nicole byer making a surprised face while sitting at the Nailed It! judges table holding a fork and two pieces of cake on the table

The Best Baking Show Ever + Bonus Drinking Game!

The newest season of Nailed It! just came out on Netflix a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve already seen it several times (as well as rewatched the older seasons several times), so I thought it was high time for me to write about this gem of a show. I even made a Nailed It! drinking game (at the end of the article)!

If you’re not familiar with Nailed It!, it is essentially a baking show for people who are self-proclaimed terrible bakers. Whether the contestants are terrible at decorating, baking, or both, these people love baking, but have no idea what they’re doing.

So with all of these terrible bakers, you’d think they would have them make something easy, right? A bit of pasta, maybe an omelette? No. On this show, these subpar bakers are asked to make very intricate desserts with multiple different elements, often using both modeling chocolate and fondant. Not only are these foods incredibly challenging to make, but the bakers are tasked with doing them in a very short amount of time. As you can imagine, having anyone bake and decorate incredibly intricate things in a very short amount of time can be disastrous, let alone self-proclaimed awful bakers. The results are truly hilarious, and with comedian judges, the formula becomes even funnier. 

While at first it might feel weird to laugh at other people’s expense, you get over that quickly when you realize how badly these bakers sabotage themselves. Seriously, you would think that someone on a baking show who knows that they’re not the best baker, is on a time crunch, and is being given a recipe would, you know, try to FOLLOW THAT RECIPE. Not these people, though. They come on the show saying things like “I don’t like to measure” and “I don’t really follow recipes.” Of course, this means that recipes are ignored, hardly any ingredients are measured, random ingredients are added, and the end result is utter chaos. At the end of each round, when the judges taste the bakers’ foods, their reactions are even more hilarious than the foods themselves. 

There are two hosts/judges on the show that are there for every episode (comedian/actor Nicole Byer and world-renowned chocolatier Jacques Torres) as well as one guest judge that is typically either a professional baker or comedian. I originally saw Nicole Byer as the hilarious Trudy Judy (brother of infamous Doug Judy) on Brooklyn 99.

My favorite Trudy Judy line? “I’ll see butts, if I wanna see butts,” said to her brother in a threatening way at his bachelor party. Obviously, she’s amazing.

My absolute favorite is when Nicole takes a bite of something and starts laughing as soon as it hits her tongue. That’s when you know it’s beyond bad (pro tip: watch the show with the subtitles on because they distinguish between Nicole’s different types of laughter. Every time I cackle now, Dan says “Nicole cackles” like the subtitles).

Between her hilarious quips while judging, her adorable banter with Jacques, and her harassment of the associate director and stage manager Wes, Nicole is a very entertaining host.

In the second round (which is always more challenging than the first and comes with a $10,000 prize for the winner), they allow all of the bakers a PANIC button that they can press and Jacques will come and give them baking instructions. Nicole, of course, has to scream “IT’S A PANIC!!!!” and make a panicked face every time they press the button, which is the best part. They also give the worst performing baker from the first round an advantage in the second. This advantage can be any number of different things like: making the other two bakers untangle Christmas lights, making Jacques speak French when one of the other bakers hits the PANIC button so that they don’t understand his instructions, and making the other bakers stop what they’re doing and listen to Nicole read Moby Dick. It’s always a fun time.

I found this beauty of a show back in December when I was looking for more baking shows to watch. I had just watched most of The Great British Baking Show and wanted to watch another baking show, preferably something holiday-themed (Dan still makes fun of me for my crush on Paul Hollywood, but I digress…). Lucky for me, Nailed It! Has several holiday seasons as well as their normal seasons. So I began with the holiday seasons, but loved it so much that I blew through the regular seasons as well.

Like every other show that I love dearly, I’ve rewatched every episode of this show over and over. Even though I know who wins and all of the punchlines by the judges, they still get me every time. Nailed It! has become one of my favorite shows to rewatch when I need a laugh or just want to rewatch something familiar (which you know I far prefer over watching something new).

Fortunately, Nailed It! is still running, so I don’t have to only rewatch old episodes. I also get to enjoy new episodes. Like I said before, I’ve already binged the newest season, and while it offers much of the hilarity of previous seasons, it is rather sad to see everyone socially distanced. In this new season, the judges primarily sit behind their table (which is a new, longer, curved table so that the judges could sit far enough away from each other), and when they do test desserts, they stand 6 feet away from each other and from the bakers. I understand why it’s necessary, but it’s still kinda sad. Either way, you know I’m going to rewatch it over and over as well as watch any new seasons that come out because this show is brilliant, but hopefully soon, they won’t have to distance so much on set.

If you’re new to the show or just want to watch a few episodes, here are my favorites (sorry that they’re mostly holiday episodes!):

Holiday season 1, episode 5. Guest judge: Ron Funches

Holiday season 1, episode 6. Guest judge: Jason Mantzoukas

Holiday season 2, episode 3. Guest judge: Ron Ben-Israel

Holiday season 2, episode 5. Guest judge: Jillian Bell

Season 4, episode 4. Guest judge: Gabby Douglas

Season 4, episode 6. Guest judge: Adam Scott

As promised, here is the drinking game that I created for Nailed It! Even though I don’t drink much alcohol, this is not the first drinking game I’ve created (check out my Weekenders drinking game here). If you also love Nailed It! and have anything you think I should add, let me know in the comments!

Take a sip/shot when:

  • Someone presses the PANIC button or advantage button
  • A baking tip pops up on the screen
  • Someone says “I don’t really follow recipes.” (2x if they add an ingredient without measuring or add an ingredient not on the recipe at all)
  • “What a treat!” (2x if followed by “What a dream!”)
  • Nicole complains about her feet hurting

Finish your drink when:

  • “Crunch-’ems”
  • One of the guest judges calls for Wes
  • You see Nicole’s slippers

11 thoughts on “The Best Baking Show Ever + Bonus Drinking Game!

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