First the BBC lost the rights to The Great British Bake Off.
Then, as the show got picked up by Channel 4, Sue and Mel let it be known that they were stepping down.
Then Mary Berry said “Farewell to soggy bottoms.”
All of that has happened since September of this year. Now we sink even deeper with the news that Mary Berry— as much as we rejoice over the fact that she’s not disappearing from our TV lives— will be joining the American version of the show.
First of all, apparently there’s going to be an American version of the show. Its hosts will be My Big Fat Greek Wedding’s Nia Vardalos and her husband Ian Gomez, with Mary Berry judging alongside celebrity baker Johnny Iuzzini.
For anyone who watched the American spin-off version of The Great Holiday Baking Show, this line-up looks familiar to you.
And if you did watch the holiday show, please talk the rest of us down off this ledge. Because it’s hard to imagine that the main audience of the GBBO will find what they’re looking for in The Great American Baking Show. To American audiences at least, who didn’t know this oasis otherwise existed, the best thing about GBBO was how different it was from the reality TV we know. The lack of drama, the focus on skill and learning— we didn’t know these things could be on television.
Anywhere but on the BBC, that episode where Diana left Iain’s Baked Alaska on the counter? All of that drama? THAT’S OUR TELEVISION, ALL THE TIME. The BBC made that incident as scandalous as they could— did you know that dish was on the counter for all of 40 seconds? I didn’t! That’s good TV!— but the equivalent of that on anything from Project Runway to The Bachelor would have been edited to make Diana a super-villain, and/probably or Iain totally unstable.
The reason we love the GBBO is that it’s an almost-peaceful, drama-free tent of baking and friendship and very little, if ay, character manipulation. It’s our happy place. No one trusts American television (ABC, in this case) to keep our happy place safe.
The Great American Baking Show would be easy enough to ignore if it hadn’t wooed Mary Berry with its dramatic siren song. What are we supposed to do now? Go back to Paul Hollywood, on his own, all alone in that tent?