Kristen and I are thoroughly enjoying The Great British Baking Show. We’re currently watching Collection 3 on Netflix, and have been liking it enough that we’ve actually asked ourselves, “Why is this so good?”
In some ways, this is just a typical competition/reality show. Average people struggle through challenges as witty hosts and expert judges critique their performances. Every week, one contestant is named Star Baker and another is sent home. Given the predictability of this format, it’s suprising that this kind of show has caught our attention, twenty years after Survivor set off the reality TV craze.
The difference, to me, is in the general attitude of the show. Instead of cut-throat craziness and belligerant backstabbing, the competition on TGBBS is unfailingly civil. You often see contestants helping each other when an extra hand is needed or encouraging one another when a bake goes bad. Although the bakers are heavily invested in their performance, they seem to understand that it’s all for fun at the end of the day.
In fact, it must be all for fun because there’s absolutely no prize money at stake! The winner of the whole shebang literally walks home with an engraved cake stand and nothing else besides bragging rights. Maybe that’s part of the secret recipe? Contestants aren’t stressed out by the prospect of winning or losing a life-changing sum of dough, so they can keep it all in perspective?
Whatever the case, it’s fun to see a dozen average Brits giving up their weekends to whip up an amazing array of culinary creations. I don’t know if we’ll make it through the entire back catalog of this show, but it’s a scrummy delight for now.