“The Great British Baking Show” is the most influential reality show of the past decade

When I put on the new Hulu series Baker’s dozen recently I was struck by an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. Bubbly comedic actress Tamera Mowry-Housley and celebrity executive chef Bill Yosses pitted a group of bakers against each other in an outdoor competition in pastel colors, with tent-like structures and tons of good times. -to be. I wondered if I had somehow stumbled upon the American version of The Great British Pastry Fair, before remembering it, ABC has literally already The great American pastry fair. And the BBC its own all too obvious Pastry shop spin-off with Mary Berry called Britain’s best cook.

The Great British Pastry FairSo great is the influence of on Food TV that Netflix’s new architecturally-oriented baking show, Cooking not possible, boasts of a former – Andrew Smyth – as host and judge. Nadiya Hussain, Chetna Makan and Ruby Tandoh are just a few of the others Great British Pastry Fair stars who have since found fame in the food world after their time in the tent.

However, it is not only the pastry competitions that have found inspiration in The Great British Pastry Fairthe formula, the talent or the atmosphere of. NBC Craft Contest do it, the Netflix glassblowing competition Soufflé, HBO Max The large pottery throw, and even the last seasons of Bravo’s Project track and Top chef clearly riddled with international success. (The latter two have shown a new bluster in recent seasons, where contestants support each other GBBS-style during backstabbing in the show’s early years.)

Whether you love him or hate him, The Great British Pastry Fair may be the most influential reality show of the past decade. And no number of new hosts, frustrating judgments or controversies can take that away from the show.

Great British Baking Show man with cup of tea
Photo: Netflix

The Great British Pastry Fair first premiered in UK (as The Great British Cake) in 2010 and about five years later, it appeared on the radar of American Anglophiles on PBS and streaming on Prime Video. The show’s civilized sensibility immediately set it apart from other culinary competitions. As I wrote six years ago: “Unlike many shows of its kind, The Great British Pastry Fair doesn’t take place in a terribly intimidating chef’s kitchen. On the contrary, everything takes place in a beautiful tent, filled with cutting-edge, pastel-colored kitchen supplies, in the middle of a beautiful English garden… The competitors are not just here to win, they are there, for, uh, making friends… Instead of the usual backstabbing we see on reality TV, contestants help each other out and step in when things go wrong.

What seemed revolutionary in 2015 – that someone could make a baking contest show that was kind and addicting in nature because of its calming aesthetic – is almost cliché in 2021. The first imitators of the series’ success were born relatively organically. Love Productions, the team behind The Great British Baking Show, followed him with The large pottery throw and the (impossible to broadcast in the USA !!!!) * Great British Sewing Bee. Naturally, foreign versions of their success quickly appeared around the world. When the BBC refused to renew The Great British Pastry Fair, the series became a Channel 4 / Netflix exclusive and the BBC launched what it hoped would be such an endearing successor, Britain’s best home cook. (His…fine. Much better in Season 2, but hardly the slam dunk of the original.)

Matt shakes hands with Jurgen at the Great British Baking Show
Photo: Netflix

Soon, however, The Great British Pastry FairThe ultra-popular wellness energy of permeated almost every reality competition. Junior Chef has apparently overtaken the place of the original in tune with the times. The Food Network always pitted tough chefs against each other, but the likes of holiday-themed competitions and friendly cuisines like Defeat Bobby Flay reigned supreme. Now it’s hard to watch a reality TV show and not see The Great British Pastry Fairis somewhere in the mix. Drag race could take us to the library, but the enduring stars seem to be friends. do it is literally The Great British Pastry Fair, but craftsmanship. The best part of Island of love Where The circle does watching stupid hotties become… friends? Even obstacle course reality shows like The ground is lava doesn’t go as hard or mean as its concept allows.

Maybe we’ve gotten nicer as a culture, but as someone who lives on social media I’m not sure that’s true. What is undeniable is that The Great British Pastry Fair has had a huge impact on the way we view the reality TV world. Once a genre built around the splendor of people’s private lives or rewarding the fiercest personalities, reality TV is now full of shows that affirm our humanity. We wait competitors are helping each other now and want players to be friends when the cameras stop rolling. It is natural to organize a show in a tent. We see Great British Pastry Fair alums as experts in their profession.

This The Great British Pastry FairThe now ubiquitous sweetness was once an aberration on reality TV shows how much the series has changed the game forever. That, and all the fucking pastel benches in the outer tents.

* As a new sewer, I am particularly rude about it!

To concern The Great British Pastry Fair on Netflix

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