20 of the most relaxing reality TV shows to watch right now

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5. Making It

While many of the shows included on this list happened to be relaxing as a byproduct of their existence, more recent developments in the world of reality TV have become purposefully soothing. Whether or not you think that’s a good long-term ideal — can you manufacture calm and cheeriness, after all? — it’s definitely a trend that’s part of the current television landscape. People are purposefully seeking out relaxing shows, and the viewing numbers support it.

That’s at least partially the reason behind Making It, the gentle crafting competition hosted by Parks and Rec alums Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. Producers have apparently told contestants that they purposefully do not want the kind of backstabbing or cattiness you see on other shows.

Still, it is a competition with a $100,000 prize at the end. This necessarily means that someone’s got to get eliminated at the end of each episode. It’s about the kindest elimination you’ve ever seen, though. There are gentle hugs. Nick Offerman tells everyone that “the real prize is a job well done.”

So, yes, it’s all very much an engineered sort of pleasantness. I mean, look: Amy Poehler in overalls! Nick Offerman’s delightful giggling! Iced tea! The satisfaction of making something with your hands! Hugs! Heck, in the first episode, Poehler herself says that “Life is stressful enough. Let’s make a show that makes you feel good.”

The darkest part of myself still wonders if this calculated geniality is all right, if it isn’t somehow part of a greater push towards mental anesthesia. But, then again, watching nice people make pretty things and hearing some heartwarming platitudes about the value of crafting can help remind you that there are nice things in the world, too.