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Series / Nailed It!

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Nailed It! is a reality TV competition by Netflix hosted by comedian Nicole Byer and judged by pastry chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres.

In the show, amateur bakers have to replicate grandiose and complex works of baking done by professionals despite sucking at it. The competition is divided in two challenges: "Baker's Choice", in which each contestant must recreate a different dessert of some sort with a theme and "Nail It or Fail It", which has the contestants trying to recreate a grandiose cake full of details. A grand prize of $10,000 and a trophy are awarded each episode to the baker that comes the closest to recreating the cakes.

The first season was released on March 9, 2018. A second season was released in June 29, 2018, followed by a special holiday season in December 2018, season three in May, 2019, and a second holiday season in November 2019. Season 4 was released in April 2020. The fifth season which is entitled Double Trouble (where teams of two compete) released in March 2021.

Several spinoffs have come out, and are available on US Netflix with subtitles:

  • ¡Nailed it! México (2019)
  • ¡Niquelao!note  (aka Nailed It! Spain, 2019)
  • C'est du Gâteau!note  (aka Nailed It! France, 2019)
  • Wer Kann, Der Kann!note  (aka Nailed It! Germany, 2020)

Another spinoff, The Big Nailed! It Baking Challenge in which a group of 10 amateur bakers compete The Great British Bake Off style with more in depth tutoring to see if they can truly improve released in 2023.


