Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Fabulous Baker Brothers: Less 'rivalry' and scripted banter, but we'd still eat your pies

There's only one thing more amusing than hearing a posh boy being all cool and trendy and generally just 'on it', and that is two posh boys trying to be.

The Fabulous Baker Brothers - aka ACTUAL brothers Tom and Henry Herbert (one's a baker, the other a chef and a butcher) - have been, like, mixin' it up in their trendy kitchen hang-out every week, making tasty-looking 'grub for the boys' like Eggs Benedict and home-made burgers with 'cheeky little buns', and saying things like: "We're going to put the BITE back into the CREDIT CRUNCH," and "We want you to get more BANG for your BUCK," and the dubious-sounding "You can put anything in A BANGER."

He's talking about sausages.

One (Henry) always wears an army green t-shirt and the other (Tom) always wears a black t-shirt, which, troublingly, always seems to be covered in flour; and each week, as well as the food-cooking in a kitchen that (of course) has exposed brickwork, they sit upon a distressed-leather Chesterfield sofa (on the sofa's arms, mind, not the seat bit) and set each other a challenge in some sort of pie contest, called Pie War, because they are 'rivals'.

The result is lots of clunky banter while they make their own pies, before they each take their efforts to a group of people who vote on which one they prefer. Highlights so far include a group of embarrassed-looking trainee hairdressers, who were probably all on diets and hadn't eaten since Monday; and a bunch of half-asleep students, who didn't fancy any food due to their enormous hangovers. But Henry's dishes are currently winning the contest, 4 to 1: "Catch me if you CAN," baits Henry.

The guys - Tom's the older, shorter, sweeter one, who'd be grateful; while Henry's the younger, cockier one who looks like he'd mess you about but you would totally love it and he knows it - pick up the 'geezer with kitchen know-how' mantle first displayed on tv many years ago by Jamie Oliver. The Herbert brothers throw a public school accent into the mix, meaning that, in Tom and Henry's language, they TURN THE HEAT UP TO ELEVEN.

That's all fine - we all love a simple idea dressed up with 'lifestyle' schtick for tv entertainment purposes - but the difference is that Jamie Oliver never sounded like he was reading from a script. Tom and Henry are clearly nice guys who know their stuff, but they need to be allowed to just be themselves, and become less of a slave to some of the clunky scripting, that shoe-horned in rivalry, or that emphasis on keeping things 'simple' and 'easy' because we're all 'blokes', mate: "The great bit about this is that we're doing it all in the same pan so there's no washing up. Well, one bit of washing up."

A slightly forced-sounding emphasis in their voice-over delivery and sometimes in their pieces to camera should perhaps be abandoned or less scripted until they become better at it; for now just let them get on with the baking. If the show's to return for a second series (which it should do) they need to just be themselves, or get in someone else to narrate.

And as for that supposed rivalry - easy. Get their mother in to preside over proceedings. She'll see there's no cockiness and put an end to that enforced banter and silliness. She could arrange a rota for the washing up, and get those t-shirts cleaned. Anyone who's passed on a tip to their sons about filling an empty tomato tin with water in order to get the most amount of juice out of it and into your dish is probably a force to be reckoned with. And like all of us, she probably secretly favours Henry too.

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