Queue: Best of British
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Despite the current golden era of television, it’s nice to take a departure from our country’s programming. A peek across the pond reveals a rich comedy culture in the United Kingdom, and provides a convenient Brexit, from the usual American hits.
The Great British Baking Show: 5/5
PBS insists on calling “Bake Off” by a less catchy name, but even that can’t take away from the greatest reality television program ever conceived. That’s right, “Jersey Shore” and “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” can suck custard, because they will never hold a whisk to Britain’s Olympics of baking. Judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry (the most British person to ever exist, and enemy of soggy bottoms) are joined by hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc to put 12 amateur bakers to the ultimate test. Each episode consists of three bakes: in the first, they make a “signature” bake, showing their personal flair; the second is the “technical challenge,” where they must bake a surprise dish perfectly with only limited instructions; and finally, the “showstopper,” where they pull out every stop to impress in both presentation and taste of their baked bonanzas. Season six stands out due to the creativity the competitors bring, conjuring up lions made of bread, functional wells made of chocolate and fondant cola cans levitating above cake, suspended by cascading Italian meringue. “Bake Off” is simply the best, and the contestants’ endearing British sensibilities leaves viewers hungry for more. Oh, and there’s no cash prize. They just really love baking.
Katherine Ryan In Trouble: 4.5 /5
Rising star of the U.K. standup scene, and host of Channel 4’s new show “How Did You Get So Rich,” Katherine Ryan’s Netflix special is one of the best the streaming site has produced to date. Ryan’s charm mixed with her biting humor prove that Canadians are fully capable of being adorably antagonistic. Her North American accent and British slang are an odd mix that only contributes to her work. As a pop-culture fanatic, Ryan goes after Taylor Swift, Bill Cosby and Cheryl Cole (who did, in fact, commit a hate crime) without hesitation. She also touches on her life as a single parent, her human-bear hybrid of a sister and why she can never go to the Philippines. Ryan’s masterful storytelling and carefully interconnected set makes her a comedian to watch. She will without a doubt start infiltrating American media as London’s sharpest Canuck.
The Big Fat Quiz Show: 4/5
Bending the time-honored, completely fabricated rules of The Queue to spread the news of one of the U.K.’s favorite televised traditions seems worth it. Every episode of Channel 4’s “Big Fat Quiz Show” is available on YouTube in full. Big Fat Quiz is like trivia night at Dat Dog, but instead of your drunk friends, it pairs comedians who compete to answer all of host-slash-funnyman Jimmy Carr’s questions. Quizzes take a look back on the year, a specific decade or everything. Russell Brand, Chelsea Peretti, Richard Ayoade, Jack Whitehall and Noel Fielding are all regulars of the program, and their refusal to take the quiz seriously in any capacity makes it all the better. The quiz is more of a guise for seven all-star comedians to insult, horrify and throw things at each other. As the posh might say, it’s “such fun.”