Revolving around the theme of craftsmanship, the show brings together a diverse group of competitors to show off their creativity and technical skills using a wide variety of techniques and materials. They work on their projects on a farm, in and around a large barn converted into a crafting studio.
Each episode requires the competitors to complete two challenges:
- The Faster Craft: Competitors have three hours to complete a task.
- The Master Craft: Competitors get to flex their muscles and take more time to show off the full extent of their skills in a themed collection challenge.
Each challenge is judged by crafting icons Dayna Isom Johnson and Simon Doonan, who give friendly critiques.
At the end of each challenge, the competitor judged to have done the best receives a patch. At the end of each episode, the one judged to have done the worst goes home. Ultimately, the competitors are trying to win a $100,000 grand prize, although Nick Offerman insists that the real prize is actually a "job well done."
It is billed as a feel-good show that completely avoids conflict and melodrama normally seen in competitive shows, and somehow manages to be even Lighter and Softer than The Great British Bake Off and The Great British Sewing Bee (which is no mean feat).
The first season aired in the summer of 2018. The second season aired eight episodes in the span of two weeks in December 2019, and a third aired in summer 2021.
This series provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion: Nick mentions having a fridge full of eggs and that they're off-limits to everyone else, much like how Ron Swanson loved eggs and considered them Serious Business.
- Bragging Rights Reward: The best maker in each challenge doesn't receive any special advantages over the other makers. They do, however, get a lovely patch they can wear on their apron.
- Catchphrase: At the start of a challenge, Amy and Nick shout, "Make it!" Amy concludes the challenge with, "Time's up! You made it!"Amy: [at the start of the first challenge] It took us three weeks to come up with that.
- Elimination Statement:
- Each eliminated Maker gets to do a short skit with Amy and Nick on the farmhouse porch. Amy implies that each contestant is coming to live with them, and that the house is getting rather crowded as the season continues.
- In the second season, the eliminated makers gradually form a band. Amy and Nick perform a verse about the maker, he or she is presented with an instrument, and they all sing/play the chorus together.
- Friendly Rivalry: Everyone is friendly to one another and provides positive comments to other competitors. They'll even donate unused materials and actively help each other finish their projects.
- Giant Novelty Check: The winner is presented one that is carved out of a log.
- Hidden Depths: Jeffrey was originally a policy wonk at the United Nations who did arts and crafts to relax in his spare time. But a friend of a friend saw his work and gave him the opportunity to pursue crafts as a full-time profession.
- Hurricane of Puns: If there's a chance for a pun, Amy and Nick will not let it go to waste. Even better if they can let off a string of them. There's even a Once an Episode segment where they "pun-off" and try to come up with as many crafting puns on a given subject as possible.
- I Have No Son!: In the first episode, Jeffrey sadly recalls how his parents cut him out of their lives when he came out of the closet. They even went so far as to send a funeral wreath to his office to show that he was dead to them.
- Mean Brit: Thoroughly averted with Simon Doonan, who is kind and encouraging and will only give out extremely mild critiques.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: The judges have this view of Khiem, as they consider his crafts to emphasize darker colors and solitude (and his Rice Krispie Treat coliseum features a gummi bear massacre). Everyone is pleasantly surprised when he creates a colorful home theater that highlights his love for his girlfriend.
- Once an Episode:
- The show cuts away from competition to give a little tutorial in which Nick shows off some technique of crafting and Amy attempts to learn it. Later, they have a "pun-off" to see who cracks up first.
- Amy and the two judges have all taken turns delivering the sad news of who's been eliminated. Each week, Nick gives a short speech about how it really should be his turn this time... but he doesn't want to, so he's passing the buck again.
- The Stoic: Khiem is very matter-of-fact when he speaks and his expression is always mildly pleasant. He barely reacts when he's revealed to be the grand prize winner.