which the author, Roger Angell, writes about life in his nineties. The essay itself is so vibrant, quick, and well: full of life. Here’s a sample of a section that really got to me:

Here I am in a conversation with some trusty friends—old friends but actually not all that old: they’re in their sixties—and we’re finishing the wine and in serious converse about global warming in Nyack or Virginia Woolf the cross-dresser. There’s a pause, and I chime in with a couple of sentences. The others look at me politely, then resume the talk exactly at the point where they’ve just left it. What? Hello? Didn’t I just say something? Have I left the room? Have I experienced what neurologists call a TIA—a transient ischemic attack? I didn’t expect to take over the chat but did await a word or two of response. Not tonight, though. (Women I know say that this began to happen to them when they passed fifty.) When I mention the phenomenon to anyone around my age, I get back nods and smiles. Yes, we’re invisible. Honored, respected, even loved, but not quite worth listening to anymore. You’ve had your turn, Pops; now it’s ours.

7. No Reynolds Wrap Challenges! No Frito-Lay Challenges! No Instagram Challenges! No Constant Close-Ups Of Product-Placements!

8. The Competition is the Opposite of Cutthroat. Everyone Is Nice To Each Other. The Goodbyes Are Sweet And Heartfelt!

9. I Like Every Contestant. They Are All Nice.

10. Everyone Has Their Own Work Station, So There’s No Crazy Scrambling To Trample Your Fellow Competitors To Grab Your Ingredients!

11. It’s Set During the Weekend and in an Idyllic Countryside Somewhere in England, Which in Turn, Makes it Less Like This:

And More Like This:

12. The Winner Doesn’t Get Cash Money at The End. In Fact, They Don't Win Anything at All! Just Flowers! But Guess Who Else Gets Flowers? Everybody.
Please note the pants. Always the same.

p.s This is all based on the one and only season available on Netflix. When will Netflix get more seasons?!
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35 comments:

Matthew said...

My favorite show! Need more seasons (badly). xoxo

Sarah Fennel said...

GBBS is Rebe's and my's fave. The judges are hilarious, the contestants are legit, and there is no stupid time constraint. Also, Mary Berry. What a love.

HAILEY said...

I hadn't heard of this show until you mentioned it on another post. I'm definitely sold on watching now! These screenshots and commentary are hilarious and spot on for so many american cooking shows. Thanks! I needed a laugh today. Can't wait to start watching!

Fine After 50 said...

I've watched it twice and will watch it again if season 2 doesn't soon post on Netflix.

The He Said She Said Experience said...

WE ARE TOTALLY OBSESSED! We love this show. We even liked the first American version that was pretty much panned that came out a few years ago. It's all the best parts of food competition shows, but so much nicer than you ever knew they could be. It's why we like MasterChef Canada and won't watch the US version too. Can't wait to see the new season of GBBO!

karin3881 said...

it's on PBS & I've seen a couple of seasons after friends raved about it. I love it for all the reasons you listed above; have pretty much stopped watching N. American cooking shows/Food Network for all the reasons above. They not only have older people but also quite young people. They treat each other with respect yet are very competitive. The competition isn't about beating the others but about doing the best. I also learn a lot about baking & am impressed with the amateur's skill levels.
I'm sure it will be back with more, at least I hope so.

Ileana Morales Valentine said...

I am dying for more seasons of this show! It is so delightful. And I am now having too much fun saying things are "bang-on."

tannaz sassooni said...

i've been chided to watch this show (mostly by rachel and jessica), and kept putting it off, but now i understand. everyone is nice! i love things where everyone is nice.

Jennifer Kavanaugh said...

There used to be more seasons on YouTube if you hunt around.... I love it too!

Jennifer Kavanaugh said...

https://youtu.be/O6CcSpAHYsw some past shows on YouTube on that link...

Marjory said...

My love for the Great British Bake Off runs deep - glad to see it glorified here! I also really loved this commentary http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2016/01/06/outsourcing/

Lydia said...

SOLD. My mom just mentioned this to me and now you. It seems like every British show I've watched lately has felt SO REFRESHING.

cmg said...

I love that they all go back to their normal lives during the week. And I have often wondered why they can't have pants that fit. THey should visit their friends at the Great British Sewing Bee (which is identical, only for sewing) and get fitted.

Amina Elahi said...

I love this show for all the reasons you mentioned! I think the other seasons are available on PBS but I haven't yet forked over for them...

Brands family blog said...

Yes! Excellent points made and the part about the pants is hilarious. I hadn't even noticed but I did notice they always wear blazers. I've been watching this with my six and nine year old, we're about half way though, and we've been loving every moment. My daughters are rooting for Martha. How cool that she's only 17! The episode with the baked Alaska really stressed us out -that was extremely challenging for everyone.

