'The Big Nailed It Baking Challenge' Netflix Review: Stream It Or Skip It?
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'The Big Nailed It Baking Challenge' Netflix Review: Stream It Or Skip It?

May 18, 2023

The Big Nailed It Baking Challenge expands the concept of Nailed It! into a full-blown baking competition a la The Great British Baking Show, albeit funnier. Instead of two clueless bakers going head-to-head in each episode, ten clueless bakers compete over ten episodes for a grand prize of $100,000.

Opening Shot: In the studio for The Big Nailed It Baking Challenge, co-host Nicole Byer sings to stage manager Weston Bahr, “Wes, it’s day one. Aren’t you excited?” Co-host Jacques Torres smiles at Byers antics, as usual.

The Gist: Another difference between The Big Nailed It Baking Challenge and the original version of the show is that, as Byer says, “it is time for Nicole to eat some good cake!” After all the seasons of eating terrible cakes, the bakers in this competition are actually going to learn and get better as the competition progresses, thanks to the efforts of two coaches: Robert Lucas and Erin Jeanne McDowell.

Each episode consists of two competitions: Baking 101 is where the coaches show the bakers a key skill that they’re going to need to make the cake that will be in the elimination round. In the case of the first episode, in which the bakers are going to make a two-tiered cake with traditional decorations on one side, fun decorations on the other, and a “surprise” like M&Ms or sprinkles on the inside, the skill is stacking and leveling cake layers. After the demo, the bakers have 30 seconds to stack the layers as high as possible.

The winner gets an advantage in the elimination round, called “The Big Cake Bake.” In this case, it will be in the form of a panic button that will get the baker a cake leveler they can use five minutes of work time while the others have to do “bakedancing”, as Byer calls it, while they work. As per Nailed It! tradition, a different comedian is brought in as a guest judge; the first episode featured frequent guest judge Ron Funches. The winner of the elimination round gets $1000. The last-place finisher gets eliminated — but because it’s Nailed It! at heart, even the eliminated baker gets to leave in a fun way.

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Like we mentioned above, this is Nailed It! crossed with The Great British Baking Show.

Our Take: We enjoyed The Big Nailed It Baking Challenge for the same reasons we enjoyed the original Nailed It!, namely Byer’s hilarious hosting, the fact that the bakers don’t take themselves seriously, and the funny cake reveals. Funches, as he and the other guest judges always do, bring their own funny lines to the judging, proving that judging cakes is something that you don’t need to take seriously.

The only thing that I wonder about is whether I actually want to see a show under the Nailed It! brand where the bakers actually improve and become competent. As we’ve mentioned before, for the most part the “clueless bakers” we mention above have some degree of cluelessness, like the contestants that measured wet ingredients in measuring scoops and dry ingredients in measuring cups. But for the most part, they’re asked to make something pretty complex in a short period of time. Given that they’re not professional pastry chefs, it’s a recipe for hilarious failure.

But the wildcard in this new iteration of the show is that the coaches are going to help the contestants as they go through the competition, and the idea is that their skills will grow and their results will be better as the season goes along. Will their results look like what the coaches could produce? Probably not. But the cakes won’t likely look like the hot messes that the show is known for.

Will the show be just as funny if the bakers drop the shield around their results, yell “Nailed It!” and show that they actually did nail it? We’re not sure. But the first episode was enjoyable enough to see what might happen in that regard.

What Age Group Is This For?: As we’ve said before, Netflix puts Nailed It! and its spinoffs in their kids’ profiles, so 6 and up is the right group for this show.

Parting Shot: The eliminated baker leaves after getting a one-minute run in the show’s pantry. See, even the eliminated contestants get stuff on this show!

Sleeper Star: We saw the list of celebrity judges, and it’s a pretty funny group that includes Patton Oswalt, Vanessa Bayer, London Hughes, Bobby Moynihan, Angela Kinsey, Casey Wilson and Jack McBrayer.

Most Pilot-y Line: One of the bakers uses Rice Krispies Treats as their bottom layer and somehow hopes that the judges won’t notice. So, yeah, maybe some of the contestants are really clueless.

Our Call: STREAM IT. Fans of Nailed It! will enjoy The Big Nailed It Baking Challenge, but we wonder if they’ll start tuning out once the contestants actually start nailing their challenges for real.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.

Opening Shot:The Gist:What Shows Will It Remind You Of?Our Take:What Age Group Is This For?:Parting Shot:Sleeper Star:Most Pilot-y Line:Our Call: