Tuesday, December 7, 2010

next great baker

it was with great sadness that i watched cake boss: the next great baker on tlc last night.  i applied to be on the show.  i even got a call and was invited to submit a video.  and okay, sure, my video probably kind of sucked.  for some reason, i thought i would be able to defend my dissertation and celebrate on thursday, attend meetings and then drive an hour and a half on friday, and then bake, decorate, and put together a video that same weekend (while working in a kitchen that was not my own and painstakingly working around others' schedules).  needless to say (despite my valiant sacrifice of sleep), i was not selected as one of their 20 finalists.  and sure, i'm very much just an amateur ... i don't own or have access to a bakery, nor have i been "trained" in any official capacity (and i'm aware this is shockingly evident in some of my earlier creations - you'll find them on the "free time" link).  but some of the contestants seemed to be amateurs too.

hmm ... maybe it's better i didn't get cast, though.  i would like to think i'm generally a respectful person ... but i couldn't help thinking a few very acerbic thoughts when contestants received feedback from Buddy, Mary, and the big guy (no, i guess i never watched enough of cake boss to learn all of the supporting characters' names).  and i'm not sure how graciously i would have handled some of the ridiculous feedback (some of the feedback was warranted, if mean (and whatever, the mean remarks are par for the reality show course), but seriously, in what world do you award someone immunity and then when they need to use it, do you ask them if they want to give it up because their cake sucked?  wasn't that the whole point of giving the reward of immunity?  that if their cake sucked, they would use it?  and what possible incentive was there for the contestant to give up immunity and go home?  as though they were offering the contestant a real opportunity that the contestant might actually want.  it made no sense - i think it must have been the most schizophrenogenic feedback i've ever heard).  then, of course, there was the cake that was crowned with the head of a wolf carcass.  and it was chosen as one of the 3 best.  i have a feeling that had i been on the show, my commentary probably would have been edited out.

i have a sneaky suspicion that these contestants look much worse than they actually are only because of time and equipment constraints.  i'll be curious to see whether time limits for projects increase as the show goes on.  that is, if i continue to watch it.  i'm finding it to be a bittersweet experience ... i can watch the contestants 'improve" and try to learn to love them as time goes on until one of them eventually wins ... and then try to be happy for the winner as s/he goes home with the $50,000 i wish i had a chance to win.

in the meantime (as i patiently wait to find out if there can be any hope of a season 2), i'll be making a cake this week for j's lab's holiday party.  for no reward other than the happiness of knowing that, at least for the time being, i have prevented a few graduate students from starving to death.

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