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S11.E01: Cake Week

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Returns to Channel 4 (UK) Tues. Sept 22, 2020.

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It's Cake Week and the bakers put their twist on the classic Battenberg, face a turning-out technical challenge and pay tribute to their heroes in the showstopper

 

Edited by Athena

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What a hilarious start to a new series of Bake Off.

They had to delay the show for 15 minutes because the British Prime Minister wanted to do an address only for Bake Off to kick off with a parody of PM's covid press briefings (which have been soo bad) as the cold open. Absolute belter! Matt Lucas was so on point as BoJo. I wonder if they'll do something else for the Netflix version.

Battenburgs are an ok challenge for the signature.

Makings cake sculptured is such a waste of good cake. That being said, what an interesting assortment of inspirations. I love Bill Bryson, but an author is a really surprising choice. David Attenborough, Bib Marley, Lupida, Freddie, Louis Theroux, Bowie all really cool people. But oh the drama.

Maria Antoinette guy made every challenge extra difficult for himself and, predictably, it all went wrong. Make smarter choices laddy!

Oh Loriea, sad to see her go. Lovely personality.

Also, how many adverts does Sue Perkins narrate? Every ad break had something featuring her voice.

Edited by Aulty
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As soon as Rowan said he was going to make a Battenburg with THIRTEEN pieces in his design, I just knew that wasn’t going to happen. 

I try not to be judgmental about people’s personal preferences but you get told to make a cake of your personal hero and someone chooses the guy from blink-182?

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14 hours ago, Corgi-ears said:

Jesus. I'm sure the cakes still tasted good, but visually, the showstopper challenge moved the show close to being an episode of Nailed It!

As soon as they announced that was the showstopper challenge, I was cringing because I knew just how bad the cake busts were going to look. It's really difficult to make cake look like a real human's face and most people do not have the skill required. Most of them turned out as badly as I expected (I'm pretty sure I didn't see a single neck in the bunch either).

Rowan's Marie Antoinette was one of the few that didn't look like a cartoon drawn by a child. Lottie's was also pretty good. Notice both Rowan and Lottie planned ahead with the skull mold and the face mold though. Peter made a very smart decision to choose an iconic look that happened to have the eyes covered so didn't really have to deal with sculpting the face as much since the rest of it was recognizable. The other smart choice was the deliberately cartoonish Freddie Mercury. The judges were pretty generous with their comments about how they could tell who the busts were supposed to be.

I know that whenever there's any kind of change to GBBO, people freak out about what that's going to mean so I liked that the only real drama we saw was not producer driven at all. Sura whacking Dave's pineapple upside down cakes was a complete accident.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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I didn't much care how the busts looked (that's not an interesting part of baking to me in the first place, although the contrast between ambition & result was mostly amusing, and handled as such) - but I enjoyed it because they chose interesting people and it was a good way to get everybody introduced (not just, briefly, for who they chose, but also how they went about things). All in all, a promising first episode - I'm enjoying the casting and the atmosphere on set.

 

 

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The new host guy did absolutely nothing to make me think he's funny. It didn't help that he and Noel made that "on your mark, get set, bake" bit go on WAY too long. It's the bakers' first challenge so kindly let them get to it. Don't leave them hanging because you think you're being funny.

Peter already seems like a frontrunner. His gluten free chocolate and orange Battenberg was very bright and pretty with the yellow polka dot marzipan.

Although, like Mak, I don't particularly care for marzipan, I knew it was a mistake to stray too far from the traditional Battenberg by making a pistachio based coating.

Hermine's chocolate and orange Battenberg looked very neat. The rose and leaves were giving me grocery store birthday cake vibes though. The marmalade was a great addition.

Laura's raspberry Battenberg sounded delicious.

Dave's chocolate espresso martini Battenberg was a bit too plain on the outside for my liking. I don't need a ton of decoration but it barely qualified as decorated.

Linda's ambulance Battenberg was a fun idea but it didn't look great. If she hadn't said it was meant to be an ambulance, I never would have guessed that's what it was.

I knew the judges were going to HATE Loriea's bubble gum and cream soda Battenberg as soon as she announced which flavors she was using. You can't just pour flavoring from a bottle into both your cakes and think the judges are going to like it. They're not health nuts who insist on only natural flavors but it was definitely a mistake to use two artificial flavors.

