Viewers Aren't Amused by Baking Show's 'Mexico Week'

UK audience points out stereotypes
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2022 6:50 PM CDT
Viewers Aren't Amused by Baking Show's 'Mexico Week'
The program produced an inauthentic tres leches, a professor said.   (Getty/Irina Taskova)

The Great British Bake Off could have researched traditional Mexican baking and the differences between favorites such as pastes Hidalguenses and pastes (cakes) in Britain. But that's not what happened during the program's "Mexico Week" episode that aired Tuesday in the UK, a professor of Mexican cultural studies tells NPR. "Instead, they have incensed Mexicans, because once again a major global outlet insults us by reiterating stereotypes and reductions against which we fight," said Ignacio M. Sanchez Prado of Washington University in St. Louis. Many viewers posted online that they found the show offensive, the outlet notes.

The episode opened with two hosts in sombreros and sarapes, saying they thought Mexican jokes they might make would make people upset. They then made one conflating the proper noun "Juan" with the common noun "one," a bit the show found so funny it was repeated on the official Twitter page. That launched the criticism on social media. "I had a moment where I wanted to watch this episode just to see how bad it was," one tweet read. "That moment has passed." Another tweet showed the hosts in blackface in the past, which one of them has apologized for, per KNBC. It's more of the same, Sanchez Prado said, starting with "the use of cartoonish sarapes and sombreros."

Included was a mustache on a cake, the playing of maracas, mispronunciations of Spanish words, and talk of tequila. Some posts accused the show of "butchering" tacos, which people pointed out isn't even baking, per the Independent. Such characterizations resurface each year around Cinco de Mayo and Hispanic Heritage Month, said Sanchez Prado, who didn't recognize the show's version of tres leches. The program hasn't yet aired in the US, where it's called the Great British Baking Show, per Delish. One post this week pointed out to producers what might have been. "You could have honored an amazing culture instead of stupid racist jokes and tropes," it said, per the Independent. (Read more Great British Baking Show stories.)

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