  • The Alcoholic: Nicole makes a lot of jokes about being one.
    Nicole: Some say it's a problem, but I say I'm fun!
  • Ascended Meme: The phrase "Nailed it!" is familiar as an ironic online Image Macro caption for pictures of DIY crafts and foods that didn't quite succeed.
  • Big Fun
    • Nicole is a rather voluptuous woman, and she is hilarious as a hostess.
    • Victor Artus Solaro, on Nailed It! France, is a big guy who jokes about his weight.
    • Angelina Kirsch, on Nailed It! Germany, is a plus-sized model who, as with the other hosts, carries the show with humor.
  • Butt-Monkey: Wes, probably since he's the assistant director. International versions generally have their own equivalent; his French counterpart is Etienne, for example.
  • Canada, Eh?: In “Face-Off Bake-Off” from Nailed it! France, the second challenge has the contestants try (emphasis on try) to recreate a bust of Céline Dion, with a maple syrup flavored cake, and the distraction button forces the other two contestants to wear big cartoon moose heads.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Nicole has accidentally gotten "I don't mean to laugh" because she often bursts out laughing at the contestants' attempts.
    • Lampshaded in "Weird Science": a running tally pops up whenever contestant Michael "Good Time Mike" Lake says he'll "give that its day in court". Nailed It! México recreates this with contestant Ricardo, who keeps repeating that he's "winning".
    • "Welcome to Nailed It! México, where it's the thought that counts!" is host Omar Chaparro's standard opening line in the Mexican version.
  • Chekhov's Gun: When Nicole takes Sylvia Weinstock through the supply room in episode three of the first holiday season, they briefly duck into the Nailed It! test kitchen. The cake being made there? The topsy-turvy New Years cake that shows up in episode six.
  • Cooking Show: Differs itself from other shows of this type in that instead of having professional cooks compete, the show uses amateur home bakers to hilarious results.
  • Cool Old Guy: Jacques is an upbeat, super-skilled chocolatier and baker and is quick to dispense both advice and jokes.
    • Also applies to Christian Escribà, the deadpan chef expert for Niquelao! (the version of the show localized for Spain).
  • Crossover: The bonus episode of season 2, which is a "Baker's Choice" challenge with the cast of Queer Eye (2018). There is an mini-episode on YouTube after season three with the cast of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and in 2019 a cross-over episode where Nicole and Jacques competed against Adriano Zumbo of Sugar Rush
  • Compassionate Critic: The judges will critique and crack jokes about the cake or baker's choices, but will rarely ever put contestants down for failing to succeed at a challenge. They are usually given encouraging words at the end of each critique, which makes sense, since none of the contestants are professionals, let alone actually good at it, so they always critique and taste with a grain of salt.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: The judges always try to find something good to say about each contestant's effort, but a compliment like "You got the color right!" isn't really impressing anyone.
    "The cookie tasted like a cookie... ish!"
  • A Day in the Limelight: The eighth episode of The Big Nailed It Baking Challenge is called "Professor Chocolate" and focuses on Jacques. He gives an overview of his career and teaches the episode's lesson instead of the season's usual coaches.
  • Edutainment Show: While it's a game show first and foremost, you can learn a lot about baking while watching it, particularly common mistakes to avoid.
  • Epic Fail: The entire show's premise hinges on seeing who sucks the least when baking, and most of the time, even then, they only manage to make something that barely doesn't suck. Most attempts are either messy, unfinished, or both.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The show deliberately chooses amateur bakers and challenges them to recreate elaborate professional-level confections while under extremely limited time constraints.
  • Food Porn: The contestants rarely make something that actually looks appetizing, but the cakes and sweets used as reference are downright beautiful and mouth-watering works of art. In the Japan themed challenge, one of the contestants even wondered if the Emoji Cakes they needed to copy were real because they looked just so perfect and beautiful.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: The last episode of the first holiday special season has the contestants doing crafts instead of food, with Jacques' place as the professional critic being replaced by Jim Noonan, an expert on crafts.
  • French Cuisine Is Haughty: Jacques Torres is a professional French pastry chef and chocolatier. He doesn't come across as particularly stuck-up, but he does tend to roll his eyes a lot at the contestants' amateurish missteps.
    • In the episode of Nailed it! France where Jacques is the guest, the host talks with him about the perception of French cuisine, and Jacques says that he believes that the French bakers will be better at baking than the ones back in America. The show being what it is, they aren't.
  • French Jerk: In one episode of season 3, Nicole notes how Jacques and the guest (who is also a French chef) avert the “Frenchman are not nice” stereotype, which surprises the two - because they’ve never heard of it.
    Jacques: Who says that?
  • Fun with Subtitles: Pretty much all judges are presented with gag subtitles every time.
    • Nicole has "Hosting this Show", "Dr. Bakerstein", etc.
    • Jacques has had "French Willy Wonka", "Doc Choc", etc.
    • The guests include "Food Scientist", "Captain of Confectioneries", "Ugly Sweater Connoisseur", etc.
  • Giftedly Bad: Many of the contestants seem to think that some amateur home cooking skills will be enough to succeed at baking professional confections without making fools of themselves. They are wrong. Wiser contestants will acknowledge that they just need to try to be the one who sucks the least. They are less wrong.
