The current, undebatable king of reality TV is Gordon Ramsay. His hallmark cooking shows like “MasterChef” and “Hell’s Kitchen” continue to pull in ratings — albeit churning out mediocre chefs — and his new shows prove the only component of the formula necessary for success is Mr. Ramsay himself.
So how do you compete with such a notorious host? How do you apply the idea that the celebrity judges must carry the reality competition, not the crazies on display like on “The Bachelor”? NBC has an answer in the form of comedy BFFs Nick Offerman (“Hearts Beat Loud”) and Amy Poehler (“Sisters”).
Although Offerman is a gifted woodworker on the side, neither he nor Poehler are really qualified to run a crafts-focused reality show. But they know that, and the pair spend many improvised interludes making fun of themselves and the unicorns-and-butterflies attitude of their brainchild series, “Making It.”
The most manufactured drama “Making It” offers is a guest qualified judge calling the color of someone’s wooden creation “dull,” followed up with Offerman attempting to prevent the contestant from having any hurt feelings. There’s no bleeped sentences like on “Big Brother” that make you question if there’s a severe weather warning coming through the television. There’s no blonde Scottish chef holding two pieces of bread to a contestant’s head and forcing them to call themselves an “idiot sandwich.”
“Making It” only seeks to celebrate the work of many hidden artists: the men and women who design the window displays at department stores or live off of online art blogs. Offerman and Poehler are arguably more upset to send someone home than the contestant being eliminated.
We may never get a “Parks and Recreation” reunion, especially with the new dollar signs over Chris Pratt’s (“Jurassic World”) head, but “Making It” offers a chance to see Offerman and Poehler goofing off, while also witnessing some artistic magic (you try making a turtle shell out of wood in three hours). Half of the airtime is dedicated to their aimless and hysterically funny banter. In other words, “Making It” is more a reality show about their friendship with some arts and crafts as the commercial breaks — and it makes for a refreshing summer installment.