Let’s face it, folks: We’re not all Great British Bakers.
And now there’s a place for home bakers to humiliate oursel … er … do the thing we love and win a $10,000 prize.
That place is “Nailed It.”
Each episode of the Netflix series pits three dessert makers against each other. They clearly love to bake. But like me and probably you, their love exceeds their skill set.
Reportedly inspired by YouTube clips in which amateurs try to re-create astonishing baked goods, each episode challenges baketestants to tackle two desserts, like a jelly-filled doughnut iced with pirate symbols or a multitiered wedding cake topped with handcrafted fondant flowers.
Comedian Nicole Byer is the brassy host, and legendary chocolatier Jacques Torres is head judge, who presides along with a guest judge drawn from the ranks of baking badasses.
Mistakes will be made! One guy forgot to add eggs to his batter. A retired cop microwaved chocolate for such a long time that it began smoking. Five-second bursts of heat are better, the judges sagely note.
Home viewers will likely learn more from such errors than from the over-the-top techniques on other shows.
“Nailed It” winks at us as we laugh at it, poking fun at the seamlessness of reality shows. A stagehand pops up from under a table when a prop is missing. When a judge isn’t sure what the prize is for a bake-off, she’s pointed in the direction of the teleprompter.
Final baked goods often resemble lumpy clumps of dough topped with oozing, garishly tinted frosting. Yet even the judges admit that an ugly cake can taste better than it looks. The best (or least awful) cake wins; money is shot at the victor via a money gun!
Meanwhile, episode 1 judge Sylvia Weinstock, aka “the queen of cakes,” deserves her own reality show. Wearing her trademark oversized black-rimmed glasses, the 88-year-old wanders into the “Nailed It” pantry, sees a “fabulous” pot she likes and decides to take it: “If you steal, you steal big.”
Read Marc’s previous columns here.