The Netflix Category We All Desperately Need


A few weeks ago, The Great British Baking Show returned to Netflix, and I sat down to figuratively devour new episodes and just bask in the “nice-ness” of it. If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you may have run across my post For the Love of Sweet (Baked) Community where I detailed my love for GBBS and the impetus for that love, which is the sweet community they have built and maintain on GBBS. People being genuinely kind and encouraging and helpful to each other, never mind the fact that they are in competition, that just fills my softie Hufflepuff heart.

As I began to watch this new season of GBBS, I found myself crying and babbling soggily to my husband about how much I had missed this, how much I needed this, something this sweet and good and kind in a world that feels as though it’s constantly falling apart. It felt like the sweetest of steadying hugs in a time that is consistently leaving me wobbly.

“This is what the world needs!” I exclaimed, “Netflix should have a category JUST for shows like this!”

“Write it,” he replied matter-of-factly, Write up the listicle then. What shows would you put in that category? Write it.”

And while I am sure it has been done already, perhaps even many times, I think I shall.

Netflix, you are hereby on notice! I expect to see a category of this type populated with the loveliest of shows before this hellish year is over.

**Shows with Relatively Low Stakes Where People Make Beautiful/Delicious Things and are Genuinely Nice to Each Other.**

The Great British Baking Show – people making delicious baked goods; challenging their skills; encouraging and helping each other.

The Great British Baking Show: Masterclass – Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry: baking together for everyday and holidays, cute quips and delightful conversation; genuine friendship shining through.

Lords and Ladles – world class chefs and friends Derry Clarke, Catherine Fulvio, and Paul Flynn: sharing duties, learning about food and its relationship to history and different families, historical research and context to make a meal memorable.

Making It – hosted by real-life and on-screen friends Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman (Parks and Rec): DIYers come together to make gorgeous, imaginative homemade projects, helping and encouraging each other along the way with their creations, as well as being encouraged and cheered on by their genuinely kind and enthusiastic hosts.

Hollywood Game Night – hosted by Jane Lynch: a fun, silly 45 minutes with celebrities and their fans having ridiculous fun, snacks, and laughs, just like friends, at a raucous game night that would be the embarrassment of ever progeny (because you know how we adults can get).

The Voice – well-known vocal artists encouraging and coaching talented, brilliant new ones who, undoubtedly, leave the show better than they arrived; lots of cheering on, ego boosts, encouragement in growth, and emotional uplifts from both coaches and fellow team members.

Sarah and Duck – While this is not a “creative” show, per say, it is definitely one of my absolute favorite feel-good shows. Created by the BBC, little Sarah and her best friend Duck, accompanied by a caring Narrator, traipse through a beautiful animated world of diverse characters, problems to be solved, and simple, wonderful moments to be enjoyed. It is the ultimate quiet time show with soothing music and the sweetest scenarios.

This is just a handful of the shows that, over the past seven years, have made me incredibly happy and that can always bring a smile to my face. They have been blanket-forts of solace and comfort in the midst of the crazy of life, something that we all deeply and dearly need right now, as much as or even more than ever before.

So…what do you say, Netflix? Hook some happiness junkies up?

For the Love of Sweet (Baked) Community


At any point in time, there is usually one television show that I will go to for my background noise. Whether I am writing, working, cleaning, or just needing to relax, it’s a show that can just be a calming white noise in the back of my conscious attention. Currently, that show is the series of “The Great British Baking Show (Bake Off)” that is hosted by Netflix, which I think is series 5 or sommat (yeah, my partial Britishness is showing through). I LOVE this show! I kid you not, I have watched this one season of the show at least ten times through. I watched it when it aired on PBS originally and was delighted when it showed up on Netflix. It has become the one show that I will happily and consistently watch at any point in time. And I’ll probably make you watch it, too.

This past Christmas, I gave the American version of the show, “The Great Holiday Baking Show”, a fair shake but didn’t enjoy it nearly as much. Not by a long shot. Now, I could mark that to the fact that…well…British accents (English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish) just make anything better. But that would be a purely superficial reason. No. The reason that I love TGBBS is, I have discovered, because of the community and the way it is portrayed and shown. These people aren’t just contestants; these people are one big family, even though their number gets smaller week by week. They are fun, they are delightful, they are funny, they are supportive, encouraging, and helpful towards each other. They meet their challenges head-on and with high hopes (if there is groaning, grimacing, or grumbling, it is forgivingly on the cutting room floor), even if they have never heard of a princesstorte in their life (“Never seen it, never eaten it”) or if, at the end of an episode, they vow that they “will never wrap another pear in pastry again”. No matter what, they support each other. Each person who wins Star Baker is met with resounding applause and “well done’s”; those who have had a rough day are given support by their teammates (yeah, they call themselves a team, not competitors); and those who go home are met with hugs, “we’ll miss you’s”, compliments of their skill, and assurances that they will continue to make absolutely splendid creations in their future. Seventeen-year-old Martha, the youngest ever contestant on the show as of that particular season, was assured by Sue Perkins, upon her leaving the show, “you will rule the world, my darling”. And what seventeen-year-old doesn’t need to hear such confident encouragement and faith in them? And then, at the finale episode, everyone came back to cheer on the finalists and celebrate their success with them.

I love this! This…THIS is my heart for community! My heart for people, the vision of community that I am trying to foster and build in my life. A community of people–real, living, trying-their-best, imperfect people: family, friends, fellow hobbyists, peers. I want a world where we each do our best with the gifts that we have been given, where we encourage, cheer on, and clap for others even when they do better than we do, where we help each other through our stressful, difficult moments with no thought to ulterior motive, listen and/or offer comfort in mournful moments, and rejoice riotously with each other in our successes (and, yes, believe me, you will have them).

As Jen Hatmaker might say: for the love of sweet (baked) community, this is what I want! This is what life and love and relationship are about for me.