Mark's Turkish inspired pistachio and pomegranate Battenberg had nice colors.

Marc's sour cherry and chocolate Battenberg had A LOT going on in the decorations.

Lottie's rhubarb and custard Battenberg was a cute idea. I loved the pink and yellow stripes on the outside but the design on the inside was a bit messy.

Rowan's Magic Flute Battenberg still looked neat inside due to all his evenly cut cake pieces, even if he didn't deliver on the temple he promised.

Sura's lemon and orange Battenberg was so pretty. I loved the colors on the inside and the tiny lemons and oranges on top. Ha, don't eat the stems!

I'm not a huge fan of pineapple upside down cake, but I think I would like the mini versions better than a slice of a full sized one. Poor Sura. It was clear that she couldn't enjoy doing so well because she felt so guilty about whacking Dave's cakes to the floor.

Only the first week and we already have bakers trying to help each other finish. I really felt for Sura when one of the bakers outside spotted Sura's cake falling over. I did laugh at her explanation about it to the judges.

Despite Rowan having to abandon his choux buns, his Marie Antoinette turned out really well. Kudos to him for being able to improvise and use something else for the hair.  The chocolate cake with kirsch soaked cherries sounded delicious.

Lottie's coconut and lime Louis Theroux looked pretty good.

Mak's Bill Bryson looked like a slightly melted version of Bill. But mmm, red currant!

Linda's lemon and orange Bob Marley looked like a technicolor octopus.

Peter's Sir Chris wasn't recognizable to me, but I'm not into British cyclists. But I could tell he made smart choices with his design.

Dave's Tom DeLonge just made me laugh. I wasn't sure about the strawberry cake combined with chocolate mint. Too minty? Blech!

Marc's David Bowie was just terrible but I had to laugh when he admitted that it looked more like Jabba the Hutt.

Hermine's Lupita Nyong'o was terrible from the neck up, but the fondant work she did on the dress was gorgeous.

Mark's Darwin didn't look too bad. It was a blocky version of him, but not terrible.

Loreia's cake looked like ET to me. I think it was the eyes. When she said she was adding chili to the chocolate, I knew Paul wouldn't like it.

Sura's David Attenborough looked a bit cartoonish but the shirt looked pretty good. Loved all the stitching detail.

Laura's Freddie Mercury was deliberately non-realistic. The lemon elderflower flavor sounded so good.

Loreia didn't do well in any of the challenges so I wasn't surprised that she went home. I feel bad that she spent two weeks quarantining just to get sent home first.

Peter, on the other hand, had a great week so I knew he was definitely a candidate for star baker. Congratulations!

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I was so excited all weekend for new Bake Off, and then my dumb life got in the way. I can't believe I forgot about it for two whole days.

It was so odd starting off on that somber note (post Boris Johnson bit, I mean). I wonder how weird it really was for them all, shooting in a COVID bubble. I may actually look at Extra Slice this year to see what they have to say about it.

Meanwhile, yay, my show is back.

I never watched Little Britain so I only know Matt Lucas from random appearances. I don't mind him, but I think he and Noel together are gonna be a bit much. They seem giddy to be around each other, like they might get caught up in egging each other on. The first "on your mark" bit was funny, but then they stretched it.

I like so many of the contestants right away. That never happens. I even already know like half their names. I love Lottie, and I think Sura, Peter, and Hermine are going far. And maybe the guy who wanted to make Marie Antoinette if he learns to edit. 

Nice seeing them go for Battenburg and add in making the marzipan since, if I remember right, they did it in a prior season without that extra challenge. I'm not a huge marzipan fan, but I'm not sure what that guy was thinking pistachios would do for it that almonds don't.

I'm surprised they deigned to feature such an American classic in the technical. I would've thought pineapple upside down cake was too sweet and sickening. /still mad about "American Pies"

I didn't care for the showstopper round. Say what you will about the talent level being raised in the contestants, but a task like this one -- carving cake into intricate facial shapes, stacking, structuring, and molding it, and decorating with fine enough detail to look like recognizable human faces -- is a bar too high for even some professionals to clear. It was silly here. (Edited because I meant to say it was super sweet of Sura to help the other lady freaking out about getting Freddie Mercury's head on, and I loved when a few minutes later she had to go and rescue her own David Attenborough with the pastry bag travel pillow. Good job, editors.)

