When Mel, Sue, and Mary Berry quit The Great British
Bake Off Baking Show five seasons ago, I fully intended to quit the show right alongside them. And then... Noel Fielding happened. At the time, few people in America had ever heard of the Fantastic Mr. Fielding, so when it was announced at “some British comedian” would be co-hosting the show, no one thought much of it.
But for those of us who were acutely aware of The Mighty Boosh star’s oeuvre, we had nothing but questions, and no choice but to stick with the show until we got answers. Noel Fielding? Why the hell did this guy want to hitch himself to a twee English baking show?
As many of us had feared, in its post-Mary era, GBBO has begun to embrace “reality” show ridiculousness, stripping it of the idyllic charm that drew us to the show in the first place. Noel has been enjoyable enough over the past four seasons, but again, true fans know that he’s never really gone full Fielding. Sure, we’ve gotten Mr. Spoon and the odd dirty joke here and there, but for the most part, it seemed that this legitimate performance artist jumped aboard the GBBO gravy train for painfully average reasons: it’s an easy, fun, and extremely well-paying gig.
But when Noel Fielding is involved, things are never quite what they seem, are they?
The cold open of Biscuit Week 2021 has me convinced that Noel has been playing a long game, pushing the needle just as far as he could without breaking the speed limit, slithering like an asp into the very fabric of the show. And now that he’s earned viewers’ trust, Noel Fielding is blowing this show to hell and taking us all with it.
Let us glance back to last week’s cold open for a moment, which we have all been furiously trying to scrub from our memories on account of Paul Hollywood’s mullet. But maybe the mullet was a red herring to distract us from the fact that the man behind that heinous idea... might now be the man secretly in control of The Great British Baking Show.
There’s only one thing I can think of that could possibly top a country music cold open, and that’s cannibalism. And cannibalism is exactly what Noel Fielding and co-host Matt Lucas delivered this week, dressing up like cookies and being mashed to death by the fierce jaws of Paul Hollywood, their agonizing screams welcoming us to yet another timeless Biscuit Week on The Great British Baking Show. It’s great to be here.
As with last week, there will be some bakers I cannot pay all that much attention to in this recap, because they’re not giving me enough to work with. GBBO is a proper reality show now, and you need to have “a thing” to stand out. Take Crystelle, for instance: She’s unbelievably talented, she’s nailing almost every challenge, and yet, I can barely remember her being in this episode. In contrast, take Lizzie, who is consistently entertaining, with or without any context.
Lizzie’s bakes might not always be at the front of the pack, but you could tell that the judges were genuinely impressed with her “congealed” apple pie brandy snaps. This week we learned that, much like Noel, Lizzie has an ulterior motive for being on this show that has nothing to do with baking: She’s trying to help her dog fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a social media influencer.
George, meanwhile, promised us a dancing dog in his bio, and for the second week in a row we have been denied any dog-dancing. This is why I shall completely ignore him for the remainder of this recap, no matter how well he did.
The only brandy snaps that actually matter are Jurgen’s, because we all know he’s going to win this thing, right? The rest of the bakers have conceded that he is the “Baking Terminator,” as Giuseppe put it. And I believe Noel is going to exploit this fact, using Jurgen’s German brand of order as a smokescreen so that he may sow the seeds of chaos. If all the bakers simply accepted that there is no way to defeat this 56-year-old physicist powerhouse, what sort of demonically fucked-up baked goods might Noel convince them to make?
The German physicist won the technical round, the Italian engineer came in second, and I will be cutting and pasting this sentence into every recap for the next eight weeks.
As per usual, nothing really interesting happened in the technical. Crystelle almost had an exciting moment when something bumped into her and she dropped her cookies, but because it happened in the most boring round, there’s not much of a story to talk abo—wait a goddamn second.
Is... is there a chance
Vince Noir Noel Fielding has at last crossed the line from host to Firestarter? Normally he sticks to flittering around the tent and being a massive distraction, but if it’s true that Noel’s kneecaps were responsible for this “accident,” it can only mean things are about to escalate quicker than you can go from country music to cannibalism.
Making this even more dangerous: Noel’s mental game is as sharp as ever, as you can see from the case of our darling Maggie, who was a force to be reckoned with during Cake Week yet crumbled during Biscuit Week after this conversation infected her brain:
This is how it started:
And this is how it ended:
The German physicist won the
technical round, signature bake, the Italian engineer came in second, and I will be cutting and pasting this sentence into every recap for the next eight weeks.
See you next week for more Giuseppe/Jurgen dominance!