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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 29, 2020   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Holiday themed cooking show hits nail on the head

Nailed It! Holiday! Season Two

Netflix

The holiday season is the time of year when pictures of reindeer cakes or dreidel cake pops appear all over Pinterest. And at first glance, these festive creations look easy enough to replicate. Just preheat the oven to 350 degrees, roll out fondant — and voila! Right? Wrong. Season two of “Nailed It! Holiday!” is the perfect antidote to the showy, sugar-coated Food Network through its humorous appeal to the amateur baker and decorator in everyone. 

Netflix’s “Nailed It!” has followed a simple, fun format since the premiere of its first season in March 2018. The competition show follows three amateur bakers competing in two baking challenges, the first being a small dessert such as a cookie or a cake pop. The second is usually an intricate, highly-decorated cake. The desserts all turn out awful, but the baker who manages to produce the least-awful creation wins a cash prize of $10,000 as well as a set of state-of-the-art baking tools they can use to ideally improve their skills. “Nailed It! Holiday!” includes the addition of festive challenges centered around Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year. The show puts an emphasis on holiday festivities with every episode, featuring decor, apparel and narration unique to the episode’s specific holiday theme. 

As with previous seasons of “Nailed It!,” the center of the show is host and judge Nicole Byer. Her limitless energy and quick, hilarious reactions keep a repetitive format fresh and easy to binge-watch. Joining Byer as a judge in every episode is pastry chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres. Torres’ serious, critical nature perfectly complements Byer. Every episode also features a celebrity judge, with the strongest appearances for season two coming from comedians Maya Rudolph and Jillian Bell. Rudolph and Bells’ senses of humor and energies fit right into the aesthetic of the show. 

Though the judges provide a great deal of comedy, the true stars of the shows are the contestants, who seem to get wackier and wackier with each season. Audience favorites will likely be a Santa Claus lookalike who enjoys sipping alcohol while baking, a chicken noise-impersonating grandma who makes a terrifying edible angel and Paul Scheer, an actor best known for “Veep” and “The League.”

At the heart of it, “Nailed It!” is one of the most joyful shows out there right now. All teasing is done in good fun, and the contestants find it easy to laugh at themselves. Especially during the holiday season, “Nailed It! Holiday!” reminds audiences to forget the myth of the perfect holiday and to instead focus on the family and fun that really matters.