In which I lament the loss of the great loves of my television life, Mel and Sue.
Everything bad happens on a Tuesday.
It was not quite a year ago that I discovered the Great British Bake Off on Netflix (called here in the U.S. the Great British Baking Show, for some bizarre reason, which still annoys me). Like all of Great Britain, I was immediately entranced by the music, the judges, the bakers, the hosts, and the beautiful white tent that came eventually to represent my hopes and dreams. (Not really, but didn't that sound good?)
The show is magic to me.
Now, in the interest of being completely honest, I do have a bit of a tendency to get overly attached to certain television shows AND hosts. I still haven't, for instance, watched any of the episodes from Letterman's last week at The Late Show because I fear it would be too traumatic for me, and I haven't watched a single Colbert Late Show episode because I'm still pouting a year and a half later. Instead, I simply purchased an official Late Show t-shirt on Ebay and wear it way too often--should-we-bury-her-in-this-because-she-must-have-really-loved-it often. I have nothing against Stephen Colbert, but he's committed the crime of not being David Letterman, which means that he can go stick his thumb up his arse, as far as I'm concerned.
I was similarly traumatized when The X-Files ended and then, a few years later, when Gilmore Girls ended after losing its creator and co-writers for its last season, which suuuuuuuuuuuucked, by the way. Season 7 was SO BAD. Watching it became an exercise in anger management and wondering what in the hell happened to Rory that she suddenly talked completely differently and became obsessed with overly shiny lip gloss. WE GET IT, RORY--YOU WEAR LOTS OF LIP GLOSS NOW.
However, I was ECSTATIC this year when X-Files came back. X-FILES CAME BACK!! And it was sublime. THEN, they announced that Gilmore Girls was coming back! I mean, COME ON. And, all mixed up in this gorgeous television revival was my new passion for Bake Off. How could a TV year get any better?
It can't--and, of course, we learn that it can't on a Tuesday. Tuesday is a son of a bitch.
As I've mentioned previously, I was laid off from my full-time job back in March (on a Wednesday--I never said Wednesday was perfect), and, before that, because I didn't particularly like my full-time job, I was incredibly bored and in need of joy. But a little Bake Off seed had been planted and I used my love of learning about baking (bread-making, in particular) from Paul Hollywood and my love of trying to overcome a challenge (I have lots of baking-related challenges) to start this blog and to begin the process of baking my way through Paul Hollywood's How to Bake first and then through all of the Bake Off cookbooks (because they're gorgeous and fun and directly related to the show of magic). And these tasks and these cookbooks and this show and the judges and the hosts, in particular, saved me.
Saved me from depression? No. Saved me from low self-esteem? No. (I don't suffer from low self-esteem, and neither should you.) Saved me from boredom? YES. I wouldn't have been depressed about losing a terrible job, but I honestly don't know how I would have filled my time. A person can take only so many morning-hair selfies to amuse herself and her husband before she realizes that she's mind-numbingly bored, and boredom is my mortal enemy. Boredom equals death of hope, death of creativity, death of joy. We must all avoid boredom.
I haven't blogged in a couple of months because jobs searches AND job applications AND job interviews AND onboarding to new jobs is extremely time-consuming. But I've still baked and taken pictures of my bakes so that I can blog when I once again have time to do so. The hope is still there. The fun is still there. The joy is still there. It's humming comfortably in the background of my mind, even as the front of my brain is filled with thoughts like, "I NEED CHEESE AND CRACKERS NOW." (The front of my brain is not smart.)
We learned in the last 24 hours or so, first, that Bake Off was moving from BBC to Channel 4 in Great Britain and, second, that the show's remarkable, lovely, kind, incredibly smart and funny hosts, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, would be leaving the show, as they apparently had no interest in leaving the BBC. (And I don't blame them.)
A year ago, I hadn't heard of the show and would have had no reaction to seeing this news on my FB feed. Today, I'm devastated. (Well, TV devastated, not somebody-died devastated. I'm not a psychopath.) You know how a few TV shows, just like any other entertainment form, are magical? This is one of those shows. There have been many articles written about why and how the show works so beautifully, and I can't add anything of worth to that conversation except to say that it showcases the best qualities people had to offer and did so in a sublimely fun and funny and pleasant way. It's perfection on a screen. A HUGE, immeasurable part of that perfection is the chemistry and work of Mel and Sue. They do all of the voiceover work and comfort the bakers (and help the bakers!) and lend structure and great humor to a process that isn't necessarily automatically interesting. They (and Mary and Paul) make it interesting and engaging and thoroughly, purely lovely.
Knowing that I'm about to lose something that I just found, for God's sake, I am so, so disappointed. Because, without Mel and Sue, Bake Off isn't Bake Off. It NEEDS all four of those people (Mary, Paul, Mel, and Sue) to continue to work. Just like I learned from Letterman how to talk to and ask questions of people and how to time silly jokes, I've learned from Mel and Sue how to bring out the best in people in stressful situations and how to be completely gracious in the process. (I haven't achieved this level of graciousness, you understand, but I HAVE learned from them. If I'd achieved this level of graciousness already, I probably wouldn't have said "yadda, yadda, yadda" in response to a question during one of my job interviews.)
So, I'm sad.
Sue would likely say, "It's just a show about CAKE, for goodness sake!" And I would say, "I KNOW! And that's why I'm sad."