I would not have sent Loreia home. Bob Marley Octopus lady was asking for it.

Edited by Lois Sandborne
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One of the reasons the US version of this show and similar ones does not have the laid back and relaxed vibe of this one is that they film them all at once over a few days, which does not give the bakers time to practice for the next week. When I heard they were keeping them quarantined for seven weeks, I thought that would help with part of the issue, but that is a long time to be away from home and work, making me wonder how many would break down or leave early because of outside stressors or needs back home. The Vanity Fair article posted above said that they are housing the family members, too, and since many probably were filming while work was shut down or were working from home, that alleviates some of those issues.

11 hours ago, Lois Sandborne said:

I didn't care for the showstopper round. Say what you will about the talent level being raised in the contestants, but a task like this one -- carving cake into intricate facial shapes, stacking, structuring, and molding it, and decorating with fine enough detail to look like recognizable human faces -- is a bar too high for even some professionals to clear. It was silly here.

I agree completely, and also thought if they were going to do a challenge like that, they needed to give the bakers much more time. It was nice to see that they didn't refuse them the option of using molds, though. 

I tried to think of what person I would want to make for the showstopper and couldn't. There isn't a single person I would want to offend with my cake bust. 

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So the Netflix version doesn't have the Boris intro?

Also, the Vanity Fair article left me a bit confused, as it mentioned housing the bakers' families (and sometimes pets). But the show seemed to imply that they left their families behind for the 6 or 7 weeks.

And I wondered how they practiced in the hotel setting. Did they have run of the hotel kitchen?

Edited by dleighg

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I don't know whether it's brilliant, or stupid, to do a bust of someone that no one has a strong idea of what they look like? Though I guess some of those (Louis Theroux, David Attenborough) may be more familiar to Brits. But Bill Bryson? Funny guy but I wouldn't know him on the street, and I'm a Yankee!

(and I think the judges were awfully kind with their "you know who it is" statements)

Edited by dleighg
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1 hour ago, AZChristian said:

Just watched the first episode of the season.  I LOVED Matt Lucas.  He's adorable, and interacted so well with the bakers.

I enjoyed Noel. His interaction with Sura about David Attenborough and all the little critters coming after her was cute.

And I loved the description of David Bowie having turned into Jaba the Hutt. And poor Lupita Nyong'o! That was rather frightening! 

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Matt Lucas and “Confirmed Bachelor Super Noodles” made me snort-laugh. I also loved his attempts to console Sura after the cake-dropping accident. I adore him. 

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I didn't much care how the busts looked (that's not an interesting part of baking to me in the first place, although the contrast between ambition & result was mostly amusing, and handled as such) - but I enjoyed it because they chose interesting people and it was a good way to get everybody introduced

That's a good point. I agree it was an ill-advised challenge so far as the end product went, but it did tell us something about each of the contestants.

Not sure how I feel about Matt Lucas. I was just warming up to Noel and Sandi. I still miss Sue and Mel. 

Lottie is an early favorite of mine.

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18 hours ago, sharifa70 said:

Matt Lucas and “Confirmed Bachelor Super Noodles” made me snort-laugh. I also loved his attempts to console Sura after the cake-dropping accident. I adore him. 

I have always liked him so for me it works. 

Those busts were hilarious! Yes, it was kind of like Nailed It, though the Marie Antoinette was lovely and would have been better with the hair done properly. 

Edited by libgirl2
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3 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

Lottie is an early favorite of mine.

I like her but don't like her hair falling all around her face (she's that one, right?) 

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Although I think Matt is another odd looking guy, I think the chemistry is much improved vs. the past few seasons with him as a host. Seems like a good cast, too.

Count me as another who hated the Showstopper Challenge. How many home bakers aspire to make busts of people? If I want to see that, I want to be wowed by the results and will tune into the Food Network. Even most pros don’t do them.

