Three years ago, Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman started a gratifying crafting contest Making it. A great mix of handcrafted competition and humorous interactions between Park and Rec The co-stars made the show a resounding success. Now Poehler has produced a spin-off of the show, this time bringing a holiday baking contest into their inventory. And this time, she recruited her SNL friends Maya Rudolph and Andy Samberg to host the show.
BOOKING: LEARN IT OR FORGET IT?
Opening scene: We zoom in on a snowball. Amy Poehler, in her Making it overalls, thanks to my best friend Maya Rudolph for looking after the barn for the holidays. Andy Samberg joins them. Then they insisted on doing a contest there, singing “Baking It” to the tune of Making it.
Gist: Bake it, if you haven’t noticed this yet, is this a sequel to holiday baking? Making it, a craft competition that Poehler ran with Nick Offerman. Rudolph and Samberg are there to keep things moving and provide plenty of goofy laughs. But the hard work is being done by eight pairs of contestants, competing for a $50,000 prize.
Each day, the teams will be given a quick baking challenge, called “Short & Sweet” and a dream baking challenge called “Pie In The Sky”. In the first episode, the Short and Sweet theme is “Eight Mad Bugs”, in honor of Hanukkah. The eight dishes can be sweet or savory, but they need to tell the host and judge something about the baker.
Who is the examiner? Four stubborn grandmothers: Nana Harriet, Mrs. Anne, Gigi Sherri and Bubbe Norma. They are chatty, obstinate and love their granddaughter. And they are all successful bakers.
For the Pie In The Sky challenge, the contestants were tasked with making a cake that on the outside reflects the personality of one team member and on the inside says something about the other. We found the results ranged from a cake made to look like a striped popcorn cup to an intricate rosette with gulab jamun on the inside.
What shows will it remind you of? Making itfunny vibe mixed with Great British Baking Show.
Our Take: That funny vibe is really what makes Bake it different from TGBBS. It’s strange that the reformatting comes out in full here, with Making it adjusted this format to manual and now put it back to baking mode. But without the presence of Rudolph and Samberg, along with the stubborn girls, the show wouldn’t have flown at all.
What expertise do Rudolph and Samberg have in baking? We have no opinion. For all we know, both are experts. But they’re there to be funny, and the interludes where the two of them talk to each other are often the funniest parts of the episode. We certainly laughed at the way Samberg described Hanukkah: “We all get together seven times a year to complain and drink.” When Rudolph said it sounded hilarious, Samberg said cheerfully, which was one of the funniest things he’s ever said: “Yeah… Yeah… It’s not.”
They had a good relationship with the contestants, and they did a good job of relieving some of the stress as they went to each station to talk to each team. Could there be less schtick and more views on whether the contestants succeed or fail with their creations? Sure. But it could also be because most of the teams nailed the round with no real drama to create.
For the disqualified team, the question is in relation to the presentation. It’s a bit surprising who won.
Gender and Skin: Lots of erotic pictures of food, but that’s about it.
Farewell shot: The eliminated team received a big hug from the obstinate grandmothers; Nana Harriet complained about her handbag slipping off her shoulder as she walked to the station to give them a hug.
Sleeper Star: All four girls made the competition warm and fuzzy. But they also know what they’re talking about and give pretty good reviews.
Most Pilot-y routes: Nothing we could find.
Our call: INSTRUCTIONS IT. If you want a light, family-friendly and fun baking demonstration, then Bake it is a good choice for viewing during the holidays. Rudolph and Samberg are on their A-game here, but the stubborn girls are the show’s secret weapon.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting, and technology, but he’s not kidding: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and others.
https://decider.com/2021/12/02/baking-it-peacock-review/ Stream or skip?