The eighth season of Netflix’s “Great British Baking Show” dropped on Sept. 25 and was just as quaint and quintessentially British as ever. With its cheeky humor, soggy bottom references, and Paul Hollywood’s myriad of judgemental faces, the newest season is a source of much- needed comfort during the COVID-19 pandemic, albeit one that makes one crave a pound of chocolate cake.
While most reality TV shows have been stumped by the pandemic, the show required the 12 contestants to leave their loved ones and live in a “bakeoff bubble,” in which contestants, cast, crew and producers isolated in a hotel for six weeks.
On screen, producers somehow manage to bring a sense of normalcy, as the contestants inside the baking tent are not wearing masks – although the cast and crew surely are – and are able to hug each other (imagine that!). Watching charming British people whip up cakes almost makes one forget the misery that is 2020. An unwelcome change, however, was the departure of co-host Sandy Tosvig, a maternal cupcake-like figure, who was replaced by Matt Lucas. The chemistry between Lucas and returning co-host Nole Fielding is certainly lacking, seeming awkward and almost cringe-worthy at times. This is not to say the show isn’t just as entertaining as ever, though. A butchered cake bust of David Bowie and a contestant who walks her cat through the streets of London on a leash are exactly the comic relief we all need.