The most insufferable part of nearly every half hour cooking competition show is its haughty attitude. Very Serious Celebrity Chef Judges evaluate dishes made from the dregs of a pantry with the straight face of a restaurant critic, not before wincing in a huddle as, inevitably, a frenzied contestant desperately chucks raw pieces of an unsavory ingredient onto their plate in the clock's final seconds. The outcome doesn't feel as authoritative as it does condescending to the competing chefs who also tend to take their losses hard. Representing the antithesis of that pageantry is Netflix's foray into original cooking competitions, Nailed It!, which breathes starkly opposite vibes into the formula by requiring its competitors to embrace their fuck ups.
If The Great British Baking Show is the original, subdued alternative to high-octane American competitions, Nailed It! is its flippant millennial protégé born from a Pinterest meme of baking failures. Instead of competent trained chefs, the contestants are all mediocre amateur bakers who proclaim the medium to be their primary creative outlet and a favorite way to burn off steam after a long day. They're tasked with two different challenges: the first is a recreation of a simpler baked good like an emoji cake; the second is an intensive multi-tier cake designed by a guest judge. The outcome of Bake No. 1 has no bearing on the second, though the losing contestant acquires a field-leveling advantage, like a freeze button that stops the other two competitors in their tracks for three minutes. The winning contestant gets to wear a gold sparkly hat, crowning them the "one to beat." Whoever best imitates the second layer cake best wins $10,000. There might be significant money at stake, but all of the bakers generally get that they're not there to impress the judging panel with a masterpiece. Their job is just to make something overly complex not look entirely awful.