20 of the most relaxing reality TV shows to watch right now

14 of 21

8. Nailed It

Baking competition shows are predicated on the idea that contestant are, you know, good at what they do. Of course, there are plenty of variations on what is considered “good”, with a wide array of opinions from judges, bakers, and viewers alike. Still, the idea is that people featured on such a show are trying their very hardest, with clear results for their work.

Nailed It!, the ultra-popular Netflix show that premiered just this year, turns that entire concept on its head. Instead of recruiting professional bakers or pastry artists, the show draws on the ranks of everyday cooks who just can’t seem to get it together.

The mere fact that everyone is going in with rock-bottom expectations is relaxing enough. It’s hard to get all stressed out when the stakes involve a succession of lumpy cakes and the chance to wear a bedazzled chef’s hat in the second round. Sure, there’s money to be had, too, in the form of a $10,000 prize, but it rarely feels like the focus of the show.

The whole concept is made even better by the judges on the show. The entire affair is ostensibly headed by Nicole Byers, a comedian with so much energy and hard-left humorous turns that you can’t help but laugh at her goofiness. She’s joined by for-real professional pastry chef Jacques Torres. Seriously, Torres is so renowned for his work as a chocolatier that he’s become known as “Mr. Chocolate”. Yet, even with all of the accolades and experience, he’s as delightfully down to earth as Byers. The two are then joined by a guest judge, who changes from episode to episode.

On Nailed It!, three contestants must make their way through two challenges. In the first, “Baker’s Choice”, they must pick one of three confections and reproduce it. The second challenge, “Nail It or Fail It”, demands that the budding chefs recreate a large cake or confection in just two hours. All three get a “panic button” in this challenge, which allows them to get three minutes of assistance from one of the judges.

The baker who placed last in the previous round gets a special second button, which allows them to sabotage the other bakers. The sabotage varies and can include Byers’ attempts to annoy the other contestants, Jacques distracting them by speaking in French, and the classic “freeze” ploy, which forbids other contestants from moving.