Call it Stockholm Syndrome, or perhaps we’re all simply altering loads in 2020, however I’m beginning to discover The Great British Baking Show host Noel Fielding’s antics within the tent to be totally charming. In the previous, I’ve bemoaned the truth that he enjoys mugging for the digital camera a lot that he places himself within the bakers’ manner, however in “Chocolate Week,” Fielding was the tent’s stealth MVP. After a disastrous Signature Challenge the place all of the bakers did not make first rate brownies, Fielding grew to become everybody’s cheerleader. Between his self-deprecating feedback, impromptu “babka ballads,” and knack for getting everybody to smile, Fielding has lastly found out how one can harness his comedian abilities for good in The Great British Baking Show tent. (At least for now.)
The Great British Baking Show skilled a seismic shakeup 4 years in the past when the show migrated from its unique broadcasting house, the BBC, to Channel 4. Only one of many show’s unique cast, Paul Hollywood, adopted this system. That meant that producers had the lofty job of filling the void left by former decide Mary Berry and unique internet hosting duo Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc. While Prue Leith simply slid into Berry’s function, the show has struggled to duplicate the sunny, simple chemistry of Mel & Sue, actual life BFFs. Sandi Toksvig has already left the show to spend time on different undertaking and beginner Matt Lucas continues to be discovering his footing. That implies that zany goth comedian Noel Fielding has discovered himself taking on a brand new function within the tent: religious older brother.
When paired with Toksvig, a wry Danish comedian best-known for her work internet hosting the uber-nerdy panel show Q.I., Noel instantly grew to become the tent’s jester. He was always undermining the judges, quipping by way of anxious conditions, and typically, ugh, getting actually in people’ manner. Now that Matt Lucas has joined the crew, although, Fielding has graduated from the prankster youthful brother to irreverent — and protecting — elder. While Fielding nonetheless loves mugging for consideration, he’s lastly discovering a method to make that behavior helpful. Not solely does he save his largest bits for the bakers’ “downtime,” however these bakers additionally really feel comfy teasing Noel again.
In the final two episodes, I’ve been struck by how Noel Fielding has been saving a few of his largest bits for when the bakers really appear to have time for them. During “Bread Week,” the contestants had been saddled with extra “downtime” than typical as they needed to let their dough show and their breads bake. In the true world, bakers can do the whole lot from learn a e book to take a nap throughout these steps within the course of. In the tent, they are trapped in an emotional stress cooker with out a single factor to distract them. Enter: Noel Fielding.
By pivoting his time pestering the bakers to the moments after they even have a minute, Noel is benefiting from his abilities. (I imply, how may you not be totally charmed when he began ad-libbing the babka recipe right into a serenade for Hermine?) These are moments the place Noel can actually shine and assist the bakers by diffusing their stress.
It must also be famous that whereas in previous seasons, the bakers would politely endure Noel’s nagging, this group teases him proper again. Whether it was Peter riffing final week that perhaps he ought to kill Paul Hollywood or Marc quipping this week that Noel was a vampire, the bakers appear to be “sure and”-ing Noel like by no means earlier than. That makes me, the viewers, much less involved that Noel’s actually truthfully bothering them, and it is enjoyable to observe. My intestine tells me that, as soon as extra, this enhance in cast chemistry is because of the truth that they’re all in isolation collectively. However it may additionally simply be that this yr’s group watched what Noel was doing final season and determined to not get flustered.
No matter the explanations, Noel Fielding appears to have matured (barely) as a number of The Great British Baking Show. Sure he is nonetheless the identical goofy goth all of us have identified and liked since The Mighty Boosh, however he appears to be extra plugged into the feelings of the bakers. He is aware of after they’re up for a razzing, after they want a pick-me-up, and after they’ll tolerate him sarcastically saying, “baking’s for losers.”
Now lets hope this lasts the remainder of the season…