The Great British Bake Off: The Final
November 16, 2022 1:25 AM - Season 13, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Whose perfect picnic, summer classic and baked celebration of our planet will win the day?
posted by ellieBOA (30 comments total)
Don’t open the thread until you’ve seen the final!

Spoilers for the season winner!
posted by ellieBOA at 1:26 AM on November 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

This was such a close final, I really couldn’t call it before Syabira was announced but it was really well deserved, she’d had probably an equivalent episode to Abdul but considering the judges said they take the whole season into account, she’s had a much more successful run. It was nice to see everyone back in the garden!
posted by ellieBOA at 1:29 AM on November 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

A well deserved winner. It’s a shame that such a deserving winner was let down by the mean spirited tone of the series. Hopefully the production company will take all the criticism on board and reconnect with what made people fall in love with the show in the first place and come back stronger next year. Another season like this and the show won’t survive.

No mean technicals with little actual baking designed purely to make them fail. It’s a baking show.
No stupid construction projects. It’s a baking show.
No random interruptions from surrealist comedians looking for someone to riff with. It’s a baking show!
posted by chill at 4:21 AM on November 16, 2022 [10 favorites]

I’m not 100% sure I’ll watch next year.
posted by ellieBOA at 6:12 AM on November 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

Our netflix sub ran out halfway through the season and it wasn't worth it to pay for another month just to finish. Instead, we're watching old seasons that we bought long ago on Amazon. It's a damned shame, because I used to love this show.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:19 AM on November 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

So glad Syabira won!! I was convinced for a second that Abdul had pulled off a real come-from-behind victory.

I do wish they'd go back and redo some technicals. I really didn't like this technical, because 1) it seems like an extremely post-war British thing...syrup-soaked bread?? A jelly core? and 2) just throwing in vegetable gelatin seems guaranteed to be a "you know it or you don't" ingredient that there was no way to guess or reason how to use it.
posted by Maecenas at 8:32 AM on November 16, 2022 [8 favorites]

My feeling is when all the bakers, especially finalists, fail at fully making the technical then it's the fault of the people who constructed the challenge. I feel similarly about the showstopper. When all three of the finalists struggle with it, it means the design of the challenge is at fault.

I made it through this season because I love the bakers, but there are so many failures this season:

-technicals that had nothing to do with baking
-showstoppers too focused on construction
-time limits are too unreasonable
-don't get to know the bakers-the segments where we get to know about them need to come back
-mean spirited-doing things like rubbing into Abdul that he hadn't made star baker
-the lack of understanding cultural bakes

It's honestly a shame to see where the show is now and as such, I'm done.

I do hope all the bakers go on to better things as they deserve a better showcase for their abilities.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:21 AM on November 18, 2022 [8 favorites]

Yay Syabira! She's been my favorite for a while now, though I'm glad there weren't any disasters in the final for the producers to make hay of. It's nice when all three bakers are doing well (I won't talk about the gelatinous technical) and all three have a chance of winning as they go into the final bake.

I also enjoyed how funny the bakers are, maybe more so than the hosts. I'm thinking of things like Sandro's exchange with Matt ("You want it." "Yeah." "You want it so bad." "Yeah. Wait, what are we talking about?") and Syabira casually saying she just laid that little egg. Noel's absence meant there weren't any forced time call skits, and more interaction with the bakers, who are great and hilarious on their own.
posted by j.r at 2:40 PM on November 18, 2022 [3 favorites]

Syabira was my very early favorite - and I think that this might be the first time my early favorite has actually won! So, I'm happy about that.

miss-lapin, I agree about the technical challenge. It seemed incredibly unfair. It felt like on this technical - and a few technicals this season - you would fail if you didn't have very specific knowledge, and some of that is fair play, but some of that (like how you need to boil vegetarian gelatine) seems like knowledge that most excellent amateur bakers just wouldn't have. Baking to such a high standard is HARD, even when you have the technical knowledge, and the technical shouldn't be a pop quiz about "Do YOU know how to set a bombe with vegetarian gelatine?"
posted by Jeanne at 4:09 PM on November 18, 2022 [4 favorites]

Syabira was absolutely my favorite...but like so many are saying, I just didn't dig this season. I'm tired of the too-short times, the obscure technicals that nobody knows how to do, etc. It was more of a drag than I want in my minimal TV-watching time.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:39 PM on November 18, 2022

Syabira!!! I really liked all of the bakers this season, but I didn’t really like the challenges, or the really short time limits. One thing I liked about previous seasons was if a baker screwed something up, they could usually remake it within the time limit, if they kept their head. I think the show and judges really denied themselves some spectacular results, in favor of…bakers running around? Stress drama? Meh.

