Well, there are rumors…
And I am only going to keep it to the level of rumor until there is a formal announcement because the exclusive came from The Sun of all places. While The Sun forces you to pay to read their fine journalistic craftsmanship and look at women’s tits, the story has been reported in other places.
Apparently, there is talk of ABC creating a baking competition show in the style of The Great British Bake Off (GBBO), only ABC will ship a bunch of Americans over to England, stick them under the baking tent, and give Mary Berry the honor of judging them.
How do I put this delicately? Hmm…
Now I am writing this as an American. If this ABC gives this show the green light, it will suck at such a low level that we will long for the return of The New Leave It to Beaver.
First of all, there is Mary. What is wonderful about Mary in GBBO is that she has been a fixture in British cookery for decades. People know her, and she has the credibility. The production company didn’t just cast her because they tipped back a few gin and tonics. But knowing American television, the powers that be are either going to portray her as Mary Poppins or Cruella De Vil thanks to skillful editing. (Don’t forget that Disney owns ABC.) She is English, so she can’t be a complete person, you know.
Then there is the superfluous exercise of sending a bunch of Americans to invade England armed with Grandma’s Brown Betty recipe. I am sure it will attract the Anglophile viewers who will get all misty-eyed over the London field trips and countryside coach tours on which the contestants will embark. Gives a boost to the British tourism industry, I guess. However, it will be yet another program that plays into the stereotype of how everything is “quaint” and “charming” in the U.K., and, once again, Americans do not really see just how complex the country truly is.
Of course, the casting agents are not going to choose anyone with any modicum of knowledge about the U.K. and any of its baking. Where is the fun in that? Embarrassment and disasters draw ratings. The producers also want the people with the personalities that are going to clash to create the most drama and to be sure they fill their demographic quotas. I would be spending most of the show rolling my eyes over how ill-informed these people are, if I can get past the first 15 minutes of the first episode.
And I can imagine the technical challenges. Oh, let’s have some fun and give the Americans some exotic British ingredients. Make a jam roly-poly and use this.
“Um? What is this Aorta stuff? How do you say it? Sweat?”
But there could be an upside to this. If the bakers are particularly, shall we say, misguided, we can have Mary set them straight. Because they can’t do this style over substance Food Network/Duff Goldman/Cake Boss/Cupcake Wars business with the icing to the ceiling and explosives. I am also talking about those who think it is OK to put Crisco in a buttercream and because they care about their rosettes being rigid more than the flavor. It would be so worth it, if Mary just lost it after taking a bite, stepped out of character, and stated,
“This tastes like arse.”
Then I would take everything I just wrote all back.