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Netflix’s ‘Nailed It!’ Feels Fresher and Funnier in Season 2

Plus, more TV and movie recommendations for the weekend, and a roundup of the week’s entertainment news

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Netflix/Nailed It!

This post originally appeared on June 29, 2018, in “Eat, Drink, Watch” — the weekly newsletter for people who want to order takeout and watch TV. Browse the archives and subscribe now.

We’re back in that Friday groove once again. After a week like this one, you might want to considering powering down the laptop, deleting a problematic social media app or two from your phone, and spending some quality time this weekend getting reacquainted with your old friend the television. Here are recommendations for three things to watch this weekend, plus a roundup of the week’s entertainment news.

Nailed It! kicks the party into high gear

Host Nicole Byer and judg Jacques Torres
Netflix/Nailed It!

While most cooking competition shows exude an aura of self-serious virtuosity (see: Top Chef, Chopped, Masterchef, etc.), Netflix’s baking series Nailed It! bucks the trend by embracing the silliness and chaos of high-wire cooking. The new season of this baking show is the perfect antidote to a particularly rough week.

This time around, the amateur bakers competing on Nailed It! have to make replicas of cakes that look like cobras, planets, floating teapots, fairy tale characters, and other cartoon-y ephemera. In a slight detour from last season, a few of the challenges don’t involve sweets, but rather watermelon carvings and savory “snack stadiums.”

While it’s certainly amusing to see how the amateur recreations of these desserts compare to the originals, host Nicole Byer and judge Jacques Torres are the real reasons why this show is so compulsively watchable. She’s got an infectious, giddy sense of humor, and he’s armed with a career’s worth of culinary knowledge to bring to the judges’ table. Working as a team, they offer thoughtful, well-tempered feedback for the competitors while finding a way to make the judgment portions of the show just as fun as the baking parts of the competition.

Although the structure and rules of the show are exactly the same, the new season of Nailed It! feels more deliberately daffy: the culinary themes are stranger, the set is loaded with surprises, and Byer’s quips and transitions feel more off-the-cuff than in Season 1. From a production standpoint, it’s as if the Nailed It! crew wants the show to feel as unpredictable as the act of creating an elaborate dessert.

All six new episodes are now streaming on Netflix. If you’re looking for one episode to take for a test spin, consider the sports-themed episode “Tailgate, Failgate” which boasts LA Rams punter Johnny Hekker as a judge and one of the show’s all-time biggest cake fails in the second round.

Streaming selections du jour

Breaking Big/PBS

Breaking Big, “Eddie Huang”

Watch it on:, iTunes, Amazon

The gist: Eddie Huang is the perfect fit for this PBS documentary series exploring the unpredictable nature of success, because he’s managed to move through so many different fields while becoming more famous with each gear shift. Over the last decade, Eddie Huang has worked as a lawyer, stand-up comedian, drug dealer, chef/restaurateur, TV star, and memoirist. The only real through-line to his career is that he’s continually pursued projects that allow him more creative freedom than the last job. “The thing that allows eddie to do so many different things is that all of them are a form of autobiography for him,” his book editor Chris Jackson explains. This compelling 30-minute profile features reflections from Eddie’s friends and family, as well as thoughtful commentary from the Fresh Off the Boat author himself.

Explained, “Why Diets Fail”

Watch it on: Netflix

The gist: A recent episode of this weekly Netflix show (which is co-produced by Eater’s sister publication Vox) looks at the fascinating history of weight-loss trends, and the bogus science behind many of the major diet fads of the last half-century. A particularly interesting footnote: Dieting, as a formal practice, was cooked up by an undertaker in Victorian England named William Banting, who wrote a wildly popular book called Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public. Another particularly interesting piece of historical trivia: Like many Americans in the 1960s, President John F. Kennedy was hooked on a canned diet shake called Metrecal.

You certainly don’t have to be a dieter to enjoy this episode of Explained, but if you are trying to shed some weight, this 14-minute documentary will likely help you see the process from a new perspective.

In other entertainment news…

Have a great weekend everyone, and if you’re looking for something relatively easily, but very satisfying to make for yourself, consider whipping up some of Julia Turshen’s everything buttermilk biscuits.

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