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, and a special holiday season followed in December 2018.
- 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.
- 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".
- Chekhov's Gun: When Nicole takes Sylvia Weinstock through the supply room in episode three of the holiday special, 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.
- Crossover: The bonus episode of season 2, which is a "Baker's Choice" challenge with the cast of Queer Eye (2018).
- 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.
- 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.
- Excited Show Title!: Nailed It!
- Failure Is the Only Option: The show deliberately chooses amateur bakers and challenges them to recreate elaborate professional-level confections.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- Running Gag: Nicole announces the trophy without ever having one, chastises Wes over where the trophy is, or is surprised by his sudden appearances.
- 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.
- Something Completely Different: The last episode of the 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.
- 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.