Well, I finally did it. I caved like a chocolate soufflé fresh out the oven. I watched The Great British Bake-Off (Or The Great British Baking Show for us Americans).
Of course I’ve heard nothing but good things about it for a while now (see Molly’s spot on post from last year), and for some reason, on a recent Sunday night (morning?) at 12:30am, I decided to press play on season 1 and it was all downhill from there.
About a week and a half later, I’m nearly caught up with the most recent season and pretty much convinced myself I, too, can make scrummy plaited breads with no soggy bottoms. But one of the main reasons I became obsessed with the show is that every contestant was utterly delightful – there was no animosity between them, and in fact, like Molly said in her post, they’re all helpful and supportive of each other. Of course I had my favorites like any other TV competition show, but there were some bakers who stood out for me more than the others, the ones that I would love to hang out with outside of the tent, the ones who would cheer me on even if the cold, hard reality of my lack of baking skills was slapped in my face like a dough being kneaded harshly against the bench.
Have I gone too far with the GBBO refs? Get used to it, muffins. Here are the contestants from the four seasons (that have aired in the U.S.) that I would love to start a squad with. Do you agree/want to join? Read on to find out.
Ready? Set! BAaakkEEE!
Season 1/Series 4
The moment Glenn popped up on my screen, I was all in. He’s a teacher who kept a positive attitude but knew when to be comically self-depreciating when need be. I just wanted to give him a hug any time he didn’t get the best feedback from the judges. Plus, he’s a gay British man, which is like, my target demo.
The runner-up had a smile that could light up the room. Yes, I realize that is the cliche-est of all the cliches, but it’s true. She was confident enough in her baking and not the type to beat herself up if she didn’t have a good round. And just back to that smile real quick – who wouldn’t want that on a day when you’re feeling shitty?
Season 2/Series 5
Kate had light pink streaks in her hair and that’s why I like her. The end.
JK. But anyone who has pink hair has to be a certain type of bold character to wear it proudly, and Kate is just that. Her attitude was the perfect mix of bubbly and not-so-bubbly in the stressful times, and that’s exactly the type personality I’d be into for my GBBO Squad.
Season 3/Series 6
You know when you’re just minding your business at work and then your peer makes a snarky comment under their breath, and you’re like, “Wait. That’s really funny,” and then you become pals because you both have the same sense of humor? That’s Sandy. Throughout her time on GBBO, she’d have these one-liners that killed me, and had me thinking about them for days later. She once made a David Attenborough joke that only Brits and rando Americans would get, and I couldn’t stop laughing. Case in point: the GIF above in which Sandy describes how her creme brulee should NOT wobble. Rather, it should only have a little wobble, like so:
Tamal & Nadiya
Alright I’m lumping these two star bakers together, because they’re what inspired me to write this post in the first place. Individually, each of these lovelies had me rooting for them from the first episode. Nadiya (as the internet is wont to tell you) had THE BEST reaction faces throughout the entire competition, and it was like she was reflecting what the viewers at home were doing too. She lacked confidence in the beginning and kept thinking she was going to get cut, but she, like Tamal, was a pretty consistently good baker from the get go. Tamal, an adorable, funny, talented doctor, was just a delight to watch throughout the series, and any time Nadiya and Tamal would get screen time together, I basically just wanted to leap through my screen and hug them both at the same time and force them to be friends with me. Is that too aggressive? Yeah, probably for the best.
And the sweet, sweet words Tamal said about Nadiya in the finale was the most precious. I LOVE WHEN PEOPLE SUPPORT THEIR FRIENDS. AND I LOVE WHEN PEOPLE GAIN SELF-CONFIDENCE. FULL CIRCLE. I LOVE NADIYA AND TAMAL!
Season 4/Series 7
Like Kate before her, I knew I was going to like Candice because her lipstick game was on POINT. It’s such a simple cosmetic look, but it gives her “a thing” to be remembered by with audiences watching from home. And if she doesn’t have her own lipstick line yet, that’s probably something she should get on. Another reason I liked Candice is that her accent sounded familiar to me, as if I had heard her speak before. Well, turns out, she just reminds me of Victoria Beckham because they have such a similar accent (and kind of from the same section of England). Made me like her even more.
Benjamina is one of those bakers who is so super talented, but due to time constraints and other factors, just isn’t always the star baker each week. But you know she’s got it. And she’s got a good attitude about the competition too, just like many of the others that have proceeded her on this list.
Cool as a cucumber – that phrase was made about Selasi. This dude knows how to bake, knows which flavors go with what, and doesn’t freak out completely if a challenge isn’t going his way. Plus the way he talks I could listen to all day.
Ed. Note: I’m obviously watching all this in a bubble, and don’t know any of the politics or media spectacle or post-interviews any of the contestants have done since the show. All I knew was that Nadiya won and everyone loved her. That’s it. Apparently, when searching for Selasi GIFs, there was a rumored thing going on between him and Benjamina? I’m afraid to dig too deep into it, because in full disclosure, I’m not quite done with this season and don’t want to be spoiled
Bonus: Mel & Sue
THE NEXT SEASON OF GBBO IS NOT GOING TO BE THE SAME WITHOUT YOU TWO (OR MARY). I DON’T KNOW HOW WE SURVIVED WITHOUT YOUR PUNS AND CHEEKY INNUENDO ON TV ALL THESE YEARS IN AMERICA.