When the historians of the future look back upon this particular era in history, NBC’s Making It is one way they’ll ascertain how very wrong things went in 2018. To be clear, the crafting competition hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman is a total joy, a cashmere-swaddled hug of a show that exudes geniality and zany warmth. If it had a scent, that scent would be fall leaves, cinnamon, and clean linen. Making It’s spirit animal is a golden retriever. It’s the kind of series that’s so irrepressibly comforting, so extremely absorbing, that it could only be summoned by a culture that’s sorely in need of relief.
Making It is the Room of Requirement of reality shows, something that manifests only when you can’t go on without it. In spirit, the series seems clearly modeled after The Great British Baking Show, the cooking contest that revolutionized televised contests by dialing down the tension and amping up the puns and pastel colors. Poehler and Offerman, last seen on-screen in NBC’s Parks and Recreation, act as an odd-couple pair of hosts (he’s an accomplished woodworker, she’s a self-confessed crafting idiot who compensates for her lack of technical knowledge with enthusiasm). Over the course of the series, eight contestants vie for the Making It crown and a cash prize of $100,000 (although as Offerman notes, “The real prize is a job well done”). “Life is stressful enough,” Poehler says in the intro to each episode. “Let’s make a show that makes you feel good!”