Welcome to another recap of “The Great British Baking Show,” where it’s Japanese Week…for which we are very nervous!
My name is Daniel Trainor and the idea of a bunch of British people competing in something called Japanese Week makes my butt clench.
While my name is Sam Stone and I haven’t owned my own butt since 1981. (I’m leasing).
Trepidatiously, let’s get into it!
DT: Noel opens things by wondering aloud who will be “saying sayonara,” which made me wonder aloud who ever thought this was even close to a good idea.
SS: In the Signature Challenge, our bakers are tasked with making Japanese-style steamed buns, and as we learn of our bakers’ chosen flavors and executions I must say that it’s a gorgeous experience to see seven bakers take a respected Japanese tradition and make it disgusting and British by filling steamed buns with haggis and crown jewels or whatever.
DT: I can only imagine the wistful glee Matt Lucas felt when he was told the bakers were making buns, and he’d be able to accost them all with terrible puns. Bun puns.
SS: Mark is making “burger buns”: steamed buns with a hamburger inside like some kind of British Guy Fieri, and, not to be outdone, Lottie is creating cheeseburger buns which are equally morally reprehensible, toxic, and illegal.
DT: These bakers spent so long asking if they could, they didn’t stop to think about if they should. Elsewhere, despite it not being a challenge requirement, many of the bakers are making their buns to look like animals. These sick fucks.
SS: I enjoy that Hermine took a little bit of a shot at the other bakers, saying she’s making Japanese buns because “that’s what the brief said.” Meanwhile, the burger wars are heating up between Mark and Lottie as they jocularly snipe at each other from across the tent.
DT: Should we talk about the gherkin drama?
SS: We must address the enormous gherkin in the room.
DT: Paul Hollywood hates gherkins and will absolutely not be eating them, don’t even ask. This is bad news for both Mark and Lottie, who were planning on stuffing his mouth with them.
SS: Mark and Lottie both make special non-gherkin buns just for Paul, but this of course makes their gherkinless buns a bit drier than planned during judging. I, of course, missed this part of the episode because I spent that 10 minutes going down a deep, dark, and dangerous gherkin wormhole on the internet’s famous “Google.”
DT: I thought a gherkin was a type of purse. Get yourself a man who can buy you a gherkin? What did you find out on “Google?”
SS: Turns ‘gherks’ (a beautiful nickname for gherkins that I’ve legally patented) are a fermented cucumber or some fucking bullshit.
DT: Isn’t that a pickle? What’s a pickle? We’re IN a pickle! Anyway, when it comes time for judging, Laura’s piggy buns look like they’ve already been through the slaughterhouse. She was worried about vegetarians being mad about the concept. No, Laura, we’re mad about the execution. And I hope that stings even more.
SS: The bun judging was confusing because no one did well, but no one did particularly badly, either. We were kept in bun purgatory.
DT: With very little decided in the Signature Challenge, we move into the Technical Challenge, which calls for the bakers to make a matcha crepe cake. It looks like something out of a drug-induced fairytale, and also like the most difficult thing to make on planet Earth.
SS: Laura is vocally anti-matcha out of the gate, which is a questionable position to take when you’re trying to make a matcha based dessert on a baking competition.
DT: While the bakers make their crepes, Noel has fully lost his mind and is running around the tent yelling “FLIP IT! FLIP IT!” like some kind of human Bop-It.
SS: A crepe cake sounds difficult, but most of the bakers end up performing pretty well. For some reason the most difficult part of the challenge comes for these bakers as they start to decorate their cakes, when they must figure out what shape a crescent is.
DT: Upon finishing his cake, Peter says “game, set, matcha.” Making sports jokes about cakes is SUPPOSED TO BE MY THING, PETER.
SS: The results are a mixed bag. The judges have issues with both the insides and outsides of various cakes. Peter, our 20-year-old ingenue jokester, takes the top spot, while Laura, still reeling from massacring a bunch of pigs earlier in the day, comes in last.
DT: After Prue jokes about Noel’s inability to give blow jobs, it’s time for the Showstopper Challenge, in which the bakers have been asked to make a traditional kawaii cake. They’ve all been instructed to really focus on Japanese flavors this time, so I’m not sure why Laura bothered to show up.
SS: Paul tries his best to describe what a kawaii cake is, and it has never been clearer that an old white dude is in over his head.
DT: God bless the twinky 24-year-old producer who pitched this idea.
SS: Mark happily refers to his cakes throughout the challenge as “Kwawee,” which is an ominous harbinger of things to come.
DT: Prue makes a weird remark about Mark “getting in touch with his feminine side” because he wants to bake avocado babies for his avocado cake. I don’t know what she’s talking about because every time I make avocado babies, I feel like a muscular stud dripping in machismo.
SS: How often do you make avocado babies? Are you fucking an avocado? I’m confused about the narrative here.
DT: Wouldn’t you like to know! Peter is making a cheeky cake based on badminton. Just write these recaps, too, Peter. Take it all. Destroy my life.
SS: Paul takes this opportunity to tell the bakers once again their cakes must “look good….but also taste good.” It’s week six, Paul. We understand the format at this point in herstory.
DT: I’d also just like to point out that Peter calls him a “badminton coach,” which is not a thing?
SS: I hope it’s become clear to you by now, reader, that we are filling space in this recap because this was the most boring, coma inducing, flavorless episode of GBBS we’ve tasted thus far in the season. Rowan’s not here to make some ridiculous thing that looks like shit, Linda’s not here to be drunk, and the remaining bakers are all performing at a solid 7 out of 10 for this whole episode.
DT: Laura starts crying over torn fondant, and who hasn’t been there?
SS: Finally a moment of emotional catharsis in this episode.
DT: As we get into judging, Peter lights his shuttlecock on fire, because of course he does. He gets high marks for his presentation, but not for flavor.
SS: Lottie, meanwhile, has Willy Wonka’d an entire jiggly Japanese forest complete with flavored cotton candy. Our mysterious editorial model takes home her first Star Baker.
DT: Laura’s finished product isn’t a disaster and they love the cake itself, while Paul calls Mark’s avocado cake nearly inedible. Just like that…we’ve got a race!
SS: Although, is it a race if one baker’s cake was called inedible?
DT: Ultimately, Mark gets the axe for his avocado baby cake, which never should have been conceived in the first place, and Laura squeaks by for another week.
SS: If I had to judge this episode I would say that the presentation was solid, it looks a treat, but in the end the flavor just wasn’t right. Big soggy bottom vibes for episode six.
DT: Game, set, matcha.