On television, too often men and women can’t really be friends. Even on Friends those kids coupled up like they were on a bizarre reality competition that said singles would be eaten by sea monsters. A rare exception of the exploration of a purely platonic male/female bond was found on the wonderful Parks and Recreation between Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman). The two characters were deeply different in temperament and politics, but they shared a common bond in caring for others and understanding the glory found in a really good breakfast. And as you watched Leslie and Ron over the course of seven seasons, you got the sense that this onscreen friendship felt so vivid and authentic because it extended offscreen to Poehler and Offerman. Now, the pair are reuniting for a new project, and as it seems to focus very deeply on their quirky but true bond, we couldn’t be happier.
Deadline reports NBC has ordered a six-episode series of Poehler’s pitched reality competition, The Handmade Project. Offerman will be her co-host. And rather than the cutthroat vibe of many reality competitions, The Handmade Project is expected to have the jaunty good spirit of competition of The Great British Bake-Off, where yes, someone loses, but the producers don’t prod them to weep on camera UnReal style. The focus would be on creation, not cutting someone down.
Deadline describes The Handmade Project as:
Each week eight all-around makers, from all walks of life, will take on a series of projects with the hopes of impressing Poehler, Offerman and our expert judges. Over the course of each episode, the contestants must tackle a different theme, hand-making items in different disciplines — the difficulty of which increases with every episode until a winner is crowned. Shot in an outdoor setting, the series will also focus on the characters and camaraderie of those who enjoy creating their own crafts, all under the comedic guidance of Poehler and Offerman.
Doesn’t this just sound divine?
Of course true fans of Parks and Rec know that Swanson was a handy man who did a bit of woodcarving, and that character trait was based on Offerman himself, who owns Offerman Woodshop in Los Angeles. Poehler on the other hand is described as a “self-proclaimed crafting novice.” In a statement, she offered, “I’m thrilled to be celebrating artists who make things by hand, and I’m looking forward to finally conquering my fear of paper mache.”
And Offerman concurred, “People who make things are my favorite kind of folk. Practical, clever and terrific in a pinch. That makes me tickled pink to have a front row seat at this prodigious display of talent, and admiring and cheering on an amazing crop of American makers. Plus, Amy and I have a strong tradition of tomfoolery so let’s see if we don’t have some good fun.”
A strong tradition of tomfoolery. Guys. Prepare for this to be the new greatest show on earth.
If you want to try your hand at being one of these lucky contestants, go to here. And good luck!