  • Guide Dang It!: Averted. While the steps listed on screen are usually vague, such as "Step one: Bake cake. Step two: Decorate with fondant...," they're actually there to help the viewer keep track of what the contestants should be doing. Each contestant is actually equipped with an ipad at their work station that provides them with "thankfully pretty simple" recipes and instructions.
  • Hanukkah Episode: There is a Hanukkah episode in each holiday season, where the bakers make Hanukkah-themed dishes, such as dreidel cake pops and jelly-doughnut menorahs.
  • Large-Ham Announcer: Nicole plays this to the show. She is loud and cracks jokes at all times, including when talking about the competition or criticizing the desserts.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: The format had to be changed some for season 5 because it was filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The teams separately come get their choices during the first round, the judges don’t stand together while they eat or talk, the production leaves the prizes for the contestants to get instead of handing them off, and the lifelines were re-tooled to accommodate for social distancing. They also tried to cast as much from the Los Angeles area as possible to limit travel.
  • Lethal Chef: While the contestants do manage to produce food that's usually actually edible, in some cases you wouldn't be able to tell by looking.
    • One contestant in season one even had to have the judges intervene because she forgot to put cake mix in her batter, meaning she put a tray of eggs, oil and milk in the oven.
    • During the Unicorn Cake challenge, one contestant actually managed to make a cake that was mostly raw, and yet dry. In that same episode, another contestant accidentally used salt instead of sugar in his cake, forcing the judges to spit it out, because the cake was inedible.
    • One of the contestants in the Moving Toy challenge during the first holiday special season made a cookie so inedible ("dry but also wet", with a bizarre texture) that Jacques had no idea how it could possibly be done.
      • During the close-up on Nicole tasting the cookie, you can hear Jacques, not quite off-camera, hurriedly tell her and the guest judge "don't swallow it" out of what sounds like genuine concern.
    • A very common mistake which many contestants have done is using too much of a flavor extract, as only very little is needed. The end result is always what ever the extract was used for having the flavor overwhelm all other parts of the piece.
  • Lifelines: "Nail it or Fail it" features two in the form of buttons. One is the panic button, that a contestant can push to have one of the judges give them advice for 3 minutes, and the other is a different button in every episode given to the contestant that performed the worst in "Baker's Choice" which usually takes the form of some kind of hindrance to the other contestants, such as "Freezer Burn", which forces the other contestants to stop what they are doing for three minutes and "Pardon my French" which can be used during another contestant's Panic Button to force their advice to be given to them entirely in French.
  • Malaproper:
    • In the contest of making Emoji Cakes, one of the contestants keeps using the word "fondik" instead of "fondant". The Frosted Tip even lampshades it:
      Frosted Tip: Ever heard of fondik? Neither have we.
    • The New Years episode had contestant who called it "fundant" and would also pronounce balls as "bawllz". This led to Nicole cracking up and leading everyone into an impromptu song with the two words.
  • Noob: The essential concept of the show, with many bakers being very inexperienced with the techniques used to create the baked goods.
    • On multiple occasions, a contestant has appeared on the show who either refuses to use or doesn’t know how to use their stand mixer.
  • Point-and-Laugh Show: A mostly good-natured example. The contestants themselves aren't mocked, but the whole point is to laugh at their lack of baking skills.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: Averted, by the later seasons contestants are well aware of the nature of the show and are all keyed to have a good time. Some of them even demonstrate baking tricks they cite as having learned from watching the show.
  • Running Gag: Nicole announces the trophy without ever having one, chastises Wes over where the trophy is, or is surprised by his sudden appearances.
    • The clock for each round begins the moment Nicole announces how much time they have. The contestants always seem surprised by this, even if they claim to have seen the show before.
  • Shout-Out: A lot in the 90s themed episode. These include Nicole saying "I want it that way" when referring to the ice cream snacks, introducing the episode by making references to She's All That and Never Been Kissed, the episode opening being fashioned after 90s sitcom openings, etc.
  • Signature Style: The very first challenge is to make an original Sylvia Weinstock cake note  which requires to have all of her signature style: fondant flowers, buttercream frosting and small glasses made of fondant as a signature on the bottom of the cake.
  • Stock "Yuck!": In season 3, for an episode with a creepy theme, guest judge Natalie Sideserf mentioned that she had previously baked a cake with flour made from crickets. Nicole's disgusted facial reaction got a laugh from Jacques.
  • Slow Clap: Referred to and then played straight in "Winter Blunderland" - Tanya says she always wanted an '80s-style slow clap. When she wins, the judges and then the whole crew give her one.
  • Threatening Shark: One of the cakes the "Nail It or Fail It" challenge asks to make is one shark-shaped cake attacking a surfer, called the Shark Attack Cake.
  • Too Qualified to Apply: Unlike some other cooking shows where you can be an experienced amateur baker, you have to be an absolutely amateur to apply to the show. One of the requirements on the application is to attach a picture of a cake you tried to make along with a picture of what it's supposed to look like.