Now, I've been down on "quarantine content" in the past, mostly because I love escapism in my television shows. And when the real world has gone absolutely sideways, that's the last thing I want to do is turn on my television and see more of the same depressing shit. That said, I also love relaxing reality programs that are very rooted in the real world, like The Great British Bake Off (or The Great British Baking Show if you're watching on Netflix). Watching everyone trapped in little video chat boxes has just gotten a little depressing for me, so I'm super glad that they were able to safely bubble and salvage 2020's competition.
Now, they could have just ignored the whole pandemic and not brought it up – I mean, it's not like we have to be reminded of it every two seconds, especially in a baking show, but they didn't. And the show is actually better off for them being upfront about it; it shows us we're not alone in this and that we can resume some form of life instead of being forever trapped in our own little blocks all contained in screens. It also shows us how we can safely resume our lives post-quarantine and that not everything is awful and we can get on with things. However, with life resuming, we also have to make concessions for the pandemic and realize that things can't be exactly the way they were before. There's no going back, only forward.
And The Great British Bake Off moves forward brilliantly. Right from the start, it tells us this year is different – it doesn't beat you over the head with all the precautions or keep pointing out that things aren't how they used to be because of COVID-19, but it doesn't try to hide the elephant in the tent. It acknowledges life has changed, mentions what they've done to keep contestants and crew safe, and then gets on with it.
It may seem silly to you that people are willing to go back to work for and I made such a big deal of "a dumb little baking show on the telly", but for me, it's a sign – like the olive branch brought back to the ark – that brighter days are around the corner and hope is on the horizon. And that's exactly the kind of uplifting program we need right now. I can only hope that as more productions come back, they take a tip or two from the tent and keep things uplifting, hopeful, and sweet.