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A case for a Southern adaptation of 'The Great British Baking Show'

The Great British Baking Show is a hit in America … as long as you’re watching it on PBS. The show has tons of Anglophile and public-television fans here in the States, but when you get into the world of American adaptations and lookalikes, it seems like Food Network’s slate of high-octane, very American, very winner-takes-all baking and cooking competition shows has America by the throat.

ABC’s version of the British cult hit The Great Holiday Baking Show seemed to have had a minor level of success, but not enough to warrant a second season. In other words, it’s providing ABC the same problem The Sing-Off did: It’s not popular enough to invest tons of money and time into, but it’s just popular enough to provide fodder for the holiday season. But I’m here to propose a way to make an American version of The Great British Baking Show successful and popular enough to sustain itself for several seasons.

Enter the case for The Great Southern Baking Show.

Why the South, you ask? Why not make it just The Great American Baking Show? I mean, it makes sense to be democratic about the entire American landscape of baking, but I’m going to be selfish and suggest that the South become the home of the show for two reasons:

1) The North is known for hardtack.
2) The South is the monarch of American baking.

The South is known for a lot of horrible things. Slavery. The KKK. Jim Crow. The Confederate flag. Most of these things, as you can see, deal with racism. But as a Southerner, let me tell you that the South is changing. It’s a melting pot of cultures, religions, and races (and by races, I mean more than just black and white people). The South is a new South—just look at Atlanta alone, not to mention Birmingham, which is steadily rising in prominence. And because the South is a new South (and because Atlanta is becoming the new Hollywood), it’s high time we got a show that showcased our good side. One of the best ways to show our good side is through our baking.

The South is, for all intents and purposes, the closest American cousin to the Britain’s love of gentility and domesticity. Granted, the South was able to keep and cultivate that spirit of gentility through horrifically racist purposes, so the South’s love of “the simple life,” as it were, is complicated by the region’s remaining struggle with white supremacy. Despite that horrid history, though, the love of baking has prevailed into present day and is a part of many Southerners’ lives, whether you’re white or black.

When you think of the South, the first thing you think of is the food. And if you’re a Southerner, you might have realized how much baking permeates almost every one of our meals. Going on a picnic? Get some fried chicken, potato salad, and pound cake. Want breakfast? Try some biscuits (basically English scones without the sugar), paired with either sausage gravy, jam, eggs, or some kind of fried meat. Dinner could be collard greens, pork chops, and cornbread. For the holidays, there’s dressing (savory cornbread pudding), red velvet cake, pineapple upside-down cake, pecan pie … the list goes on and on and on. In short, we bake a lot.

We are also quite competitive with our bakes. It’s always someone’s grandmother, aunt, or mother who can make the best baked good. Family get-togethers can become Food Network–esque competitions themselves, with reputations created or destroyed over their dessert. We don’t take bad food lightly—and that kind of environment, I think, would have created some great contestants ready for their shot in the tent.

As you might have noticed, the South has a variety of bakes, which I think is the ultimate point to having a Baking Show spinoff set in the South. I was being funny about the North only being known for hardtack. There are things that the North (specifically the Northeast) is known for, like black-and-white cookies, for instance. I could be wrong, but culturally, baking doesn’t seem as intrinsic to the North/Northeastern culture as it is in the South, which has led to us having tons of pies, cakes, cookies, and other baked goods that are considered edible family markers.

Every one of the South’s bakes also takes time to master, which would make for great challenges. For instance, it’s easy to make a bad custard tart. It can be difficult to get the right amount of jelly-like consistency to the filling of the pecan pie. One false move could make or break a contestant and send them home, crying in shame.

In short, I think a Southern version of The Great British Baking Show would be right up Mary Berry’s alley. She looked like she was trying her best to have fun with The Great Holiday Baking Show, but I don’t know if her heart was truly in it. With The Great Southern Baking Show, however, Berry would be up to her eyeballs in the myriad of bakes the South claims as its own, complete with historical significance (much like the way many bakes in England have historical and royal relevance). Make it so, ABC. Make it so.

What do you think about a Southern Baking Show? If you’re a Northerner, are you offended? Sound off below!

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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