Pilot Script Review of The Baker and the Beauty
Of the many writers in Hollywood, it's only the lucky few who get the chance to see their projects produced with a pilot order. In Dean Georgaris’ case, it’s not just one pilot, it’s two. In fact, this is the second time in three years that he's written two projects that have gone to pilot in the same season. This year, he also has legal drama pilot Bluff City Law at NBC. In 2017, he had The Brave at NBC, which went to series, and Las Reinas at ABC, which was passed over. He seems to jump from one genre to another with ease. The Brave was an action thriller, Las Reinas a cop drama with a hint of family soap, Clementine a fantasy drama with a hint of thriller, while his movie The Meg was a horror thriller. To wit, The Baker and the Beauty is another wildly different beast: a romantic soap.
ABC has two pilots based on an Israeli formats this season, and both are romantic dramas: Until the Wedding, and this one. You may be familiar with the concept since the original The Baker and the Beauty ranks as one of the highest-rated scripted series ever in Israel - attracting an average 26.7% rating and consistently gaining viewers each episode. It aired in the UK on Channel 4, while Amazon picked up worldwide rights to it in 2017, with first two seasons currently available for streaming. The format has already been adapted in the Netherlands and other versions are said to be in the works in Greece and Russia.
WRITTEN BY: Dean Georgaris
DRAFT DATE: Studio Draft 8 / Network Draft 3 – 1/7/19
PAGE COUNT: 62 pages
LOGLINE: The impossible Miami love story between a simple baker and an international superstar.
SCRIPT SYNOPSIS: Change is coming to the Garcia family, owners of a small Cuban bakery in Miami. The patriarch, SANTIAGO (60), is trying to keep his head above water with mounting bills, a struggling business, and the possible deportation of his son, MATEO (27, an aspiring DJ who can only get no-name gigs like his little sister’s high school dance. MARI (58), the matriarch, worries about her two boys, but less so about her daughter, NATALIE (15), who seems to have it all together, but struggles with her in-the-closet sexual orientation and her inability to fit in at her new elite school. Then there’s the oldest child, DANIEL (31, titled Baker), who has second thoughts about his relationship with his eager girlfriend of eight years, VANESSA (28), when an starlet NOA HOLLANDER (the titled Beauty) unexpectedly walks into his life. They meet in the bathroom of a very fancy restaurant, and almost against his will, Daniel embarks on a long and eventful night out with Noa and her girlfriends.
COMMENTS: I came into this project with a good deal of skepticism. In concept, the story is strikingly similar to one of the most popular romantic comedies ever: Notting Hill. Rich and famous girl meets a humble boy, and they fall in love. It was done with such charm in the 1999 movie that it seems foolish to try to capture the same lightning in a bottle, especially without Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in tow.
Then I read the pilot script, and I have to say I began to understand why Israelis fell in love with this show. Forget Notting Hill, this is a show with its own charm and a definitive modernity -- one that could appeal to a broad audience, from teenagers to their grandmothers. The pilot script is first and foremost about the Garcia family. Unlike the original, in this adaptation Daniel’s siblings are fleshed out, giving them backstories from the get-go, and interesting ones at that. Both parents are trying to make ends meet while caring for their kids. There’s the family bakery, the deportation threat (a common theme in several of this year's crop of pilots), the closeted daughter, the loser son, and the long marriage that needs to be reingnited… In short, there's enough fuel here for a great start.
Relatable themes of socioeconomic status and family will help the show resonate with viewers. And then there’s the central love story. On paper, it works quite well, but time will tell whether the show's lead actors have the necessary chemistry to pull it off. As written, the characters themselves are totally charming. Daniel is an unassuming, somewhat bashful, rarely assertive young man -- the total opposite of the latino macho guy that we often see on TV. He's also cute as hell, with a chiseled body that's shown for no reason other than pleasing the thirsty crowd. Noa is also beautiful, with all the traits you’d expect to find in an international superstar: she’s fickle, guarded and at times entitled, but a lot of fun too -- and there’s a warmth to her underneath it all. She has a lot of love to give, she just doesn’t know how.
FINAL RECOMMENDATION: ABC had a long history of being No. 1 with women but they've lost that mantel the last two seasons to NBC. The network is determined to get it back and The Baker and the Beauty may very well be their best bet. It’s an entertaining, at times frivolous romantic comedy on the surface, but it also has a grittier side and some real things to say about the world we share. Is it a hit in the baking? It definitely has potential.
OVERALL PROJECT SCORE:
[ ] PASS
[ ] CONSIDER
BEST FIT: An 8pm slot would be nice, but are any available? Alternatively, a pairing with The Bachelor midseason or The Bachelorette in the summer would make a lot of sense.