I've watched a lot of cooking and baking competition shows, and it can be argued that it's a concept that's starting to wear down. Does the world need another baking competition show?
Yes. The world needs Nailed It.
Unlike other baking shows, Nailed It doesn't draw its contestants from the best of the best. These bakers are average - at best- in the kitchen, and don't come to the show with the resume or experience to successfully accomplish any of the challenges presented on the show.
But they come anyway. And that's why we watch.
In our culture, the widespread cruelty in cyberbullying and trolling make any person with an ounce of humanity painfully aware that a lot people who end up the butts of jokes never wanted to be. Trends like the "People of Walmart" or body shaming sites take cheap laughs off unwilling victims. It's the type of humor that stems from a person's desire to laugh by feeling superior to the other person. It's dehumanizing and cruel.
However, Nailed It brings out a kind of humor that is difficult to find today. Often, "They're not laughing at you, they're laughing with you," is considered trite and mean-spirited, but on Nailed it, as the contestants replace salt for sugar and bake a chunk of broken spatula into a cake, we laugh, not because we feel superior to the unfortunate bakers, but because they're also laughing, and we see a glimpse of ourselves.
The vast majority of us can't bake a floating teapot cake or a bust of Donald Trump. If you can, you probably remember the early days of your baking attempts and have a special empathy for those who would even try. When we watch these "normal" people take on these incredibly difficult projects, with hilarity ensuing, its not dehumanizing the subject, but celebrating common ground and our shared humanity. On the show, failure isn't a reason to leave the show in tears, it's a reason to smile and say, "I tried, and I learned, and I had fun." While a generous prize goes to the "best" cake, often, that translates to "one that didn't screw up as many times as the others."
The show validates the freedom to fail. A world where people always get things Pinterest-Perfect first try is a fairy tale. We need to remember we can say, "You know, I'll give this a try. And if I mess it up gloriously, oh well, NAILED IT!"
When I still lived at home, once my dad brought me a framed print that said, "Blessed are those who can laugh at ourselves, for we shall never cease to be amused." He told me that it reminded him of me, and that the two of us will always have something to laugh about - ourselves.
The world can be ugly. People say and do terrible, wicked, things to each other. We all need to be aware that the things we say and do can be hurtful to others. We need to approach people in love.
But we also need to remember that not everything in life needs to be taken seriously. We need to try new things, and laugh when we fail. When we let others laugh with us and invite them to look into a situation for the ridiculous, the ironic, and the hilarious, we remember that God gave humanity a sense of humor as a gift. It's not always just someone having a laugh at our expense. We can also look at our goofs and imperfections as a way to give the gift of laughter to another person, and just be as human as we can be together.