Anyone who has seen free to air TV, or any advertisements during the year, will know of the popularity of cooking shows, even more so if you accidentally turn on the Food TV channel. For some, these shows provide an interesting perspective of their food passion, for the rest of us, it’s usually a guilty pleasure where we watch people fail or succeed at their passions.
Then there is Nailed It.
Nailed It takes the premise of a cooking show, and instead of dancing around the reason many of us watch, throws it in as the premise. They take terrible bakers, and get them to create difficult and intricate desserts, to be judged by people who can make them.
Each episode pins three competitors against each other to make these difficult deserts across two rounds. The first is head to head, and the winner gains an advantage for the second round. The second round, which is significantly harder, puts them neck in neck for the $10k prize money.
This may sound mean, but the show has a different vibe. Instead of being a cutthroat challenge, where we watch people crumble and break under the pressure, it gives it a different frosting. It has a relaxed vibe that is reinforced with its host, Nicole Byer.
When she first started with her high energy, I thought Nicole was doing an Oprah impression, but not long into the first episode I realised she is a high energy and cheery person. This personality, lined with the premise of the show, pulls it away from guilty pleasure territory, and right into the region of fun Sunday afternoon watching.
The previously mentioned advantages and disadvantages are testament to this. Initiated with buttons they vary from being able to get assistance for a moment, to forcing the other competitors and the clock, to stop for a moment. These ones sound generic, until the Nicole distraction button is used, which sets the host on their opponents. Nicole then proceeds to get into their workspace and act childish, such as asking annoying questions, to making repetitive sounds and phrases. It’s silly, but it put a smile on my face.
That’s where this show gets both its charm, and its value. The guest judges, who could turn their noses up at the terrible recreations of their dishes, instead dole out support, and positive reinforcement. Sure, if someone goes completely off book, and by that, I mean not look at the recipe on the tablet at all, they criticise it, but even then, it’s never that harsh. Instead it’s clear that the judges, host, and competitors are all on the same page, that they are there to have fun.
Nailed it is the perfect way to spend a few hours, for anyone who has fallen off the cooking show bandwagon. It uses its own recipe of silliness and quality to present a funny show that is filled with all the cooking show tropes, which it plays with to find its own flavour.