The Garcia family in The Baker and the Beauty
Credit: Image: Guy D'Alema

Come for the romance, stay for the family in ABC’s newest romantic comedy.

Positive. Upbeat. Charming. These are some of the words that popped into my head while watching the first four episodes of The Baker and the Beauty, which were made available to the press prior to the premiere. Adapted from one of Israel’s highest-rated scripted series, The Baker and the Beauty is about a Miami based baker who starts dating a model/fashion mogul/philanthropist after randomly meeting her at a restaurant. With its feel-good vibe, ABC’s romantic comedy might be the ideal show for readers looking for a shot of happiness and light. The following are my thoughts (with minor spoilers) on the new series premiering April 13 at 10:00 PM EST.

Vanessa prepares a surprise for Daniel in The Baker and the Beauty

More: HTGAWM recap, Asher’s killer revealed

The first episode of The Baker and the Beauty introduces us to Daniel Garcia (Victor Rasuk) who happily works at his tight-knit Cuban-American family’s bakery in Miami. When he takes his girlfriend Vanessa (Michelle Veintimilla) to the most expensive restaurant in town to celebrate their four year anniversary, she shocks him by very publicly proposing to him. Fellow diners pull out their phones to film the romantic gesture as Daniel, not ready for such commitment, gently declines. Vanessa throws his soup on him and storms out. As Daniel walks home, superstar Noa Hamilton (Nathalie Kelley), who he meets in the restaurant’s bathroom prior to the soup incident, and her friends drive by and offer him a ride, thus kicking off their whirlwind relationship.

Daniel teaches Noa to bake in The Baker and the Beauty

Noa and Daniel enjoy nice chemistry, but I wouldn’t call it red hot. They’re sweet enough, but I found myself more invested in other characters, like Daniel’s 15-year-old sister Natalie. Actress Belissa Escobedo is a real standout in her natural portrayal of an insecure yet outspoken teenager. Their DJ wannabe brother Mateo (David Del Rio) takes a little getting used to but once his obnoxious exterior starts to fade away, the potential for real emotion shines through. Their parents, Mari (Lisa Vidal) and Rafael (Carlos Gómez) refreshingly still adore each other after 30 years of marriage, often to the chagrin of their children, while creating a supportive environment for their kids despite being a little wary of their choices. Even scorned girlfriend Vanessa is sympathetic. Again, she’s a bit over the top at first, but I found myself rooting for her more so than Noa.

Belissa Escobedo as Natalie on Baker and the Beauty

More: Riverdale pilot recap, an illicit affair & murder

As for Noa’s inner circle, her manager Lewis (Dan Bucatinsky) is laser-focused on her career and disdainful of Daniel, but he clearly has the best intentions towards his seemingly only client. Lewis’ brash exterior starts to crumble in the fourth episode when we see him outside of Noa’s world, which hopefully becomes a bigger focal point. The closest thing to a villain on The Baker and the Beauty is Noa’s ex-boyfriend, a self-involved actor who appears to have cheated on her, but I can already envision his redemption arc should they keep him around. There’s also the paparazzi who constantly swarm Noa, and by extension Daniel, but even that turns into a boon for the family bakery.

Daniel and his parents in The Baker and the Beauty

More: Magic, improv & royals in The CW spoilers

Though some serious topics are sprinkled in, this doesn’t feel like the kind of show that is going to the dark side any time soon. Based on the first few episodes, The Beauty and the Baker is an optimistic series that celebrates Latin culture, the love of family and taking chances to live out your dreams. It also features cameos from soap opera alums Mario Lopez (Christian Ramírez, The Bold and the Beautiful) and Florencia Lozano (Téa Delgado, One Life to Live), whose character has the potential to return.

Do you plan to watch The Baker and the Beauty? Share your thoughts on the new series below.

Video: ABC/YouTube

soaps newsletter banner