Despite the fact that I am the laspsed-iest of lapsed Catholics, I pray my guts out every year that the next season of The Great British
Bake Off Baking Show will be the best one yet. I have 10 weeks of recaps to write, and I cannot dazzle the internet with my effervescent wit if I’m not given any material to work with. I burst into Cake Week with the wildest of expectations, a veritable firework of unbridled enthusiasm, and by the time the finale rolls around, I’ve become a bitter, disappointed shell of a woman who vows to never watch this sugar-coated shitshow ever again.
But this year—good god, this year I am a woman reborn! My faith in just about everything has been restored: God, domes, 56-year old German men. This has been not only the greatest season of the post-Mary Berry era, but quite possibly the greatest season, period, and that can 100% be chalked up to this year’s bakers, who had so much personality and talent that Paul, Prue, Noel, and Matt were practically irrelevant. Sure, the winner was predictable (it was always a Jürgen v. Giuseppe showdown), but who thought so many amateurs would be able to keep up with the engineers?
This group provided us with so many memorable moments, it was impossible for me to cover them all in these delightful recaps. If anyone is willing to pay me to write an entire book on this season, I am open to any and all offers.
The finale is the first time we get to learn about the baker’s since their final bio package aired back in Biscuit Week. This is always a cute segment, but this is the first year where I have been excitedly anticipating it, because I have so many questions about Crystelle’s family.
Each week, Crystelle divulged a little more about the wacky cast of characters awaiting her back home, and if the producers of this show are smart, they will sign this family to a Kardashian-style contract, because I want to know everything about them. During this segment, we learn that Crystelle had no intention of applying for GBBO, but her family pushed her into doing it, which means they will be rubbing this in her face for the rest of her natural life. Crystelle has lost The Great British Baking Show in two ways.
All three of this year’s finalists are better bakers than Paul Hollywood, so England’s favorite silverback gorilla tries extra hard to look like the alpha baker amongst the amateurs, dishing out wisdom known only to the most sage of scholars.
Listen: just because Giuseppe is the GBBO champion doesn’t mean he knows things like this. That’s why he has to spend his days toiling away as a professional engineer, while Paul’s cruising the streets of London in a £100,000 Range Rover with women half his age.
If you are still under the impression that The Great British Bake Off is the same show that premiered on the BBC 12 seasons ago, this challenge probably infuriated you. I, on the other hand, have fully embraced the fact that not only has this show jumped the shark, but strapped a rocket to that shark’s back and is riding it into space. For the final technical bake, Paul asks the bakers to serve him 12 perfect Belgian buns, using the following directions:
1. Make buns.
2. Piss off.
Miraculously they all manage to pull it off, so I’m not going to nitpick over the fact that Chigs’s were a little too tall, or Giuseppe’s were a little bit burnt. Paul most certainly did, though!
For the final bake of season 12, the bakers need to make a “magical display” of four different sweet and savory afternoon tea treats with an Alice in Wonderland theme, and have 4 1/2 hours to do it. The tight timeline is meant to court drama and disaster, but of course it doesn’t, because Chigs, Crystelle, and Giuseppe have already been sent to hell and back 29 times. ’Tis but the buzzing of flies to them.
There is a small disaster, but it has nothing to do with timing. Crystelle serves a focaccia that is not simply underbaked, but flat-out raw, which honestly is pretty astounding. There are only two possible explanations for this: her subconscious sabotaged her with an epic case of the yips, or she took a dive to spare her head from the heaviest of crowns. I mean, can you imagine how annoying her family would be if she won? I don’t care how or why Crystelle’s focaccia came out raw; all I know is that she made the right decision.
I probably should have expected to get a little (okay, a lot) emotional towards the end of this episode, because I genuinely love all of these bakers (yes, even Giuseppe) with every buttery nook and cranny of my heart. I didn’t care who won, and from the looks of it, neither did they. The second time was up, Crystelle, Giuseppe, and Sex Stallion Chigs leapt into each others’ arms, and as the three of them swayed side-to-side in a loving embrace, I became profoundly sad that this season was about to end. When they embraced again as Giuseppe was crowned GBBO Champion, that profound sadness swelled and forced me to eat an entire pint of ice cream.
Now I sit here in front of my laptop, trying to find the proper way to say goodbye to the best distraction from reality I could have possibly asked for, and honestly, I don’t think I have it in me to do it. I want to pretend that they’re all coming back next week for a second stab at things. Maybe Netflix will pick up a show about Lizzie and Freya roadtripping through the U.K., or a buddy cop comedy featuring Crystelle and her cactus. But though we can pray, we still need to say goodbye, and so I will end my season 12 recaps the only way I possibly can:
Auf wiedersehen mein süßer Prinz.