(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Series: Nailed It!
Where You Can Stream It: Netflix
The Pitch: A baking competition show featuring the world’s worst bakers.
Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: There’s nothing riding on Nailed It! It’s about as laid-back a show as you can get – even when compared to other laid-back baking competitions, like, say The Great British Bake Off. No one takes the competition angle seriously, and, best of all, the contestants – who are truly terrible bakers – will make you feel better about your own culinary skills.
There are plenty of baking shows on TV, but Nailed It! is special. Hosted by hilarious comedian Nicole Byer and charming pastry chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres, Nailed It! assembles the worst of the worst of amateur bakers. The type of people who accidentally put salt in a recipe instead of sugar. The type who have never used an electric mixer in their life. The type who are prone to burn, well, everything. To make things extra tricky, the contestants have to assemble Instagram-ready sweet treats – fancy cakes and other delectable pastries that are often shaped like recognizable objects. As you might guess, it never goes well.
I hesitated to watch Nailed It! for a long time. I was worried the show was going to be too cruel; too mocking of its inept contestants. But after giving it a chance I was delighted. Nailed It! does poke occasional fun at its contestants’ skills (or lack thereof), but it’s all good-natured. This show doesn’t laugh at the contestants – it laughs with them. They know they’re bad at baking – that’s why they’re on the show.
Nailed It! is the type of entertainment I crave when I’m in the mood to tune out, well…everything. I’m not a fan of the phrase “turn your brain off,” but the fact of the matter is that watching Nailed It! doesn’t require much intellectual thought. All it demands of you is your attention – and your laughter. Byer is consistently funny and over-the-top in her hosting duties, and she’s usually backed-up by guest judges, many of them fellow comedians (Jason Mantzoukas has appeared twice, and brought a kind of chaotic humor that’s had me laughing so hard tears welled up in my eyes).
Other baking competitions have good intentions, and usually feature bakers who know what the heck they’re doing. The Great British Bake Off bunch are amateurs, but they’re really good at what they do. The folks on Nailed It! are utterly clueless, and there’s something comforting about that. We can all feel a little clueless sometimes – in over our heads and out of our leagues. There’s nothing wrong with embracing that, and having a good laugh about it, too.
Nailed It! season 4 premieres on Netflix April 1.
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