Sober Belle - tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking said...

and then you'll find the great australian bake off (also very good even with the funny/grumpy judge). and the Irish one (less good, still good). and onwards. thank god for british cooking tv. have you seen the original Gordon Ramsay show, Kitchen Nightmares (the UK version?) - it's a completely different and infinitely better shown than the american one. and then you'll be into the unusual british comedies like "Catastrophe." so much good stuff to discover.

SarahCatherine said...

Sold! I think I'll start watching this weekend.

Amelia Morris said...

So glad we're on the same page, guys!! Matt and I will check out what we can find on YouTube for sure.

Mary Anne said...

But but but... no mention that your BFF MARE was the one who insisted you watch this show??!?!? If I ever have another newborn, there better be another season of this lovely, calm, wholesome, happy show to watch while I am nursing him or her for hours upon hours a day! xx

Beth said...

The other seasons are all YouTube! Kind of bad quality, but I was as addicted, so I watched them all anyways. And every season is completely delightful and charming.

Heidi said...

Dear Amelia, I love your blog. I am a faithful reader and find you so refreshing! Aside from the great recipes, I appreciate your point of view. I've watched most seasons of the GBB and agree with your hilarious take on it. It is a great and highly addictive show. Thank you for writing.

Sara said...

Oh gosh 100% YES! I think what I like most about this show is how darn NICE they all are. Nobody is out to sabatage or belittle. They're just there to bake. The judges aren't mean or hateful, but give honest opinions with constructive advice. This show makes me want to bake, and that's a very good thing!

Sara said...

Oh gosh 100% YES! I think what I like most about this show is how darn NICE they all are. Nobody is out to sabatage or belittle. They're just there to bake. The judges aren't mean or hateful, but give honest opinions with constructive advice. This show makes me want to bake, and that's a very good thing!

Lily said...

Because of your blog post, I started watching the series this weekend and I am HOOKED. I'm amazed at how genuinely nice everyone, especially after just watching Top Chef on Thursday. And I agree with the previous commenter about how lovely it is that the bakers are just baking/competing on the weekend and then returning to normal life during the week. The downside is that now I feel compelled to speak in a British accent. Lovely biscuits! Bang on!

And yes, do check out Catastrophe if you haven't already. Such a good show.

mliss said...

I love the show too, but then, I love most british shows.
Americans love heroes, the Brits love characters.
Most of us are characters.

Bridget said...

Ditto! I love this series. It's like the best possible version of reality TV, where there are challenges and fun and learning, but also support. No one's a bad guy! Brilliant.

tori said...

This show is my Peter Pan Happy Place and was one of the hardest things to leave behind in the UK when we came back to Sydney. In one of the earlier seasons there's a competitor called Holly Bell, who I think you would completely enjoy. Her book 'Recipes from a Normal Mum' was published by my publisher at the same time as mine (and did much better). It is a delight (as is her blog). Also, the season where the cameraman occasionally cuts away to shots of a squirrel in the grounds with oversize testicles, is a ROARING delight (I kid you not).

Alicia M said...

British and Australian reality shows are so much more enjoyable. Try Australian Masterchef if you can get your hands on it. So good.

Jamie Bova said...

I love that show as well! They are all so nice and supportive of one another, it's such a wonderful change of pace from other "competitive cooking" shows.

And thank you for that New Yorker recommendation. I might have passed it by otherwise and it was quite lovely.

Unknown said...

I agree! I was so obsessed with finding more seasons, I went to youtube. It's a GOLDMINE! Lots of other amazing bbc stuff. Edwardian Farm, Victorian Bakers. Go!

Heather Struck said...

I cried at the last episode of this season. AGREE with everything you have said here. Love this show.

Victoria Reckell said...

I have to thank you for turning me onto this gem of a show. I love it for all the reasons you listed and more. It is the best "cooking" show I've seen, so delightful! Thank you for highlighting it.

-Tori

Suzanne-Toronto said...

I so want to watch this, but Netflix Canada doesn't have it yet...ugh! Have you seen any episodes of the '90's hilarious BBC show...Two Fat Ladies? Cooking delicious, yet over the top decadent meals at various locations in UK. VERY entertaining!

ChefMom said...

Thanks for a new show to get hooked on! I'm a nut for cooking shows and I have Netflix, but have never heard of this one. Sounds like a Sunday marathon for me!

ann mccaskey said...

There are several seasons on You Tube,but in Britain they call it" The Great British Bake Off".