"Predictable and prim," says one of Homemade's writers. But do you agree?
While millions of people will be glued to the showstoppers, lattice work and soggy bottoms of Great British Bake Off's 12 new bakers (13 million people watched last year’s final. Thirteen million!) not everyone 'gets' the phenomenon. Yes, that’s right: there are some non-baking, kitchen-indifferent TV viewers whom even Paul Hollywood can’t charm.
Here’s why the GBBO season is worse than a melted baked Alaska …
It’s not as funny as it thinks it is
At first, Mel and Sue tried to slip in a few sly jokes. Then they went to double entendres. Now, they’re down to the single entendres: “That Swiss roll looks like a ... oh, never mind!” Put some effort in, guys! The last time we laughed at the words "soggy bottom", we were five. The worst part is when a baker tries their hand at a bit of banter and Paul chokes out a fake laugh, as if to say: "I do the dad jokes around here, sunshine."
It’s just soooo twee
The check tablecloths, the pastel colours, the music – everything’s so cutesy and mild-mannered, it’s like a long, sleepy afternoon at your gran’s house, where the central heating is turned up so high it makes you just want to doze off. Contestants never have epic, X Factor-style backstories; they're just full of polite, British, understatements about how good they are at baking cakes – and "please" and "thanks" and "if that’s OK with you".
Nobody wants to eat those cakes
OK, so they might be the most beautiful cakes you’ve ever seen outside Pinterest, but would you eat them? Not only has someone been caressing them with sweaty hands for hours, dripping perspiration into the mix, but they’re just too complicated to eat. Say what you like about a traybake, at least it's straightforward. Try taking one of those Bake Off cakes round your mum's and she’ll just coo that it looks “too good to ruin” and keep it so long it goes stale.
It turns your office into a paranoid wreck
“Oooh, are you talking about Bake Off? DON’T TELL ME! DON’T TELL ME WHO WENT OUT!” people at work will squeal, even if you just ask them if they want a cup of tea. “I’ve recorded it! I’m watching it tonight! No, don’t even look in my eyes, I’ll read your mind and … oh, no! You moved your eyes in a certain way NOW I KNOW WHO HAS GONE! It’s the one with the hat? And the hair? Oh, well, that’s totally spoilt it for me. THANKS.” Watch it on the night, or don’t watch it at all, people.
Everyone pretends to like each other
The bakers are all so supportive of one another. “Good luck!” or “That looks great, well done!” they smile. “Oh, we don’t want anyone to go home, we’re all mates here!” they hiss through gritted teeth. It’s a competition! You all want to win and, if you don’t, why are you sweating your pits off in a sweltering tent? The best part of the last series was – as everyone knows – when Iain Watters hurled his showstopper into a bin. Such passion! So much emotion! If you’d asked him there and then, he would have thrown alleged Baked Alaska saboteur Diana Beard in the bin, too, and that flash of hot, white temper was brilliant. The rest of the time, when everyone’s nice to each other? Naaah.
It’s totally confusing for people who can’t actually bake
If, let’s say, the only time you tried to bake it was a birthday cake for your boyfriend/girlfriend and it didn’t turn out so well. The sponge was a dry husk of a disaster, you couldn’t be bothered to wait for it to cool down, so the icing all melted off the sides and you had to scoop it from the plate to the top again with your bare hands and maybe, just maybe the boyf/girlf walked in mid-barehanded scoop and pulled a disgusted face. If that happened, you might think that it’d be much easier to just buy a cake, and maybe baking’s a waste of time. Then, GBBO is a confusing use of 12 whole weeks.
I'll still be watching, though ...