When in Quarantine, what else is there to do but binge watch? My latest find: Amazon Prime's Israeli-produced 'Baker and the Beauty,' an international Hallmark style dramedy about gorgeous working class dude, Amos, and his hot uptown supermodel girlfriend, Noa.
I encountered 'Baker and the Beauty' after burning through my Hallmark rom com stash. I LOOOVE 90s romcoms and the feel good comfort of Hallmark winter flicks. All the same, finding rom coms that are well-written, well-produced, contemporary, diverse, AND realistic while maintaining that underlying chick flick gloss is ... difficult but 'Baker and the Beauty' has it in spades, with a gender-swapped cinderella plotline.
So why do I recommend you binge watch this addictively smart show?
ROM COM AWESOMENESS
It isn't cool to like rom coms, I know. But we all need visual comfort food nowadays. 'Baker and the Beauty' warms your soul without reducing your IQ. It has high quality production values, amazing acting talent, well-written scripts and realistic scenarios. It does a good job as a modern rom com without falling into any of the stereotypical candy coated plotlines of makeover montages, clumsy/air-headed female leads, or idyllic unrealistic small towns. Amos has a close family but not stereotypically over the top. He's naive when entering Noa's uptown world, but not insanely clueless. Although Noa rocks amazing outfits, the first season avoids clothing change cliches.
I hate Hallmark films that showcase a cardboard lead connection, hire an actress as a model/singer/dancer who clearly lacks a dance/singing background or even worse, cast an unattractive male actor while convincing us he's hotter than Henry Caville in a white wig. Luckily, B&B eschews all that. Avraham Aviv Alush (Amos) is fucking gorgeous with a killer body. And Rotem Sela (Noa) has It Girl quality in spades. She looks like a model, has the build of a model and clearly rocks the Tel Aviv high life all night long. Together, their chemistry is believably explosive. Hila Saada (Vanessa), as Amos' ex, channels Nicolette Sheridan a la 'Desperate Housewives'. She chews every single scene with a knife and fork. The character's SO BAD for Amos but SO GOOD for the show.
NONE of the characters hit the expected stereotypes. Initially, Amos' ex, Vanessa, appears as the stereotypical golddigger. But, as the show continues her character grows texture. Although teetering towards batshit obsessive, her loyalty remains understandable considering she wants to maintain the life she envisioned after almost a decade with the man she loved.
The show is surprisingly liberal. The casting of Russian/Israeli/Spanish/American characters acknowledges the ongoing globalism in our world. After Vanessa makes a not-so-subtle comment (that most shows would've laughed off as 'oh that funny racist character'), Amos' brother explodes that he's tired of such racism. Finally, between Amos' little sister uncovering her lesbianism, Noa's agent nonchalantly describing his male partner, and the anger of their neighbor at Amos' parents hesitance in supporting their daughter, I hoped this show would jump the pond. I don't recall any unnecessary female nudity (or female nudity at all). However, S2 treats us to one beautiful long shot of Amos' backside while S1 has numerous non-extraneous shots of his abtascular biceps. Plus, NONE of the women passively waited for the men to propose.
I don't want to give anything away. But, I found the chemistry so addictively believable, I spent an entire weekend watching season 1 back to back. The first season portrays the difficulty of separate classes / work lives without undermining the romance. It also shows the temptation surrounding Amos' family when faced with Noa's superstardom. In the pilot, I thought Noa and Amos' little brother should get together and season two plays with that to soapier extremes.
So, yea I loved it and will watch the American counterpart. But please watch the orginal, just because I want other people to proclaim its awesomeness as much as I do.