I have ADHD and find it helpful to have the television on while I'm writing on the weekends, which leads me to watch shows in spurts while taking focus breaks from the computer. The result: ADHD recaps, like this one.
Have you heard about cake? It's the little person/multiple children reality fad of 2k10. And because TLC is the television channel equivalent of someone who wears the Ed Hardy shirt, pants, shoes, and hat all at once, cakes and sweets have now taken a prime position on the network, with Cake Boss, Fabulous Cakes, The Little Chocolatiers, and now D.C. Cupcakes showing the viewers at home what it takes to run a dessert business and build giant sculptures out of fondant. And that's all well and good but here's a recipe that will save you the thirty minutes you might otherwise spend watching the D.C. Cupcakes crew fake their way through reality: one box of Duncan Hines mix, one can of Duncan Hines frosting. The end.
There are very few reality shows these days that appear to have any actual reality in them: TLC's brand of clearly scripted reality is tolerable in some cases, but unbearable in others, and their cake shows are a good example of the disparity: Cake Boss is clearly fixed in some ways, but the end result—whatever Buddy makes—is usually so awesome that the wacky fakery can be forgiven. I mean, the other day he made a cake in the shape of a six-foot sub. And it actually looked like a six-foot sub! So whatever, you know? He's the Amelia Bedelia of reality television: the entire show can be a scripted-seeming disaster, but in the end, he delivers this amazing dessert and all is forgiven. D.C. Cupcakes, on the other hand, is the worst kind of TLC reality: every single aspect of this show seems fake and forced, with the exception of the cupcakes themselves, which actually look pretty good, and would probably look better if they weren't surrounded by a pile of LIES.
Ok, so, there's these two sisters and they quit their jobs or what have you to "follow their dreams" and sell expensive cupcakes in a fancy D.C. neighborhood. Their creations look delicious, their store is adorable, and their customers seem to be happy. But their show makes absolutely no sense: first, we learn that their mother, whom they call "Mommy" works at the store for no particular reason whatsoever other than to fuck things up and ruin dozens of cupcakes by not understanding how the ovens work, even though she's apparently been helping the sisters since 2008, when they opened their first store. Then we meet the crew of the store, including a woman named Yasmin who ends up crying because she's scolded by the head baker, Andres, who might be a lovely person but is edited, at least, to come across as a grumpy jerk who never has anything nice to say about anything or anyone. Everything is strained and forced and appears as though it's an actual reenactment of the events that typically take place in the sisters' bakery, only not the type of reenactment you see on one of those MSNBC crime specials that endlessly run on Saturdays, but the kind of reenactment you see in a classroom filmstrip from 1974, where Pierre learns a lesson about friendship after he steals Marcia's bicycle, crashes it, and then relies on Marcia to help him mend his broken arm or whatever. You know, the kind where everyone talks like this, "Gee, Marcia. I should have watched. where Iwas going. I am. so happyto have. you as a friend."
So anyway, the sisters are dealing with the Valentine's Day rush in the first episode, and one of them mentions that they sell like 25,000 cupcakes on the holiday, which led me to imagine all of the things one could do with 25,000 cupcakes, like building a house, though I realized that maybe you'd only be able to build the foundation and that just wouldn't work because clearly you'd attract raccoons and maybe even bears and definitely mold and perhaps even small children who enjoy leaving crumb trails behind them. And then I started thinking about that witch who tried to shove Hansel in the oven before being pwned by Gretel and wondered how she got the materials to build her creepy gingerbread house in the first place, because you can't just erect a ginger-home in the woods without at least heading to the Gingerbread Home Depot and picking up industrial sized buckets of nutmeg and royal icing, right? But then I realized she was a witch, and could probably cast a spell to do such things, which is fine and all, but if you have the capacity to make gingerbread appear out of thin air, why on earth would you want to eat children? And if you do, why can't you just make roasted Hansel appear, or at least a rotisserie chicken or a nice filet, instead of going through all the trouble? I don't know. I just hope she didn't decorate her house with raisins because they have no place on a gingerbread house, end of story.
Anyway, D.C. Cupcakes: the sisters freak out because they have to build a Mardi Gras mask or something, I don't know, I was still mad when the show came back on after a commercial for Ramona and Beezus wherein the new fake Beezus (Feezus?) actually said something like, "Ramona, every princess needs a little sparkle," a statement which the Ramona Quimby I grew up with would have run over with her tricycle while dreaming of steam shovels and cracking fad eggs on her head and telling everyone that Fig Newtons were filled with worms. "Every princess needs a little sparkle?" What kind of bullshit is that? That's the kind of nonsense Willa Jean would say, not Beezus. Sometimes, Beezus doesn't even love Ramona! Everyone knows that!
Anyway the fakery at the bakery continued as the sisters were asked THE DAY BEFORE a giant charity gala for St. Jude's to deliver a Mardi Gras centerpiece made of 1,000 mini cupcakes, which is like, really? One of the seemingly most organized charitable organizations in the country calling a cupcake place on Valentine's day roughly 24 hours before a major event and asking for a huge project? Come on. Add that to the fact that the sisters have never made anything remotely like the Mardi Gras sculpture before, and are not known for such a thing, and it became very clear that TLC was trying to turn this show into Cake Boss 2: Cupcake Booglaoo, and it was terrible and the dumb thing fell apart because these women are cupcake makers, not sculptors, and eventually they put it back together with foam or something and auctioned it off and everything was great. And then some drunk guy screaming, "It's the best Bach-de-lor party EVER!" on a commercial for The Little Couple came on about 17 times and eventually D. C. Cupcakes came to an end.
So there you have it. Dreams came true, cupcakes were made, and everyone realized how wonderful life is when red velvet is in the world. And then a commercial came on that showed the Cake Boss making cupcakes, which is just a waste of time for everyone, really, because those six-foot sandwich cakes aren't going to make themselves, and there are already too many cupcakes on television as it is. I love cake, and I love television, but since they started dating they've both become somewhat unbearable. I think it's time for them to break up. The Cake Boss can stay, and the Ace of Cakes as well, but everyone else just needs to move along. I hope the real Ramona Quimby returns and sticks a Bendix into TLC's programming schedule and makes everyone realize that the sweets are starting to taste pretty bad.
Want to watch the show for yourself? Start at the official page: D.C. Cupcakes
Earlier: ADHD Recap: You're Cut Off