In the first episode of “Making It,” a competition that celebrates the “worldwide phenomenon” of crafting, host Amy Poehler says that her and co-host Nick Offerman decided that life is stressful enough so why not “create a show that makes you feel good?!” Mission accomplished. This charming show is nearly impossible to watch without a smile on your face.

Poehler and Offerman, who perfected their comedic partner skills on “Parks and Recreation,” are hard not to like. They inject the competition with silly banter, wry observations and funny jokes but also have a genuine appreciation for the competitors’ skills. Poehler makes fun of her lack of knowledge while Offerman, a master woodworker who creates furniture, is the seasoned craftsman. It’s a set-up for corny jokes but also a way for viewers to connect to the action regardless of their knowledge base. And if you don’t know what decoupage is, a definition pops up on screen.

Each week is divided into two challenges: A fast craft and a master craft, which is a themed collection. The judges, Daphne Isom Johnson, a trend expert on Etsy and Simon Doonan, a well-known visual merchandiser famous for his Barney’s window displays, award the weekly competition winner with a patch because the “real prize is a job well done.” But because it’s really not, the person named “master maker” at the end of the series wins a cash prize of $100,000. The judges aren’t harsh and weekly eliminations are kind.

As the contestants get to work with wood and paper and felt to complete challenges like creating a three-dimensional representation of themselves as an animal, Amy and Nick roam around the room, chatting with each one. They discover that Amber, who has a PhD in clinical child psychology wrote a craft blog that went from a hobby to a career and that Jeff, who started out as an economic development officer at the United Nations got an opportunity to turn his passion for making gifts out of paper into a visual merchandising job. Marveling at Jeff’s story, Amy says, “You never know how your life is going to turn out.” It’s the aspirational side to the show, where dream jobs are possible.

For the 3D challenge, Amber makes a unicorn and Jeff creates a bee. Another contestant, Robert, constructs a striking shadow puppet theater representing the animals inside his head. Whimsical, sophisticated or cutesy, each craft is duly appreciated by Amy and Nick with appealing sincerity.

Amy and Nick also have fun with the reality competition format and its reliance on drama, as they are both part of the show and outside commentators on the action. When a contestant’s balloon pops during the “beast within” 3D animal challenge, Amy says to Nick in hushed tones, “Wasn’t it weird how Nicole didn’t react when Jo’s balloon popped? Like maybe she knew it ahead of time?” It’s their ability to have fun with the show’s premise while genuinely admiring the contestants’ creative efforts that makes “Making It” a delight to watch.

“Making It” is on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EDT on NBC.

— Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television’s ‘The West Wing.’” She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at

staytuned@outlook.com or follow her on Twitter at @MelissaCrawley.