Now Streaming: “The Big Nailed It Baking Challenge”


This summer “Nailed It,” returned in a new form. It still features the humorous antics of host and comedian Nicole Byer, but apparently all the bad cakes on previous versions of “Nailed It” began to wear on Byer and her co-host, chocolatier, Jacques Torres. While it was certainly funny to watch the baked horrors that some contestants brought out of the oven, the show seems to be taking itself and its contestants a little more seriously. Not that much is serious about this show, so for those who want a completely serious approach to baking, there are other titles to watch.

“Nailed It”: what’s new and different

Previously on “Nailed It,” contestants would be thrown into on-set kitchens faced with the daunting task of copying a flawless, complicated cake. The humor came from their complete failure to come close to the desired finished project. Byer’s laughter and comments often echo those watching at home.

But now, the cast includes baking coaches who teach contestants skills necessary for the “Big Bake” they are to complete during that episode. After following along with the professionals for the prepping and mixing ingredients, contestants are to mimic what the coaches have constructed. Whoever does the best job wins that episode’s challenge. Usually, winning comes with a $1000 prize. A field of 10 participants is quickly whittled to half that size.

Before, winners of the various baking rounds would be given a gold baker’s hat and a set of high-end baking tools. But the four-digit checks seem to be a better incentive for making sure the taste and appearance of cakes are meeting the judges’ standards.

Things get even more intense when there are only three or four bakers left. This time around though, even the losers do not go home empty-handed. Eliminated contestants are allowed to grab as much stuff as they can from the supply room. Most start with taking their stylized nameplate off the front of their stations. They have one minute and one shopping cart for this task. They are assisted by Wes, the stagehand. He is another staple of the show that remains.

There are still celebrity guest judges who help Byer and Torres figure out the winners of each episode. But, the overall prize money is bigger. On earlier versions of the show, the final prize was $10,000, not an insignificant amount of money. However, now the grand prize is 10 times bigger – -$100,000.

Also different this time, is the amount of camaraderie among contestants. While those who struggled the most during particular baking challenges are still given “Panic” buttons, it seems as though participants spend more time getting to know each other when the cameras are not rolling, and it shows when they applaud each other and seem genuinely happy.

With this latest development, “Nailed It” shows that it is not simply a vehicle through which to laugh at people who are terrible bakers. The new version proves the show’s powers-that-be are willing to invest in contestants, and that is a win for audiences.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.


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