ABC’s newest romantic dramedy, “The Baker and the Beauty,” was originally an Israeli comedy (with the reverse title) that ran for two seasons before being adapted to American television. Producers decided this new series would take a more telenovela-dramedy style spin. The setting was transformed from Tel Aviv to Miami for American audiences.
The series focuses on Daniel Garcia (Victor Rasuk), a baker working in his Cuban-American family’s business, Rafael’s Bakery, in Little Havana. His parents expect him and his brother, Mateo (David Del Rio) to take over the business in the future, but both sons have other plans. Mateo dreams of being a world-renowned DJ while little sister Natalie (Belissa Escobedo) is still in high school and trying to find her own identity.
The pilot episode centers around Daniel’s fourth anniversary with his girlfriend, Vanessa (Michelle Veintimilla). At a restaurant, Daniel steps away to the bathroom, where he debates breaking up with Vanessa. During his monologue, a celebrity steps out of a stall. Daniel, of course, doesn’t seem to recognize her.
Noa Hamilton (Nathalie Kelley) is a supermodel and entrepreneur with an ambiguous accent. She just went through a breakup after her long-term actor boyfriend cheated on her. Noa gives Daniel some sage advice then disappears. It’s clear Daniel and Vanessa’s relationship has some red flags, but Vanessa gets down on one knee to propose at dinner. When things sour, Daniel walks home alone and is picked up by none other than the it-girl he just encountered.
The night takes them on a wild, carefree adventure. Noa finds it refreshing that Daniel doesn’t seem to know her past, and Daniel learns to be adventurous with her. This is just the start of their whirlwind relationship.
It doesn’t take long for Daniel to get caught up in Noa’s celebrity. She naturally pulls him away from his tight-knit family and responsibilities, and his parents worry he’ll get hurt. Meanwhile, Noa’s manager is appalled that his client would be rubbing noses with a working-class man, who doesn’t understand the glitz and glamour of her lifestyle. And the whole time, their exes are fighting to get back in their good graces.
This show has been heavily advertised by ABC as a romantic comedy, but a few episodes in, there has yet to be one humorous line. The writing and acting has been sub par and so far, every plot device has been predictable. With the later-than-primetime slot, I expected the romance to at least be a little hot and heavy, but alas, it seems the network’s restrictions still hold true past 8 p.m.
It’s clear that ABC tried to ride the wave of “The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart” by premiering the pilot episodes consecutively a few weeks ago, but in my opinion both shows lacked any major appeal. Aside from Daniel’s roots as a humble baker, not much of “The Baker and the Beauty” is relatable to the masses. Noa’s claim to fame is thus far pretty unclear, and the fact that Daniel has no idea who his sister’s favorite celebrity is seems like a stretch. You’d have to live under a rock not to recognize someone with Kardashian-like acclaim, and his Miami bakery seems like it has a decent internet connection.
While their romance is certainly sweet, as Noa and Daniel bring out the best in each other and form an unlikely connection while exploring sun-kissed beaches and exciting nightclubs, the chemistry isn’t there. Both actors are certainly very attractive, but I don’t feel much of a connection to their first major roles. As for brother Mateo, it’s difficult to distance David Del Rio from his Nickelodeon/Disney Channel beginnings.
I do like the telenovela-esque quality of the show so far. Now that other popular series like “Jane The Virgin” have come to an end, I appreciate what ABC was trying to do by filling that void, but the show generally misses the mark for me. Since so many primetime American shows have been adapted from telenovelas, it’s refreshing to see this show adapted from an Israeli concept. If you’re interested in watching the original “Beauty and the Baker” series to see if this American version does it justice, both seasons are available on Amazon Prime.
All in all, it’s a light, fun show that lacks any real meat, but hey, do you have anything better to watch in quarantine? “The Baker and the Beauty” airs on ABC at 10 p.m. EST/ 9 p.m. C.
Julia Mancini is the life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at Julia.email@example.com.