NBC’s newest competition series, Making It, premieres Tuesday, July 31 and challenges talented crafters in what might best be described as The Great British Baking Show goes to summer camp. The charming show reunites former Parks and Recreation costars Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman as the series’ hosts. Poehler is a crafting novice who blithely shares, “The only thing I know how to make is trouble.” Her wide-eyed enthusiasm and lack of crafting talent are relatable to anyone who’s ever tried — and failed — to re-create a project from the aspirational yet humbling website Pinterest.
Offerman is an expert woodworker who is a perfect juxtaposition to Poehler’s inexperience, and his trademark deadpan demeanor is frequently belied by his infectious giggle. “Nick is an amazing maker, and I wouldn’t have been able to do this without him by my side,” admits Poehler.
In each episode, competitors face off in two challenges judged by Simon Doonan — celebrated window decorator and creative ambassador-at-large of Barneys New York — and Etsy’s in-house trend expert, Dayna Isom Johnson. The first is a time-sensitive challenge, and the second is a themed challenge that tests each maker’s artistic vision and incredible talents. Winning a challenge earns the victor a gorgeously embroidered, Scouting-inspired patch and the opportunity to move on in the competition, where the ultimate prize is $100,000 and the title of “Master Maker.”
“Makers are an incredible community of people who work in all different mediums,” says Poehler. The competitors include woodworkers, paper crafters and fabric artists, and their abilities to transform common household items — like wood, felt or newsprint — into personal and communicative works of art is jaw-dropping. “They were incredibly inspiring to be around, not only for their fine work and vision, but for the way they opened up to each other and weren’t afraid to try something new,” Poehler adds. “It was humbling. Also they all know how to use power tools, so I’m going to make sure I am always in their good stead.”
Throughout the competition, the makers are encouraged to step outside of their comfort zone, take risks and create bold works. And while most of the resulting works are spectacular showstoppers, there are also a few spectacular fails. “So much of creativity is trying new things,” says Poehler. “We wanted to show the process and, yes, the fails. Failing is how you look at it. It can be a huge learning experience or turn out even better than you imagined.”
Making It is presented without irony; it was intentionally developed to be a celebration of creativity, and its overall tone is joyously encouraging. Poehler hopes that this series will inspire the maker in everyone. “I want to make a TV show that makes you want to turn off your TV. A viewing experience that gets you off your phone. An event that pushes you to your garage to rummage around and see what you can make.”
Making It > NBC > Tuesdays at 10pm ET/PT beginning July 31