And I'm just gonna watch for seven seasons don't mind me
by Kyle Zarif
Staff Baking Connoisseur
OK so for reasons that may soon become apparent, I feel the need to preface this article with two statements. 1. If you are looking for an objective take on the merits of the GBBO, then you can fuck right off because I cackle in the face of objectivity. My opinion on this show is rooted in a very specific experience of it. 2. I would normally consider myself a fairly rational person. I can usually balance my priorities and like to think I have a fair idea of what’s important in my life. This is how I would describe myself under normal circumstances...but this week presented me with one of the largest challenges to my sanity and sense of self that I have thus far encountered. This week, my frenemy informed me, in her greatest act of sabotage yet, that the Great British Bake Off had returned for a 7th season.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Great British Bake off is a TV baking competition apparently crafted by Satan. Each week the bakers’ weaknesses, strengths, and shitty personality traits are revealed while they slave over increasingly elaborate desserts. In a surprising move from the country that basically invented capitalism, there is no prize money. These amateur bakers have to push themselves to their emotional and physical limits for a purely symbolic prize. The previous winner recently baked a birthday cake for the queen! So yeah, the stakes are incredibly low. The judges are Paul Hollywood, also known (by me) as the Simon Cowell of baking, and rapidly aging Galapagos tortoise Mary Berry. All joking aside Mary Berry is 81 years old and my motivation for living. If this terrible description didn’t sell you on GBBO, please let me elaborate, the Great British Bake Off is so good that it nearly destroyed my life.
The year is 2015, the month is August. I am hanging out with some friends watching TV, and one of them suggests we watch the Food Network, perhaps some Barefoot C? But that wasn’t good enough for my frenemy, who will remain nameless. She had the nerve, the gaul, the audacity, to recommend we watch the Great British Bake Off (aka GBBO) instead. It’s really good, she said. The cakes look so delicious, she said. From this underwhelming introduction I was expecting a basic baking show. Instead I watched GBB, and I was instantly changed. We watched a few episodes and then I said I was tired and left my friend’s house. Little did they know, I was going home to watch every single episode of this show. I didn’t tell them at that time that the GBBO triggered something deep within me, a dark force which I did not know existed.
About 24 later I had finished the only season of GBBO available on Netflix, and was told by my frenemy that there were FIVE other seasons that I could find elsewhere. How could she do this to me. I actually could have killed her right there. But how could she have known this sickness would seep into every fiber of my being and envelope me in an overwhelming helplessness and an unwanted knowledge of the process of bread making? She couldn’t, and that’s why she’s my frenemy and not my enemy. As the days went on, I became less and less familiar with the person I was becoming. I had the capacity to watch completely uninteresting British people bake for hours and hours a day. I not only knew what a Swiss Roll was, but I had very strong opinions about how they should be made. When classes started, I went to them, but all I could think about was that one episode in season 5 where Diana sabotages Iain’s Baked Alaska and he throws it away and gets eliminated and then Diana goes home anyway because of an “illness” and also because she is SATAN. I would take 4 hour homework breaks to watch a 70 year old Scottish man fuck up Tiramisu. My life was falling apart. A few weeks later, after finishing ALL of the episodes I went to clean up the wreckage of my academic career...and wait for season seven.
If you are to take anything from this devastating story, it should be that you, nor anyone you love, should never, under any circumstance, watch the Great British Bake Off. It ruined my life and it will surely ruin yours. I wouldn’t wish the maddening introspection that stems from doing nothing but watching the former colonizers of the world critique frosting as “too informal” on my worst enemy. It’s too late for me, as the first episode of season seven is open on my laptop right now. Don’t save me, I don’t wanna be saved.