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Why Netflix’s The Big Flower Fight is so much more than a Bake Off with flowers

Why Netflix’s The Big Flower Fight is so much more than a Bake Off with flowers

Try to explain the premise of The Big Flower Fight to anyone and there’s little doubt you’ll get some raised eyebrows. That’s because Netflix ‘s latest reality TV offering delves its viewers into a whimsical, magical world in which flowers and plants reign supreme, and must also be transformed into fantastical floral sculptures and garden spectacles in a matter of hours.

Giant insects, couture gowns, edible thrones and fairytales are just a few of the design briefs tasked to the ten teams competing for the chance to present a sculpture at Kew Gardens. So yes, it is a lot.

Presented by comedians Natasia Demetriou and Vic Reeves, each episode sees contestants design and deliver gigantic living sculptures to a specific and challenging brief. While ‘Best in Bloom’ goes to whichever team wows the judges with their creation, the team that fails to deliver must leave the competition.

On the surface, The Big Flower Fight sounds like merely another reality show trying to get a slice of the Great British Bake Off’ s success. But pull back the leaves and you’ll find that this show is more than it initially appears, with a slower, less frenzied pace allowing its contestants and their blossoming journeys to shine through. The Big Flower Fight is not simply Bake Off with flowers, as has been widely suggested.

That much is clear from the very first episode, when we are first introduced to the eclectic range of competitors. From seasoned gardeners to florists just starting out, to interdisciplinary artists and fashion designers, there’s not much uniting the teams except their shared love of flowers and foliage.

Avant-gardeners with a combined 50 years of floristry experience, Henck and Yan face off against the new age of green-fingered millennials like the collaborative couple Ryan and Andrew, and ‘Houseplant Consultants’ Nick and Taylor. Even individual teams such as Jim and Ralph span their own generational divide as a design student and his gardener dad display their love for one another with tear-jerking tenderness in every challenge.

Over the course of its eight episodes The Big Flower Fight highlights the value of formats that bring contestants more firmly into focus – they explore in greater depth what an individual brings to the competition or their hobby rather than vice versa.

In prioritising inclusivity and the diversity of contestants who truly represent the modern world of gardening – too often portrayed as white, elderly and heteronormative – this show realises its own potential by letting the experiences and emotions of its contestants shine through. Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht lives up to the grandeur of his name as the show’s lead judge, a famed florist known for his incredible sculptures and bouquets. As The Big Flower Fight ‘s resident VIP, VanderYacht’s expertise, style, wit and honesty binds the show together, with his encouraging presence reflecting the show’s commitment to on-screen diversity beyond platitudes and tokenism.

The high-stakes challenges contestants face on The Big Flower Fight are often as daunting and imposing a prospect as the towering sculptures themselves. Briefs deal out […]

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