More baker life, pls. Also this is probably an unpopular opinion, but i also miss the occasional historical baking segments Mel and Sue (and Sandy) did.
posted by pepper bird at 7:57 PM on November 18, 2022 [10 favorites]

I love love love this show; it is absolutely like comfort food for my sleep-deprived, toddler-addled, generally-struggling soul. I am willing to give it loads and loads of second chances and allow it many excuses, but even I had a hard time getting through this season. I will give next season a chance (and I will watch the holiday episodes, natch), but it will be on a very short leash, and I've already sort of resigned myself to trying to find something else to fill the Baking Off-sized gap in my heart.

I'm happy Syabira won, as she was by far the most interesting and inventive baker this season, while still clearly having a great deal of technical skill. I very much wish we could have seen her (and the other bakers!) on a different season that was interested in highlighting their abilities and strengths rather than catching them out or tripping them up. But that is not what this season was about, and it seems more and more that that is not what the show is about anymore. And that's a damn shame.

And yes! PLEASE bring back the historical tangents from the very early days; those were delightful and informative!! And bring back technicals that are about actually testing the bakers' knowledge of foundational concepts/techniques/methods/etc, rather than random novelty shit Paul found in some "Weird Foods of Britain Past" archive! And bring back showstoppers that are about elevating, innovating, and improving on real-world baking tasks and projects, not manufacturing weird things out of cookies for no reason other than it's really fucking hard to do!!!!

Ugh. Happy for Syabira. Sad for the show.
posted by Dorinda at 12:23 PM on November 19, 2022 [4 favorites]

I'm glad it's over, as opposed to when I used to lament the end of a season. I would have been happy for any of the three delightful bakers to win. Never have I been so glad for a host to be ill for at least one of the two days, giving the bakers and the viewers a break!

As an aside, I found one season of the Junior Bake Off on Netflix with Liam and Rav as judges and Harry Hill as the single host -- and it is delightful. The kids are great bakers (age 9 to 14), the judges are kind and respectful with their language, Harry Hill is funny and appropriate with the kids and they respond well to him. It has provided a nice alternative for me; but alas I can't find the preceding seasons (there are many). That may not be a loss since the prior judges included Paul Hollywood and I am so done with him.
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 12:43 PM on November 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

I guess I'm the odd one out here- I didn't think this season was all that much different than last season (though I agree the technicals are silly and involve too much guess work) and I like Noel (Matt, not so much).

Anyway, happy for Syabira, though really would have been glad for any of the final three - all delightful people. I do wish they'd include more biographical bits along the way, and give them more time - if the bakers are rushing at the end, I want it to be because they are overly ambitious, not because they've been allotted too little time.
posted by coffeecat at 6:19 PM on November 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

I'd feel better if this continued, but they need to give Noel the boot. Matt was fine on his own; why do we need two hosts anyway? Noel doesn't bring anything but annoyance to the bakers. The showstopper on the finale obviously wasn't quite enough time to meet the high standards of the judges. Happy for Syabira, and she deserved it, especially taking into account the rest of the season. It's kinda odd though that sometimes they take history into account, and sometimes not. The judges weren't shy about their prejudices against Abdul (too simple) and Sandro (too ambitious).

Regarding the meaner-spiritedness of the show, I noticed that both in the voiceovers and in the netflix descriptions, they were much more negative. For example: "Who's cake will be a disaster" rather than "Who will go on to the finals". *shaking my head.* It could be so much better.
posted by hydra77 at 2:54 PM on November 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

trying to find something else to fill the Baking Off-sized gap in my heart.

I watch both British & Canadian bake off, and Canadian is actually better these days! Though I do miss Dan Levy.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 3:20 PM on November 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

Very happy Syabira won. She was definitely the standout talent this series, all things considered. Either of the finalists would have been a good win, though.

The show really needs a re-think, though. It’s almost become a self-satire, or maybe just a bit too full of itself? I dunno. It definitely needs to get back to baking.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:32 PM on November 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

Baking and heart. I was watching some Joe Lycett-hosted Great British Sewing Bee while this GBBO season was going on and the contrast is so striking. Turns out "random interruptions from surrealist comedians looking for someone to riff with" can actually be both funny and warm and genuinely encouraging to the contestants.

Who watches Bake Off for stuff like "you really want to win, don't you? How badly do you want to beat the others? You haven't won as many times as the others, how does that make you feel? It'd be pretty terrible if you lost now, right? Winning is the only thing that matters, you know?"

