Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

REVIEW: Although it's a competition, the show has a lot of heart.

Attention, DIY enthusiasts: NBC’s Making It, a six-episode crafting competition series, debuted on Tuesday, July 31. Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, best known for their roles on NBC’s popular Parks and Recreation, have teamed up once again to host a show that highlights the talents of everyday makers across the country.

Making It is geared more toward crafting than industry, which we are used to talking about here at the Alliance for American Manufacturing. However, as we like to say, America has always been a country that makes things, so it’s great to see a TV show that celebrates everyday makers.

Poehler and Offerman make good hosts. Offerman is an experienced woodworker, and while Poehler is a beginner to crafting, she makes up for her lack of experience with enthusiasm. It’s hard to not crack a smile when watching the show – mainly because the hosts and contestants to seem have a lot of fun, and not to mention the many puns that Poehler and Offerman craft.

The eight contestants are from all over the country and have a variety of specialties (woodworking, paper crafting, and hodgepodge crafting, to name a few), but are expected to work with many different materials to complete the challenges. Several started crafting as a hobby, but over time they made it into a career.

In each episode, the contestants are judged on two handmade projects, the “Faster Craft” and the “Master Craft.” In the “Faster Craft” challenge, contestants work to create a smaller project under a time-crunch. For the “Master Craft,” contestants make something that showcases their skills. The projects are chosen to allow the makers to show their skills and personality through their crafts.

The winner of each challenge receives a patch, and in true reality TV style, someone is sent home each week. Ultimately, the contestants are vying for the coveted title of “Master Maker” and $100,000 prize, although Offerman notes that the “real prize is a job well-done.”

The show is a competition, but it’s lighthearted. The contestants are not cutthroat – in fact, they are quite the opposite. They think of themselves as a “family,” and they set aside their own projects at times to help their fellow crafters. It’s refreshing to see a competition show where the contestants are kind to each other. Maybe it’s because they all have something in common: they are truly passionate about making things, and their passion is evident in the hard work they put into their crafts.

This is truly a feel-good TV show, and part of its charm is that theoretically, you could recreate these crafts at home. It definitely made me want to fire up my own glue gun.

Making It airs Tuesdays on NBC.