I Am Watching Football: 2021 NFL Week 4; Bake Off Week 2

If there’s one thing the NFL loves it’s dramaaa, and boy did they think they had some of that in store for us this week. The return of New England’s golden… 44 year old man Tom Brady to his old stadium, with a new team.

A+ trolling, NBC.

I’d’ve been happy if it were somehow possible for both these teams to have lost (exactly the sort of realistic expectation I’m usually pinning my hopes on) but alas, someone had to be crowned victorious in the not-at-all contrived Brady v Belichick saga. I admit it’s got all the elements of an Oscar season prestige drama, (and oh god, it’s going to be one someday, isn’t it?), and Belichick is perfectly cast, a blank slate of scowling on which any emotion (on a scale of apathetic to disappointed dad) or storyline can be projected, but I, and the rest of the country, have suffered far too long being endlessly subjected to the ups and downs of these personalities. I just don’t care anymore. The game was boring until the end too, bad weather and injured players forcing a far less explosive outing than NBC had clearly hoped for. Mostly we just got Chris Collinsworth fawning over Mac Jones for his ability to throw a checkdown. Did you know he had a 4.0 GPA in school?

Obligatory Sports Talk

But hey, at least we got this:

Steve, son of Bill, had a similar reaction to many of us watching this game Sunday night. As fun as this is to laugh about, I do feel for the guy. The higher level coaching staff have cameras on them at all times, ready to cut you in as soon as you display any sort of noteworthy reaction. This is probably how the elder Bill has perfected his nondescript stone face, both coach and performer. Steve clearly still lacks this self-consciousness, letting the game show on his face, when what he needs is a game face. And a haircut.

The Bills continued their streak of winning against teams that are not very good and/or missing key players. Sunday night’s game against Kansas City will be the true test, both a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game and litmus test for the prospects of the team through the rest of the season. I’m excited to have the Bills in primetime, but otherwise nervous about this game.

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I’m going to be lazy and turn this section over to SNL for this week, which not only returned in surprisingly assured form given the unwieldly size of the cast, but both beat me to the punch and did a far better job of deconstructing announcers being made to read network ad copy (not that it’s an original premise to begin with) than I would have:

The new guy is a young Darrell Hammond who has somehow time traveled to the present and you can’t convince me otherwise.

A Dream I Had the Other Night

We come full circle here this week, as last night I literally dreamed that I was watching football, trying to take notes, and stressing about not having a dream for this week.

Can’t Stop. Won’t Stop.

GameStop ($GME) price as of writing: $171.07

What Else Am I Watching?

Well two weeks into Bake Off and it already appears this is primarily a showdown between the most Italian man in existence (including Italians actually in Italy) and the most German. Jürgen took home his second Star Baker in as many weeks following a series of near-flawless bakes. I’ll be surprised if he puts in a single performance that isn’t worthy of the top spot, even if they have to start spreading it around arbitrarily on weeks where the competition is closer. In theory, the judges are supposed to select the winner/loser each week based purely off of that week’s performance, if they stay true to that ethos this week may be the closest Giuseppe or anyone else gets to dethroning him.

It was biscuit week, another early season standard (bread will likely be next week, get hype). The Signature, brandy snaps, served mostly to establish the emerging trends, the strengths and weaknesses of the bakers either in flavour or presentation (or just being good at everything as in the case of those already mentioned). Jairzeno’s issues with time and decoration reared their head again from last week, and would continue to plague him through the episode. The Technical this week was actually one I’m very familiar with and was extremely pleased to see on the show, jammy biscuits. In my childhood trips to England these were a staple, and it’s always fun to see the bakers tackle bakes traditionally viewed as mass-manufactured supermarket fare. This challenge had the interesting element of needing to imprint a pattern onto the biscuits which would melt and lose its definition in the oven if the dough was not chilled first. Only four bakers managed to nail this step: Jürgen and Giuseppe (predictably) along with Freya and Amanda. As a result they took the top four spots in placement, and I’m calling it right now, at least three of them will be going all the way. Both Freya and Amanda have had some shakier performances, so I could see potentially one of them being knocked out on an off week somewhere along the way, but Giuseppe and Jürgen are powerhouses, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a clear distinction this early on in the show.

This week’s Showstopper again involved more engineering than elegance, allowing some, such as George, to skate through on novel elements that would otherwise have been scoffed at for their sloppy decoration. His plane looked a bit of a mess, but it did fly. Jürgen is of a type that there’s always at least one of in a season, the scientific baker (he is a physicist), and they have a tendency to go far, served especially well by these sorts of challenges. It will be interesting to see if he can hold his own with challenges that are more artful in their aims than simply having to stand up.

The tent is still crowded, background players could yet move to the forefront, the leaders could stumble, only time, and copious amounts of gingham, will tell.


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