 

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On 9/24/2020 at 1:44 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

The new host guy did absolutely nothing to make me think he's funny. It didn't help that he and Noel made that "on your mark, get set, bake" bit go on WAY too long.

I loved that bit and I laughed so hard I rewound it a few times to watch it again. I was dying. But I adore Matt Lucas and he can do no wrong in my eyes. I thought it was hilarious that all the bakers were laughing, it must have helped to break the tension. 

I enjoyed Lottie, I loved her dry wit. I also like Sura, who seems very skilled and like a really nice person. Rowan will have me on the edge of my seat every week, won't he? He's just going to bite off more than he can chew week after week. And I like Mak, for picking one of my faves, Bill Bryson, to honor with cake. 

Glad to have the show back. I need some soothing these days. 

 

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While everybody seemed nice and did fairly well, I'm thinking Britain had already used up their supply of exquisitely talented bakers by last season, and have now moved down to the B and C level, just adequate bakers.  More comments about not knowing ingredients, techniques, flavors, etc. than in earlier seasons.  Sura kept turning her nose up at so many different things, she's at the bottom of my list.  

And I don't care much for pink & squeaky looking Matt.  Where did he come from?  I ADORE Noel and he does just fine on his own, he doesn't need a back-up. (If you've never seen the Brit comedy "The IT Crowd", he has a small, but hysterical reoccurring role)

I like Peter, he's a sweetie.  Linda was incredibly lucky.  She better get it together or she's next out.  I'm sure it was VERY close between her & bubble gum girl. (That flavor is usually the kiss of death!)

Edited by leighdear
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I think Matt Lucas is a great addition.  He's funny but not harsh, and I liked him and Noel together.  I'm not even British but I thought the Boris Johnson bit was very funny.  Seems like a good bunch of bakers but it's too soon to have a real favorite.  Or to remember names.  I was sorry to see bubblegum cake woman go but it was clearly going to be either her or faceless Bob Marley woman.

Agree that the showstopper challenge was ridiculous for home bakers.

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I thought the showstopper challenge was hilariously nightmare-inducing. Some of those busts will haunt me for days, especially the one of that poor Jamaican woman. I liked the idea of the tie-dyed abstracted Bob Marley, but don't think it came out very well. I think the smartest bakers were the ones who used an iconic look (David Bowie make-up, Chris Hoy helmet and goggles) that made the outcome recognizable even without a detailed face. After considering my options, I think I would have made Dolly Parton. I think she's awesome, and her over-the-top style would lend itself well to fondant and food coloring.

So glad this show is back! And on a shallow note, Noel's hair looks great.

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Nothing on this episode I was particularly inspired to try at home so that was sad for me, but otherwise it was a good first episode.  I liked Matt Lucas a lot.  But I generally like Matt Lucas. 

Are the Netflix episodes complete?   

I liked the idea behind the pistachio marzipan.  I much prefer pistachio baklava to walnut baklava.   I wonder if I'd prefer pistachio marzipan to almond marzipan.  But I've only ever had store bought marzipan so I might like it more just if it was homemade almond.  Hmmm...   I don't want to have to make a Battenberg to find out... but...
 

 

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1 hour ago, bybrandy said:

Are the Netflix episodes complete?   

How would we know?  We did not have the Boris Johnson sketch that's been mentioned, but we also don't have any commercials. Other than that, we had all 3 bakes and were introduced to all the bakers, so it felt complete to me.

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Oh man I needed that.

I watched on Netflix and it had the Boris sketch.

Excellent start to an unconventional season with the Battenbergs.  Liked that they did a pineapple upside down cake technical.  Felt bad for Dave and Sura, accidents happen.  I don't blame her for feeling guilty after winning.

Count me in on those who thought the showstopper wasn't thought through well.  Most of the busts looked a mess, Peter was right to go simple design wise and it paid off.  

Hermine is an early favorite.  Lupita didn't look so great in the face but the dress looked gorgeous.  Since she has said she loves patisserie I hope she goes far.

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I am so chuffed the show is back! I didn’t realize how much I needed it until I was watching.

I was irrationally offended by the bubblegum and cream soda cake. It just seemed all wrong for the first bake.

Ambulance and David Bowie makers seem like dead bakers walking.

