Here in America, we are as obsessed with The Great British Baking Show as you, despite the fact we get the show a solid year after you’ve watched it. We’re doing our best to suppress our jealousy over the fact that you guys are already enjoying the new season. You’re listening to brand new terrible puns which Mel and Sue have spent an entire year crafting. Mary Berry is forcing everyone to make meringue desserts from 1852 in the pouring rain. Paul Hollywood is completely forgoing both a shirt and walking like a plebeian, and has chosen to amble around the tent on a tiny Shetland pony (I’ve got until next summer to pretend that this is happening so please don’t destroy my fantasies).
You have it so good over there, United Kingdom. Which is why it hurts extra bad when the internet alerted us this weekTHAT YOU ARE MESSING EVERYTHING UP FOR EVERYBODY.
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First we heard that the premiere had higher ratings than nearly everything else on the telly (yes, telly), and we were ecstatic! This is great for baking, great for Paul’s fragile ego—great all around!
Then we heard the show was leaving the BBC for Channel 4. Honestly, we have no idea what Channel 4 is, but we know that when things over here switch channels for more money, it’s the beginning of the end. Just last year, PBS lost Sesame Street to HBO—and both Susan and Gordon have already been killed by the Lannisters.
They are my imaginary BFFs, the backbone of the show, and my spirit animals for the days where I write these Great British Baking Show recaps and ask: “What would Mel and Sue think of this thinly veiled joke about balls?” If you think it’s easy crafting puns about scones, witty banter about royal icing, or quality jokes about balls, you are wrong, my friends. Wrong.
The halcyon days of The Great British Baking Show are over.
This is a show that gives its winner an engraved platter and a bouquet of flowers instead of a big cash prize. It takes place in a tent, instead of a flashy network studio. There’s no product placement, no backstabbing, no shilling, no sabotage. It’s hugs and friendship and jump cuts to lambs frolicking in a field. But now? The halcyon days of The Great British Baking Show are over. Like everything beautiful in the world, it’s been destroyed by the pursuit of more money.
This show is magic in a bottle, and if there’s one thing history has taught us, it’s that you never, ever, ever fuck with magic in a bottle, because then you break the bottle. That’s exactly why it’s a bottle in the first place and not something more sturdy, like a can.
Mel and Sue, I salute you for sticking to your guns, and if you want to fly me out there so we can have coffee (tea?) and I can help you through this, I’m game. For the rest of you, enjoy these recaps of last season, and tell me what you know about “Channel 4.” Tell me what we can do to get Mel and Sue back. Tell me where we’re all supposed to go from here.
Allison Robicelli is a cookbook author, humorist, host of the Robicelli Argument Clinic Podcast, occasional TV personality, restauranteur (Oaxaca Taqueria & Rip's Malt Shop in NYC), wife, mother, and all around good time.