‘This Is Us’: The Real Reason Randall Was Watching ‘The Great British Baking Show’

On the surface, This is Us and The Great British Baking Show couldn’t be more different. One is a highly emotional work of fiction that typically makes people cry. The other is a cooking competition show that typically makes people hungry. 

However, the two shows share a common thread. Not only did The Great British Baking Show figure into a recent This is Us episode, but both series have been dubbed, fittingly enough, comfort food — food for the stomach and food for the soul. 

How was ‘Great British Baking Show’ on ‘This is Us?’

Sterling K. Brown speaks onstage
Sterling K. Brown | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

The cooking show figured into the plot of Episode 11 of Season 4. This was the first of a two-parter dubbed “A Hell of a Week,” with part 1 focusing on Randall and part 2 focusing on Kevin.

The Vulture recap of that show stated, “has Sterling K. Brown ever been better than he is in “One Hell of a Week: Part One”? He doesn’t even bring along his Sterling K. Brown Single Tear, and yet here I am, moved.

The recap even specifically mentioned The Great British Baking Show, with the reviewer stating that the moment “spoke to me as a human.”

Randall had been struggling in that episode because he had been dealing with an intruder who had broken into his home. Thankfully, Randall was able to ward off the criminal, telling him to essentially take his money and run. It worked. Randall got away only losing his money when the situation could have been a lot worse. 

Is it ‘Great British Bake Off’ or ‘Great British Baking Show?’ 

As comforting as British cooking shows are, they can also be confusing because it seems like  there are two similarly titled ones. Most recaps of This Is Us referred to The Great British Baking Show, but this Reddit thread called it Bake Off. So what’s the difference? 

According to Decider, there actually is no difference. When it came out in Britain, the show was called The Great British Bake Off. In 2014. When PBS picked up the show, they had to change the name because Pillsbury (famous for the dough boy) owned the rights to the phrase ‘bake-off.’ So in America, The Great British Baking Show it is.

That’s just one example of how show names sometimes change when they cross the pond, with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone becoming Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Whatever one calls the show, it’s like Xanax for some viewers. On the Reddit thread, the topic starter said, “I realized Randall chooses to watch this show where people choose to help each other all the time.

The other contestants and the hosts are comforting and physically helping Kim Joy in this particular scene. Meanwhile, Randall is somebody who loves to help other people, but doesn’t know how to ask for help. Thought it was interesting!

How are ‘This is Us’ and the British baking show related?

People like Randall tend to be independent to a fault, where they love to help other people, but they’re so selfless they don’t always ask for help even when they need it.

The Hollywood Reporter analyzed This is Us, saying, “Viewers connect to these characters — particularly lovable, upstanding Jack and Randall — because they are men we can admire and empathize with week-to-week.’ The analysis specifically cited The Great British Baking Show as one that soothes the soul.

It can work in another way too – if This is Us breaks your heart with another untimely demise, you can drown your sorrows in British confections. If it works for Randall, it can work for people who watch him too.