Why Do Americans Love ‘The Great British Baking Show?’

Brittany Talissa King
ZORA
Published in
3 min readDec 3, 2021

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I enjoy this show for its culinary art. However, other TV components make this series delicious.

If Sunday is for Football, and Tuesday is for tacos, then Friday is for The Great British Baking Show. And to be frank, as I type this article, I’m finally watching the last episode where final contestants, Chigs (40, Sales Manager, Leicestershire), Crystelle (26, Client Relationship Manager, London), and Giuseppe (45, Chief Engineer, Bristol), are baking for the title.

And as I watch this Netflix hit, I can’t help but wonder, Why do I love this show so much? Of course, I enjoy this show for its culinary art. However, other ingredients make this series delicious.

And that exact question was headlined in a BBC article by Vicki Baker, “Why do Americans love the British Bake Off?” She wrote, “Contestants never say things like ‘I didn’t come here to make friends.’ There are no irritating product placements and — perhaps most incomprehensibly to American audiences — no material riches to be won.”

Perhaps, this competition show appeals to Americans because it’s not overproduced. One might say that’s a contradictory sentiment since most American reality shows are heavy on the drama. Typically, there’s an element of people backstabbing each other in their confessional interviews or face-to-face. Where the viewers even might harbor strange resentment against the competition, as if we’re a part of the show.

But in The Great British Baking Show, the episodes aren’t a series of competitors gossiping, hooking up, or sabotaging each other. Not only that, but they champion each other’s confection successes, or when one receives the coveted handshake from judge Paul Hollywood.

Additionally, there’s no “real world” element to the show. We aren’t privy to their personal lives outside of the white tent. The focus is simply on what the amateur bakers’ can craft for these three rounds: the…

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Brittany Talissa King
ZORA

Writer and journalist. I explore race and social issues through history and pop-culture. @b.talissa IG. @KingTalissa Twitter. Journalism MA — NYU.