“Let’s make a show that makes you feel good,” Amy Poehler states in the premiere episode of her new program Making It. Co-hosted by Poehler and Nick Offerman, the program offers a light-hearted competition between crafters. Similar to The Great British Baking Show, the new show challenges the contestants each week with a series of tasks.
The episodes offer a faster craft challenge and a master craft challenge. Each contestant is asked to create something that showcases their crafting abilities.
Early on in the first episode, Offerman talks about his enthusiasm for crafting and his capabilities (he made a canoe by hand, he notes). On the other hand, Poehler has limited crafting capabilities. The funny hosts, who interview the contestants alongside the judges, also take breaks from the competition and offer up comedic bits. In the first episode, for instance, the hosts have a crafting pun-off. When two contestants both choose a bee as their spirit animal, Poehler deadpans that there’s an undercurrent of tension in the tent.
Simon Doonan and Dayna Isom Johnson serve as the judges. Doonan is a creative ambassador for Barneys (he famously helps design some of Barney’s well-renowned window displays). Johnson is a trend expert for the website Etsy. Both of these judges understand design trends and they also recognize the importance of bringing one’s own personality into designs.
In the show’s first master challenge, the contests are tasked with creating a quilt and crafting an unconventional photo album. The contestants embrace the challenge with one contestant creating a quilt that reflects a video game design and another contestant crafting a design using family pillow cases. The show’s open forum lets the crafters use materials of their own choosing to create unique creations.
Like The Great British Baking Show, this is a competition program that finds joy in uplifting the contestants. After the first elimination, for instance, the eliminated crafter shares a drink with the two hosts. But unlike that show, this program casts a larger net including individuals who craft with their own unique tools and equipment. Whereas bakers are judge for the tastes of their products (with substance taking precedence over style), the crafters are often judged by their unique visions.
The concept of Making It may seem familiar but its focus on personalities really makes it stand out. It also helps that the show’s hosts never take their jobs too seriously. For instance, challenge winners are often rewarded with merit badges. This program deserves its own badge of recognition as well. It’s colorful and fun and a nice way to end the day.
Review by: John Hanlon