"Let’s start with an incontrovertible fact: This was a very English season of Bake Off," says Nate Jones. "For the first time since 2011, there were no Scottish, Welsh, or Northern Irish bakers in the tent. Thus, unlike a typical season of Bake Off, its story was not about the constituent parts of the U.K. coming together to make a glorious whole. Instead, this would be a season about England, the former imperial heartland that led the charge for Leave, and its relationship to Europe and the rest of the world. In place of the token Scottish or Welsh baker, the exotic color this season came courtesy of two contestants who loomed above the rest: the Italian Giuseppe and the German Jürgen. Both were products of a pre-Brexit age, Europeans who had made lives in England as adults, and they absolutely dominated the opening stretch, taking home five of the first seven Star Baker honors. Jürgen and Giuseppe were not just great bakers, they also made for great TV, each comfortably slotting into innocuous national stereotypes: Jürgen was rational and soft-spoken, a bit like a Teutonic teddy bear; Giuseppe was more animated, with wild curls and the world’s only flattering soul patch. Their beautiful, technically flawless bakes were the dream of the European Coal and Steel Community made flesh dough — two former wartime enemies seamlessly integrated into the most cozily British scenario imaginable. Even the incessant accent jokes from hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas carried less of an edge than they might have in decades past. Here it felt like family banter, a vision of the U.K. still firmly knitted into the European fabric." ALSO: Fantastic contestants redeemed this season.
TOPICS: The Great British Bake Off, Channel 4, Netflix, Reality TV