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Will 'The Great Holiday Baking Show' have the 'Bake Off' touch?

The Great British Bake Off (or, as it’s inexplicably known in America, The Great British Baking Show) has finally found its legs in America! Yeah, there are the PBS airings of the popular British show, but food-television–loving Americans have been hoping against hope that the show gets a comparable American spinoff. ABC has heard the siren’s call of The Great British Bake Off, and later this November, we’ll be treated to The Great Holiday Baking Show!

From the promo commercial, it seems like ABC has kept things mostly the same for the American version. It looks like we still have a tent-ish structure, we still have home cooks struggling to finish expert-level desserts and breads, and we still have the warming yet intimidating presence of Mary Berry.

BUT … there are some concerns that I’m sure many Bake Off fans have, since there are some key elements that make Bake Off so great. Some of the concerns raised are as follows:

Will there be any annoying American-style confessionals?
To be fair, there are some confessionals in Bake Off, but 1) They are more organic than the American, extremely rehearsed, studio-type confessionals that only want catchy soundbites rather than actual reactions, and 2) There are only about four separate confessionals in each episode, each of them happening after the main challenges. None of these confessionals are annoying. None of them narrate what we’re seeing on the television as it is happening, contributing to the stereotype of “stupid” Americans. We’re not stupid! We don’t need to have our hands held as we’re watching television! The Great British Bake Off doesn’t handhold. It throws you into the brink along with the contestants.

Annoying confessionals are, as already stated, the classic American, rehearsed kind. Speaking for myself, I hate those. What makes Baking Show great is that it’s just a battle between the bakers and the bakers alone. If The Great Holiday Baking Show decides to go the Food Network route of having a horrible cutaway to a contestant in front of a green screen saying, “I’m putting together my gingerbread house just as the roof collapses!” just as we see the contestant in real time putting the gingerbread house together as the roof collapses, I’ll throw my slipper at the television.

(As a sidebar, these annoying confessionals could be seen as a great selling point for those who are blind or otherwise sight-challenged, since the contestants themselves are discussing their actions. But if your television is set to audio description, then the narration is already telling you what’s happening, and there are still the confessionals telling you what’s happening. So never mind; these confessionals could still be redundant and annoying. But if I’m wrong, tell me so below.)

Where the f— is Paul Hollywood!?
Part of what makes Bake Off great, apart from the show’s lifeblood—the contestants—are the tag teams of hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, and the judges, Berry and Paul Hollywood. Apparently, ABC feels like Berry is more essential to the American success of Bake Off than Hollywood. Or, to not put words into ABC’s mouth, maybe Hollywood (the man) had enough of Hollywood (the industry) when he was tapped to judge CBS’s version of The Great British Bake Off, The American Baking Competition, in 2013.

But if I were ABC, I would make sure Hollywood was in the deal. Hollywood’s intensity—the fear he strikes in the contestants—is gold! Everyone wants to see what Hollywood is going to say to the baker who dares go against his proven method for making sourdough! Don’t get me wrong: Berry is fantastic, and she can get scary when she needs to. But Hollywood is the bad cop to her good cop. With just one cop, where’s the dynamic?

Will Nia Vardalos and husband Ian Gomez bring the charm?
As alluded to above, Giedroyc and Perkins (“Mel and Sue,” as they’re known in the U.K.) offset the tough judging of Berry and Hollywood beautifully. While the latter two are busy critiquing, Giedroyc and Perkins bring the warmth and welcoming atmosphere that keeps the bakers sane and smiling during insane times.

Vardalos, known for My Big Fat Greek Wedding, seems like she’s got that “Mel and Sue” vibe, and Gomez can also use his comedy chops from Cougar Town, so I’m not too worried about how the American Bake Off ship is being steered as far as hosting duties go. But, you know, we’re in uncharted waters. It’ll take a little getting used to if we’re not seeing Giedroyc and Perkins, who are now synonymous with Bake Off.

When all of this handwringing is said and done, though, I’m sure The Great Holiday Baking Show is going to be … well, great. I hope so, because America has needed a Bake Off for a while. And who knows? If the holiday version of this is successful, perhaps we’ll get a full-fledged American Baking Show for any other time out of the year! It can be done.

What do you think about The Great Holiday Baking Show? Sound off below!

The Great Holiday Baking Show airs Monday, November 30, at 10/9C on ABC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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