The real winning bits of this episode were Syabira's deadpan egg and Abdul's "those are numbers, not equations". Down with math-phobia populism!
posted by trig at 3:26 AM on November 21, 2022 [5 favorites]

I can't believe that in the intro the show doubled down on calling Syabira's inclusion of corn in the Mexican cake a "miss." Did they not read any critiques of that terrible episode?

I'm so glad she won.
posted by queensissy at 6:52 PM on November 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

Syabira! Woo!

That technical was weird, but overall I thought the finalists all did a good job, which is what I'm here for. I enjoyed this episode, and the season overall. I think I just tune out most of the silly "dramatic" editing. The bakers seem happy to have participated, and I am happy for them.
posted by the primroses were over at 6:57 PM on November 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

I do wish they'd go back and redo some technicals. I really didn't like this technical, because 1) it seems like an extremely post-war British thing...syrup-soaked bread?? A jelly core? and 2) just throwing in vegetable gelatin seems guaranteed to be a "you know it or you don't" ingredient that there was no way to guess or reason how to use it.

Coincidentally the last time I was in London I had a summer pudding. They're really delicious but they don't usually have the mousse and gelatin inside- that's what made it a bombe I guess. I definitely agree that the vegetarian gelatin special knowledge point of failure was bullshit- especially because taking the time to boil gelatin meant that it was going to be longer for the bombe to cool and set.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:36 PM on November 21, 2022

Myles McNutt advances the theory that Paul Jagger's bread lion way back in Season 6 is to blame for the current state of GBBO.

For my money, his take is — shall we say — a bit too hot for my tastes. But your mileage may vary.
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:34 PM on November 28, 2022

FWIW, Paul and Prue give an interview to plug a new American version of Bake Off and Mexican week comes up.

(The answers are entirely unsatisfying, but it does come up.)
posted by fruitslinger at 12:52 PM on December 2, 2022

Public service announcement for the Americans: as part of the roll-out of the above-mentioned American version on the Roku Channel, the Roku Channel has also acquired the streaming rights to all of the BBC seasons of Bake-Off. This includes Seasons 1 and 2, which (as far as I know) were not available on Netflix or PBS when those networks had the rights. Also, the BBC seasons do not appear to be on Netflix any more.

My wife and I are watching the very first season of Bake-Off now, and... it's fascinating to watch on a historical level but honestly it's not great. You can see the bones of what it became, but I'm also not surprised that PBS didn't jump on it immediately. The whole thing feels like I'm having a dream about watching an episode of Bake-Off. "They were in the tent and everything, but they were touring around the UK, and they never announced a Star Baker, and one time there were peacocks crowing in the background, and another time they put up the tent in a parking lot and passers-by were gawking at them, and Paul helped a contestant figure out how to knead a sticky dough, and..."
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:43 AM on December 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

fruitslinger, did you mean to link this interview instead?
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:46 AM on December 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Wishlist for next year:

Judges that actually like food.
Baking challenges that involve baking.
Paul Hollywood fucks off into the sun.
posted by prismatic7 at 3:46 AM on December 6, 2022 [2 favorites]

And Matt is now leaving the tent...

Of the 4 leading the show, he's the one who's most tolerable (IMHO).
posted by hydra77 at 4:16 PM on December 6, 2022 [1 favorite]

Indeed! Thanks, Johnny Assay. (Weird, I don't think I even read the one I ended up linking...)

Not sad Matt is leaving but I'm not sure I see the show moving in a great direction with or without him.
posted by fruitslinger at 12:38 PM on December 7, 2022

One thing I definitely agree with from that McNutt article is the relative status of Prue vs. Mary Berry. While I think Paul Hollywood was still the lead, he and Mary Berry seemed much more like co-hosts. Prue strikes me as much more of an "and also". I don't know if this is her personality, the work of the producers, Paul's obvious ego (although he's willing to poke fun at himself, which is good), or what, and I'm not sure if it's the blame for the current trajectory of the show, but there it is.

I, too, hate the construction challenges. They are garbage. One challenge this year that I loved was the "make a lemon meringue pie" with the instructions "make a lemon meringue pie". Nothing fancy, just a test of what you know and have remembered.

I'd like to see a technical with no instructions at all, just a sample of the thing they have to make. No excuses if it doesn't look right - it's right there.

I tolerate Matt and Noel. That's about it.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 2:32 PM on December 17, 2022

I'd like to see a technical with no instructions at all, just a sample of the thing they have to make.

Yes! And they should be able to taste it. The challenge should be "do you have the knowledge and skills to create a given flavor, texture, look", not "can you guess what mystery flavor, texture, and look we're hoping for".
posted by trig at 2:52 PM on December 17, 2022 [2 favorites]

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