The CUI Arts section is proud to introduce its newest column, “NetPix,” where CUI staff write about their favorite shows to binge-watch on every college student’s most beloved streaming service.
Do you love delightfully bright colors, wonderfully kind and quirky characters, British accents and delicious baked goods? So does everyone else. This explains why pieces of art like The Great British Bake Off exist.
The competition-based reality show launched in 2010. It has seven seasons so far, each of which consists of 10 one-hour episodes that test baker’s skills with increasingly more difficult challenges. The judges, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry (sadly Mary only appears on the show until season 7), assess every bake for presentation, taste and likeness to professional baking techniques.
Every episode, bakers must make three different bakes: a showcase, a technical piece and a showstopper. Each of these challenges tests their skills and individual strengths. The showstopper is a personal favorite — it features grand (and edible!) displays that look as decadent as they taste (probably, ask Mary Berry). To make each episode even more exciting, time is limited and bakers only have a set, and seemingly impossible, time frame to complete their assignments.
The bakers are not your average reality stars, and you love each of them because of it. All of the contestants have real personalities and look, sound and talk like real people. They are not professionals, but must be exceptional bakers before getting on the show; contestants are pulled from all races, genders and age groups, making the cast delightfully diverse and authentic. Every member is respectively creative throughout the duration of the show and brings unique elements of technique and talent to the table. Those who get to the final round often go on to baking-centric careers and are forever considered top bakers everywhere.
There is one downside to the show — it tends to make you crave doughnuts, and may cause you to spend outrageous sums of money buying store-brand pastries. The show is known to focus on the aesthetic aspect of the food, and the camera pans of finished bakes during the competition never fail to make your mouth salivate. Most of the food featured is British; the pastries, cakes and breads are adorably so. This serves to spread awareness of British baked-goods and acts as a canvas for the self-expression and individual creativity competitors take on while baking.
The Great British Bake Off gets a 10/10 and is one of few reality TV shows that is truly worth watching. A perfect score may seem like an exaggeration, but the program deserves it. The show may not be deep, introspective or even incredibly engaging, but it serves its purpose well. It’s an escape from the worries of everyday life, into a brilliant and beautiful landscape with cute kitchens and gentle people. Drama is minimal, but still exciting. (Okay, honestly, Nancy had NO right to take Iain’s Baked Alaska out of the freezer!) Everything is perfect and beautiful. This baking show is a scared space; one where worries are forgotten and your soul feels 10 times lighter. I highly recommend taking a break from the stresses of ordinary, unnecessarily dramatic and shallow reality TV shows and exchanging them for a comfortable seat to binge The Great British Bake Off — a show that will finally fill that British baked-good-sized hole in your heart.
Contact CUI Arts Staff Writer Tessa Piehl at firstname.lastname@example.org.