Beauty and the Baker is an Israeli romantic comedy series about the relationship that develops between young baker Amos (Aviv Alush) and famous model/actress Noa Hollander (Rotem Sela), a relationship disapproved of by Noa’s overprotective agent Tzvika (Mark Ivanir) and Amos’ unstable ex-girlfriend Vanessa (Hila Saada).
There’s not too much that can be said about the series except that it’s charming, funny and sweet with an interesting, well written story which features characters that are incredibly easy to care about, a far cry from all the darker series that we are perhaps used to nowadays. The series has been compared to the films of Richard Curtis and in all fairness, this is a fairly accurate description as Beauty and the Baker is essentially Israeli Notting Hill: an everyman falls in love with a huge star, the media soon takes an interest and the famous star spends time with the guy’s family. There is also a definite Aladdin vibe since it essentially features a cross-class romance that includes a princess yearning for freedom, unhappy with all the arrogant potential suitors. And the final episode specifically mentions both a “princess” and a “magic carpet”!
The two main characters are great; Amos is a charismatic and supportive everyman, Noa is a wonderfully spirited, defiant love interest and it is constantly lovely to watch them on screen together, the two of them having ideal chemistry. The series also has great supporting characters, especially Amos’ family members that include his brother Assaf, an aspiring singer and self-proclaimed ladies’ man, his delightfully protective, houseproud mother and his younger sister Meirav whose questioning of her sexuality causes quite a stir with her parents. The family dynamic is excellent as we grow to love these characters and they make us smile so much.
We also have a great character in Noa’s agent Tzvika; initially appearing as something of an antagonist, looking down on Amos and seeking to get rid of him, there is also quite a bit of depth to him as he has great affection for Noa and likewise, she thinks of him as a father and couldn’t be without him. There are also plenty of wonderful scenes where Amos takes quite a bit of pleasure in ribbing him, providing a great deal of playful “frenemy” banter.
In the same vein, Amos’ ex-girlfriend Vanessa is quite an interesting character; she initially appears as a domineering, unhinged whacko but throughout the series, she gets certain moments that allow us to feel some sympathy for her and it is clear that she has strong feelings for Amos, even though he doesn’t reciprocate them. Vanessa also appears in the very last scene, a veritable “punch the air” moment that gets us to applaud her immensely.