If you’ve ever watched a baking competition show, you’ll understand how soul-crushing it is to develop an emotional connection with your favorite contestant. When the judges tear them apart for hastily icing a cake before allowing it to cool off, it feels like a personal attack on you, too. Fortunately, Netflix’s original series, Nailed It! celebrates failure. Each episode, three really amateur bakers face off to recreate ridiculous baked goods. When the baker you’re rooting for creates a spongecake structure that collapses before judging, you can laugh it off instead of feel your heart rate quickly kick into the fat-burning zone.
In the absolute best-case scenario, Nailed It! contestants present the judges with a heaping mess of icing, served with a side of a beautifully sculpted, surprisingly inspirational excuses. Here are some of the most successful failures that have been pulled off on Nailed It! and its brand new holiday special, Nailed It! Holiday!
Stream ‘Nailed It! Holiday!’
Never Compare Your Beginning to Someone Else’s Middle
When asked to create a layered rainbow unicorn cake, contestant Nicole (not to be confused with the host, our queen Nicole Byer) had a bit of trouble with the concept of… creating a layered rainbow unicorn cake. Instead, she underbaked a very flat, squishy pastry, but she had a pretty solid excuse.
“As you can see, this is a baby unicorn that is just hatching. And that’s why it hasn’t grown up yet.”
The takeaway? We are all simply at different phases of life. Absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, the cake tasted terrible, and was described as a little dry, but “not even cooked” by the judges.
Fairytale Endings are Overrated
Honestly, for how things typically go on Nailed It!, this attempt at a Rapunzel cake is pretty damn good. But, if we’re going to be picky here, you may have noticed that the knight in shining armor is a little lackluster. Contestant Kevin had a groundbreaking explanation, though.
“I’m giving you the suggestion of a knight in shining armor, because she don’t need a man. She good!”
Life Imitates Art
Aw, we love a crossover! Nailed It! season two includes a bonus episode with the cast of Queer Eye! The Fab Five competed against each other to create cupcakes inspired by their cast mates. (Except for Antoni… because his avocado toast making skills would have given him a leg up. He was a judge.) Karamo’s Bobby cupcake tipped over just before judging, but in his typical life coach style, he had the perfect response.
“When life crushes you, you have to build yourself back up. And you might not look how you used to look, but guess what? Damn it, you’re still here.”
Because Karamo’s endless stream of inspiration is more contagious than pink eye, even Nicole hopped on the motivation train and said, “I think… this is a Picasso. Picasso put ears where feet should be. This is art deco! This is revolutionary! I’m here for it!”
There is Beauty in Everything
Anabell, a fashion lover and season one Nailed It! contestant didn’t let her assignment to create a Donald Trump cake stop her from turning out some lewks. She took it as an opportunity to turn Trump into a baby in a silk, Italian suit, which was… a choice. Anabell described her creation as “a young version of Mr. President. Baby Trump.” TBH, I don’t think this is “inspirational,” per se, but it is a prime example of turning a shitty situation into something… different?
Together is a Beautiful Place to Be
Nailed It! Holiday! starts out with an inspirational excuse bang when Angie puts some big ol’ sticks in her Santa Claus cake and calls it a day. Chef Jacques asks her what the hell is happening to the back of her cake, and she says “It’s like… excitement, really. I mean… it’s structural. It’s what’s keeping us together right now.”
Love is Love and Cake is Cake
The second episode of the special holiday season presents one of the most difficult baking challenges yet. Contestants must create an edible ski scene, complete with cute baby penguins. When the cake is cut into, the inside needs to be PLAID. Have you ever even seen a plaid cake before? I mean, these people are just being set right up for failure. Anyway, Brian’s winter resort featured some mystery blue clumps, but it turns out they were a very intentional part of his artistic vision.
“Those are clouds! Those are clouds around the mountain. This guy at the top claimed the mountain on behalf of the gays,” he explained.
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