Netflix’s smash hit competitive baking show returns with some pandemic-related changes, but the same joyful silliness.
During our pandemic lockdowns, who amongst us hasn’t recruited quarantined friends and family into a baking project beyond our experience? Now imagine the pressure of concocting an elaborate bake with a pal or family member for all the world to see. With Netflix’s Nailed It! Double Trouble, bakers pair up in teams of two to recreate extravagant bakes and win $10,000. While some elements have changed in this new season, host Nicole Byer still panics at the push of a button, chef Jacques Torres still imparts wisdom to the contestants, and the bakers reach new heights of spectacular cake fails. In the words of guest judge Ron Funches, “I love a good hot mess.” Nailed It! Double Trouble is the good hot mess we need, seeing twice the fun and chaos from amateur bakers.
Much of the show’s format remains the same: home bakers attempt to recreate magnificent treats and bakes relating to the theme of the episode. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, some elements have changed. Instead of running to collect their treats for the first challenge, “Baker’s Choice,” the contestants now verbally call out which treat they want. The winners of the Golden Bakers’ Hats now put in on their own heads as Byer announces “I no longer do that.” When it comes to tasting the “Baker’s Choice” treats, Torres collects slices and passes the plates to the fellow judges and they stand six feet apart, eating and judging the first bakes. There was a moment where two contestants almost shared a spoon to taste their treat, but that crisis was averted. All in all, the show adapted to the pandemic, and I’d be surprised if they don’t keep some of the new features in subsequent seasons.
The biggest change in Nailed It! Double Trouble is the teams of two competing for the prize and trophy. They bring in some great duos, like travel buddies who maybe have jet-set around the world but have never baked together, mothers and adult children who get into disagreements about who’s in charge of the kitchen, and a lovely pair of drag queens (Selma Nilla and Lagoona Bloo) who make up songs on the spot while baking. These combinations are fun to watch, and it’s great to see, as Byer describes it, the “false confidence” of contestants on display as the clock races down.
Nailed It! Double Trouble is the good hot mess we need, seeing twice the fun and chaos from amateur bakers.
As with twice the bakers, the show throws them elaborate bakes in the final “Nail it of Fail It” challenge, like a rollercoaster cake complete with a tunnel, all with the hope that they have the power to complete the treat. However, with twice the bakers, there’s twice the opportunity for catastrophes in the kitchen. There are cringe faces from Byer, Torres, and guests judges alike when digging into the fails from the bakers. For every failure, there’s also redemption, such as Guest judge Lil’ Rel Howery going in for a second bite because as he says, “I’m not dead.” From overspiced donuts to under-popped popcorn, the bakers nail the art of the fail in Nailed It! Double Trouble. Sure it’s fun to fail alone but’s always a bonding experience to fail with someone else.
The real shine of Nailed It! Double Trouble is celebrating the successes of the bakers’ attempts. With every fail, the judges find something nice to celebrate. Whether it’s the creative use of marshmallow fluff to glue fondant to a donut or throwing some peanut butter cups on top of a layer of buttercream, there’s always something nice to say about these Nailed It fails. As Torres says to the contestants in this season’s final episode, “You didn’t give up, and that is wonderful.” After a year like 2020, not giving up is sometimes the best anyone can ask for, and if that’s not worth celebrating, I’m not sure what is.
2020 was like a rollercoaster cake with too much cotton-candy flavoring: it was hard to swallow and left a bad taste in our mouths. Lucky for us 2021 is here, bringing along some hope along the horizon. Perhaps there are new perspectives to be gained after 2020, like one baker’s watery buttercream could be another baker’s cake gravy. As we wait for the timer to run out on this hellscape of a pandemic, Nailed It! Double Trouble is a great way to laugh the quarantine blues away.
Nailed It! Double Trouble premieres on Netflix March 26th.