I only know of the new host from Dr. Who, and I still think of him as an alien.

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Also watched on Netflix, and it had the Boris Johnson intro. Already liked Matt Lucas from Doctor Who and liked him here. He and Noel play off each other well. I also like all the bakers already. I wish they'd give everyone a pass on week one and then start eliminations on the second week, adjusting at some other point with two. 

Even if Rowan tends to plan more than he can execute, he seems quite good at improvising when it doesn't work. His signature was still very neatly presented, and I liked the hair on his Marie Antoinette. 

Mainly - I'd been a bit skeptical about watching after the last couple of seasons, but I laughed several times through the episode and realized that it's been quite a while since something moved me spontaneously - in a positive way - like that. A genuine lift, much needed and appreciated. Looking forward to more, now.

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22 hours ago, dleighg said:

So the Netflix version doesn't have the Boris intro?

 

1 hour ago, Quilt Fairy said:

How would we know?  We did not have the Boris Johnson sketch that's been mentioned,

1 hour ago, kittykat said:

I watched on Netflix and it had the Boris sketch.

How strange, I just watched on Netflix, & the Boris Johnson intro was there, but it seems like not everyone saw it. I wonder why (and how) some of use did & some of us didn't. I also noticed that towards the end of the show that thing that Netflix does where it shows you recommendations after a show is ended popped up too early while the show was still on, so maybe it had to do with the show being too long with the sketch?

Paul's skin tone darkened about 5 shades from the signature to the showstopper.

Poor Sura, she really looked like she was going to cry when she knocked those cakes over & then when she came in first, I thought she was going to have a breakdown.

That was a terrible showstopper, I really wish the show would go back to making the bakers show how good they can bake instead of these gimmicky challenges.

I don't know how I feel about Matt yet, I didn't think he was funny at all. I guess I'll just have to get used to him.

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so strange. I watched on Netflix yesterday (first day it was available) quite early in the morning (5 am EDT) and the Boris bit was not there. Just looked now, and it is!

I'm not a Brit, so I'm not familiar enough with Boris to know how good his impersonation is, so it likely loses something in translation 🙂 

Edited by dleighg

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Watched this yesterday afternoon on Netflix about 3 pm and no Boris Johnson intro. Just an intro on how the show was produced under quarantine. I think the show ran about an hour and 5 minutes.

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I so wanted Matt to do Vicky Pollard “no but yeah but no.  For those of you who know him only through Doctor Who, check out Little Britain, a sketch comedy show he did with David Walliams.

The bubble gum and cream soda cake was a rip off of Nadyia’s.  Lottie looks exactly like Candace.  Sura committed one of my 7 deadly sins:  not being aware of the space around you.  She said there was a fly she had to brush off.  WTF.

I too love Noel’s hair.

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15 minutes ago, Michichick said:

Just checked again and now the Boris sketch is there. Weird!

It’s there for me now too. The other weird thing for me is since I originally stopped the show with about a minute to go, I “rewound” to the beginning, and the beginning was different!

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3 hours ago, dleighg said:

so strange. I watched on Netflix yesterday (first day it was available) quite early in the morning (5 am EDT) and the Boris bit was not there. Just looked now, and it is!

I'm not a Brit, so I'm not familiar enough with Boris to know how good his impersonation is, so it likely loses something in translation 🙂 

Same here!!!!

Just looked him up on Youtube.  Matt did a great job!

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On 9/23/2020 at 8:01 AM, Corgi-ears said:

Jesus. I'm sure the cakes still tasted good, but visually, the showstopper challenge moved the show close to being an episode of Nailed It!

It was, but it seemed to me that my reaction was very different than when watching Nailed It. Not sure how to explain it - although we laughed, we also commiserated and felt for the bakers. (being a baker/decorator of Nailed It quality, I do identify)

8 hours ago, bybrandy said:

I liked the idea behind the pistachio marzipan.  I much prefer pistachio baklava to walnut baklava.   I wonder if I'd prefer pistachio marzipan to almond marzipan.  But I've only ever had store bought marzipan so I might like it more just if it was homemade almond.  Hmmm...   I don't want to have to make a Battenberg to find out... but...

