Happy Friday. According to the New York Post, some efficiency experts predict that a lot of people will call out sick on Monday due to Game of Thrones-related tiredness/hangovers. It’s certainly a major moment for television and pop culture in general, but it’s just one of many exciting things to watch on TV this weekend. I’ve got three recommendations for shows to put in your queue: two somewhat heavy docuseries, and a completely silly food show. Here’s what’s new and good:
Another round of giddy cake fails from Nailed It!
Of all the shows that came out of the Great Netflix Food Swing of 2018, Nailed It! must be one of the most popular, because it’s already spawned three official seasons, a six-episode holiday spectacular, a Queer Eye crossover, a Mexican remake, and deals for three more international versions. The series has one of the most charming hosting duos on television — Nicole Byer and Jacques Torres — as well as a punchy visual style that makes the action feel like a cartoon brought to life. But while watching the newest batch of episodes, I also realized that a huge part of the show’s appeal is the masterful casting of the bakers; it doesn’t take long to figure out who you want to root for.
Season 3 includes a Marvel-themed challenge, a bug-centric bake, and a caveman-inspired cupcake contest, all of which generate ridiculous cake fails. Here, in no particular order, are my five favorites from the new season:
As an art teacher, you’d think that Cassie would know how to turn a mound of marbled sculpting chocolate into a recreation of Michelangelo’s David. But... nope, what she made looks more like the alien that walks out of the spaceship at the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Though not quite creepy as its source material, this creation from Beverly, a recently-divorced acting coach from Southern California, looks like a Pokemon crucifixion gone awry.
To be fair, Jennifer, a pediatric nurse from Indiana, admits that she probably ruined her eclair snail when she put a cloche over it, but as the judges suggest, it really does look like technicolor roadkill.
T-Rex? More like T-Wrecked. Ismath, a grad student who loves baking for her husband, tried her hardest to recreate the king of the dinosaurs, but instead ended up making a gnarly version of Slimer from Ghostbusters.
And Aaron, a cop from Memphis, just couldn’t figure out what to do with his buttercream. His cupcake caveman looks like a badly-warped Miss Piggy doll hugging a vibrator or, for a more PG comparison, a child’s drawing of a chicken riding a surfboard.
All six new episodes of Nailed It! are now streaming on Netflix.
Streaming recommendations du jour
Broken Bread, “Transformation”
The gist: Kogi kingpin Roy Choi is easily one of the most influential LA chefs of the last three decades. In an inspired move, his new show with local PBS affiliate KCET and Tastemade does not focus on the chef’s culinary achievements or inspirations, but rather the social justice issues that are near and dear to his heart.
In the first episode, the chef meets with a handful of business owners who, like Choi himself, are trying to give opportunities to people who might have a tough time getting jobs otherwise. Choi meets with Homeboy Bakery founder Father John Boyle, whose business employs hundreds of formerly-incarcerated individuals, and he visits Dough Girl pizzeria founder Mar Diego, who puts kids struggling with drug addiction and homelessness to work. The host also talks about second chances with LA mayor Eric Garcetti over French dip sandwiches from the legendary Philippe the Original.
Choi is a charming guy who seems completely comfortable chatting with other business owners and young cooks about their life stories. I look forward to seeing where Broken Bread will take him next.
United Shades of America, “Hmong Americans And The Secret War”
The gist: W. Kamau Bell, the host of this excellent CNN docuseries, heads to St. Paul, Minnesota to talk with leaders of the local Hmong-American community about how their culture has changed since the end of “the Secret War” in Laos, a chapter of our national military history that many Americans know nothing about. Local entrepreneur Toua Xiong gives Bell a tour of the Hmongtown Marketplace, where 600 Hmong-Americans work. The host learns to make jam from ad executive-turned farmer Yia Vue. And he ends his tour of St. Paul with a home-cooked meal from Yia Vang, the proprietor of Union Hmong Kitchen.
While there are definitely funny moments in this episode, Bell doesn’t shy away from the tough questions about discrimination against Hmong-Americans, and the ugly aftermath of the Secret War. If you’re looking for a show to fill the void left by Parts Unknown, this smart, eye-opening series is a great option.
In other entertainment news…
- The remake of Israeli drama Baker and the Beauty is getting a full series order from ABC. The American version of the show will premiere in the fall, and the original series is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
- Will Ferrel and Laura Dern will star in Fruitcake, a drama about a real-life couple who embezzled $17 million from famed fruitcake purveyor Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas.
- Trisha Ziff’s documentary about Mexican superstar Gabriela Cámara, A Tale of Two Kitchens, lands on Netflix next Wednesday.
- Ali Wong’s new Netflix rom-com Always Be My Maybe looks hilarious. It lands on May 31.
- Page Six floats the rumor that Food Network star Sandra Lee and New York governor Andrew Cuomo are headed for splitsville, but Lee vehemently denies this gossip on Facebook.
- And finally, SNL absolutely nailed its parody of Chopped. I especially loved the “overdressed salad” wearing a tuxedo.
Have a great weekend, everyone, and if you’re looking for something to make for brunch, consider checking out the tacos de huevo recipe from Gabriela Cámara’s new book, My Mexico City Kitchen.