Buddy Valastro and Duff Goldman, who compete towards one another on Buddy vs. Duff. (Picture by Meals Community)
The year-old merger between Discovery and Scripps has opened up prospects that hadn’t existed earlier than, as individuals who as soon as have been on competing networks are actually a part of the identical company household. So the community and/or productions can group them up, which labored exceptionally effectively with Whereas You Have been Out, a present that brings collectively personalities/”designers” from HGTV reveals and TLC’s Buying and selling Areas.
Buddy vs Duff, not a lot. It pairs Meals Community Ace of Desserts Duff Goldman and TLC’s Cake Boss Buddy Valastro “in an epic baking battle for the prospect to be topped the undisputed king of cake,” in line with Meals Community.
However it’s extra flimsy than epic. And so they’re each shedding.
Oh, technically, going into Sunday’s finale, they’re tied. (The finale airs at 9 p.m. ET; earlier than that, beginning at four, Meals Community will repeat the whole collection.) The judges have awarded factors throughout the earlier 5 episodes, and coincidences of all coincidences, surprises of all surprises: they’re precisely tied proper earlier than the finale. They simply have to be equals!
That’s how the present is framed. It’s a contest between two former rivals: In 2006, Meals Community launched Duff’s present, and within the wake of its success, TLC created Buddy’s present. Since then, Buddy had extra spin-offs, and Duff has just lately been a choose and/or competitor on Meals Community reveals.
There’s one thing odd about having them come collectively by making an attempt to show which one in all them is the very best, as a result of the place does that depart the opposite one? It’s not that shedding is an issue—Alex Guarnaschelli has competed many instances and her losses don’t undercut her credibility, partially as a result of there’s no enormous weight positioned on her win or loss. If she beats Bobby Flay, superior; if not, okay! Additionally she’s Alex Guarnaschelli and she or he is simply superb.
Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, Iron Chef and Chopped choose (Picture by Kevin Lynch/Meals Community)
A buffet of actuality TV kinds
The primary episode of Buddy vs. Duff felt like that nightmare the place you present up on the primary day of manufacturing of a actuality TV competitors between pastry cooks having forgotten to do any pre-production, so that you simply begin to make it up as you go alongside.
It’s a hodgepodge of kinds and codecs, a buffet of various cuisines, none of which go effectively collectively and all of which really feel like they’ve simply been microwaved.
Certain, there’s a construction: a mini-challenge, which takes them outdoors their consolation zones (donuts, pies) after which a cake-off problem the place they should create a themed cake for an occasion.
Most episodes, Buddy and his assistant Ralph have created an enormous, personality-filled cake, and Duff and his assistant Geof have created a meticulously detailed cake. (They’re great-looking muffins.)
The scoring of the very first cake-off, which gave the win to Duff, led to a fourth wall-breaking second as Buddy walked off digicam, and may very well be seen within the background, arguing with the present’s govt producer.
Though this was maybe essentially the most attention-grabbing second in the whole present thus far, it was left unresolved. Was he simply mad as a result of he’s an enormous child? Did he not perceive how the competitors would work? Did he count on one thing else, like a predetermined end result?
The remainder of the present has been as bizarre. They’re at areas, however often with out a clear cause. There’s an unseen narrator, however generally Buddy or Duff additionally narrates. Typically they do internet hosting work, too; generally the judges host; generally the narrator fills in the place a number would often clarify one thing.
There was one choose, Sherry Yard, most just lately of The Nice American Baking Present, after which out of the blue there was additionally Keegan Gerhard, as if somebody on the community had mentioned, We’d like one other choose! and so they acquired him out of Meals Community storage.
Typically there’s additionally a visitor choose, an individual who doesn’t truly give scores however sticks round to present suggestions and, , choose.
The judges watch Buddy and Duff whereas they work (besides once they don’t), and decide aside all of their selections. That’s wonderful on Chopped, however right here simply appears to undermine their authority, even once they make selections that prove to work very well. After spending a number of minutes of shitting on Duff for chopping off his pie crust, the judges lastly tasted it, and so they have been like, Oh, it’s nice after which moved on.
The judging is predicated on a scoring system, and as a lot as I like the concept of actuality competitions having goal evaluations, it’s barely coherent, partially as a result of there are by no means clearly outlined guidelines for the precise challenges.
With Buddy and Duff separated by some extent or two in most classes, it’s ineffective as a device for understanding what’s occurring. And the tie simply makes all of it appear to be full bullshit.
Buddy vs. Duff isn’t doing something to construct belief or confidence in both of them as consultants, neither is it working additional time to heat Meals Community’s viewers to Buddy, who’s cocky and abrasive and has clearly made that work for him.
Largely, it doesn’t appear to be they’re having any enjoyable.
These aren’t two Chopped judges competing towards one another and having a ball. As a substitute, Buddy and Duff appear to be kids introduced collectively by their dad and mom’ marriage who are actually pressured to share the identical king-size mattress, and that’s left them each feeling awkward and annoyed.
Additionally, whereas that they had related reveals on completely different networks, have been they actually ever rivals? A showdown between long-time pals and even enemies would have some weight; Buddy vs. Duff feels prefer it’s simply assuming all of us cared quite a bit about discovering which one in all them was higher, and I can’t say I ever even thought that.
Duff advised TV Insider they’d solely met as soon as earlier than this present, and Buddy advised Delish that “all through the filming of the present and stuff, we grew to become good pals.” Watching that friendship develop would have been good to see, however the edit has to maintain the “versus” within the title alive, so there hasn’t been any camraderie.
Each Buddy and Duff have new reveals premiering on Meals Community quickly, which is sensible besides this competitors isn’t an awesome introduction. Certain, they each do nice work, but it surely’s not warming us to both of them. Their dad and mom actually ought to have achieved a greater job of introducing them to the remainder of the household earlier than sending them out to play.