My daughter and I were amused at how many bakers didn't care for marzipan. I liked the idea of pistachios.
 

3 hours ago, dleighg said:

so strange. I watched on Netflix yesterday (first day it was available) quite early in the morning (5 am EDT) and the Boris bit was not there. Just looked now, and it is!

I'm not a Brit, so I'm not familiar enough with Boris to know how good his impersonation is, so it likely loses something in translation 🙂 

We watched it yesterday too - no Johnson intro. I thought maybe it had been localized for some reason. But I just checked after reading your post, and yep, there it is. Wierd.

We were so excited to watch this. I bought some Jaffa Cakes to eat while watching.

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7 hours ago, kittykat said:

Oh man I needed that.

I watched on Netflix and it had the Boris sketch.

EDITED -- Never mind.  I had a question of if this was the US netflix or not but I see the discussion already moved on with people stating that (like me) they didn't have any Boris sketch when they first watched it but they now do.

Edited by Kromm

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8 hours ago, Kromm said:

Matt Lucas is SO weird he actually makes Noel look normal. 

And that probably explains why I actually liked Noel this episode.  It took me a really really reallllyyyy long time to warm up to Noel.  And I never liked his "bits" with Sandy.  I like Noel when he's just in friendly chat mode, like the David Attenborough chat with Sura.  But I liked Matt right off the bat!  He's easily my favorite after Mel & Sue. 

I'm so glad to have GBBO back!  I think this is a wonderful round of bakers.  I like every one of them.  I do wish Lottie would tie her hair back completely - that bothers me with every long haired baker they've had. 

I have to wonder if Rowan had anticipated the need for a back up for Marie A's hair.  I mean, he just happened to have rice paper handy, and knew exactly how to cut/curl it so it would work out as well as it did?  That seems a bit too convenient.  I like his aspiration, and I hope it doesn't do him in. 

I think Lottie was clever in bringing the skull mode for the bust challenge.  I suppose the risk with that is that it will take much longer to cool.  I need to rewatch to see what Rowan was using for his bust. 

I came very close to making individual pineapple upside down cakes for a dinner a few weeks ago.  (Small, outside and socially distanced - really!) Now I really want to make them!  I thought it was an interesting choice for Paul - seems almost too basic, 1950's housewifey thing for him.

 

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Yeah Netflix US definitely added the Boris cold open -- it wasn't there last night.  It's very funny, and if it followed a real Boris address then No. 10 probably wasn't happy.  And I'm with Paul Hollywood in the "scone"/"scon" debate.  They're "scons."  

The showstopper really was straight out of Nailed It! but you know what, I think it worked really well.  Part of this show's great charm is the fact that the contestants generally seem so relatable, so having them largely mess up in the first round the way normal people baking at home would do, was refreshing, in a good way.  They all seem like nice people.  

Also, and maybe I'm just reading way to much into it, but I noticed that in the shot of them all walking to the tent the morning after Sura knocked over Dave's cakes, Dave was walking alone, in front of Sura who was with at least 2 other people.  Yeah, that shot could have been taken anytime, but I sort of got the sense he was alot more po'd than the show let on.  Which isn't surprising, frankly, and I hope everyone was cool about it.  

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1 minute ago, truther said:

I sort of got the sense he was alot more po'd than the show let on.  Which isn't surprising, frankly, and I hope everyone was cool about it.

Oh he was PO'd alright. He glowered! And I don't blame him. And I noticed that the judges said they heard the cakes "were dropped." I'd have been PO'd that they didn't say they'd heard the cakes had been "elbowed off his tray by another contestant."  Unintentionally of course, but still.

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The cold opening was great lol. It's interesting because lot of the stuff it talked about is relevant here too. Like the different "phase's". 

Anyhow, as for the actual episode, what a fun group of people. Nobody's annoying and all seem generally nice people (and variation on ages).  I'm glad that they addressed the accident with the cake right away (even if it was off screen). So the judge's weren't like "what happened to this one" as they have been in earlier seasons. I'm glad that Peter won as he was the most consistently good. And that one woman's cake in the show stopper was amazing, it actually looked like the cake was wearing a shirt. I feel like if she had more time the face would have been perfect too. 

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