Every time new episodes of “The Great British Baking Show” come out on streaming services, I’m sucked in. Otherwise known as “The Great British Bake Off” in the UK, it’s country of origin, the show is a simple one. People make extravagant desserts, pastries, biscuits, and an assortment of other beautiful and often complicated treats. The hosts are funny and kind. No one is winning any money. No one is trying the throw anyone under any buses in judging. They just bake in a tent and treat each other kindly.
It’s something the production company has tried to replicate in other countries, but for whatever reason, the magic and spirit of the original is hard to match. Even as an American, I’d far rather watch the British Version than the American version called “The Great Holiday Baking Show”, which allegedly had some not so wholesome things take place behind the scenes leading the whole thing to be canceled.
In the British version, contestants have been known to honor bakers who have been recently kicked off by dressing like them. They help each other when things go wrong. The hosts have been known to cuss next to crying bakers so that post production won’t be able to use the baker’s embarrassing displays of emotion in the show. The contestants are as diverse as the country of the UK, and despite how wildly different they all seem to be, they nearly always treat each other with kindness and respect.
As we head into the holiday season, Christmas shopping gears up, and traffic around various shopping centers gets crazy, I wonder what would happen if we treated each other like we were all on “The Great British Baking Show”. If we helped each other out, didn’t ever throw our coworkers under the bus, or covered people's embarrassing moments rather than exploited or exposed them.
It’s idealistic, for sure. Life is more complicated than making bread in a tent, I’m sure. But still, what if?
Strange Perspective is a weekly look into all things pop culture, by Claremore Progress columnist Rachel Strange.