A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Cake Boss: Next Great Baker involves minor swearing, some raised voices and yelling between contestants, and moments of stress, but is otherwise a rather mild reality competition. There is little questionable content in the show -- that is, unless your kids are on a sugar-free diet. In that case, the show is definitely not for them. Culinary-minded kids will enjoy the wild, imaginative cakes and the secrets behind butter cream, fondant, and other cake decorating ingredients.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In this spin-off of Buddy Valastro's first series Cake Boss, 10 pastry chefs compete for the opportunity to work at Valastro's Hoboken, NJ, bakery and win $50,000. Contestents compete in challenges in a manner similar to Top Chef: Just Desserts, but CAKE BOSS: NEXT GREAT BAKER employs a greater element of showmanship with its emphasis on over-the-top decorating techniques.
Is it any good?
While most reality shows go for the jugular, this one goes more for the belly. Audiences will likely be salivating over the yummy looking cakes. But while there's plenty of high temperature baking going on, the show ulitmately has little fire. Then again, this may not be a serious fault. True, there are few shocking moments in the show, but there is something for everyone in the family. From clever decorating tips (use rice cereal treats for sculpting cake elements) to the use of pyrotechnics (one contestant fills his cakes with confetti, smoke, and even dynamite), every member of the family may have to scratch a baking itch after each episode ends.
Of course, what sets the show apart is the force of Valastro's personality, as well as the personalities of the contestants, and personalities certainly abound. There's also a nice representation of diversity, too, with pastry chefs from a variety of backgrounds. But the formula of the show -- where contestants have to quit their jobs or leave their successful businesses to compete on this show -- makes little sense given the relatively small payout. The only logical answer is that contestants are hoping to capitalize on the show's publicity, which may or may not ultimately pan out.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about playing fair. What is sabotage? Why do reality show contestants sometimes use sabotage to try to win? Do you think that using sabotage techniques is a successful way to win a reality show? How common is sabotage in the real world? Do you think contestants are encouraged to be nasty on reality shows to boost ratings?
Why are these pastry chefs participating in the show? Since several of the bakers on the show have other primary careers, including electrical engineer and teacher, why do you think they quit their jobs to be on this reality show? Would you quit your job to participate on a reality show? Why or why not?
How do the pastry chefs use their imaginations? How do you think that being on a time limit and on camera, limits or enhances one's imagination? How do you think your imagination would function in a situation such as this?
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