Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Lord of the Rings, Marvel and DC Comics and several others have all received the Lego treatment over the past decade or so. However, one of America’s greatest television institutions, The Simpsons, had been ignored up until last year. The legendary block sets for the equally legendary cartoon family have been selling typically well since its launch; would a special Simpson episode also fit the bill for its entrenched fanbase?
The Simpsons have been a television mainstay for over 25 years and 550 episodes, if you’ve been in a cave, and continue to get strong ratings. Even though purists would argue that the Simpsons have declined over the past several years, it’s hard to argue that their popularity (especially in the toy and marketing department) has stayed strong over the decades. What could lend more to their legend than creating an entire Simpsons episode revolving around the city of Springfield and all its residents in Lego form?
The first segment of the show introduces us to the world of Lego Simpsons. The Simpson home, along with all of its inhabitants, are made of Lego blocks. These blocks are all intricately detailed and supremely animated; beds (that are obviously made of Lego bricks), homes and even people are destroyed in a shower of blocks in impressive fashion.
So, how do they work in the fact that the Simpson universe is comprised entirely of Legos? Well, that’s actually the crux of the episode. Homer, who is of course the main focal point of the story, goes about his everyday life as a little Lego dude. Homer is also oblivious to the fact that this entire world he’s been living in is a dream he’s having whilst unconscious. You see, while Lego Homer makes his way to the Android’s Dungeon (the Comic Book Guiy’s comic book store) to grab a little girl block building set, he has a flashback of cartoon Homer buying the same set for Lisa. And then the impossible happens: Homer >gasp!< has fun playing with his kid!
Once back in the Lego world, Homer is terrified of the vision he had had. He was fat, squishy and had hands that had fingers that were “snakes…made of meat!” Once that vision happens, however, Homer continues to see his “meat” likeness unfold around him in mirrors, store windows and, eventually, in Church. Homer decides that he wants to ditch the life where everything stays the same and no one ever grows older and live in the meat world. But first he needs to get that playset from the Comic Book Guy…who, by the way, is eeeeeevil! He then sends his minions, which consist of pirate and ninja (or “pajama guys” as Homer calls them) playsets to destroy him. Luckily Bart, who had been reconstructing the school he destroyed, comes in to save the day in a mech he designed from random Lego pieces. Being creatively stymied by Principal Skinner, Bart dreams up some pretty cool weaponry on his personal stomping machine; a lion spewing machine gun and a lightsaber barf from the mech sends the playsets, and Comic Book Guy, into a jumbled mess of blocks. Lego Homer then says his goodbyes and gets zapped back to the real world. Homer mulls over his life lesson about parenting before we get a Men In Black style god of the universe ending.
I love inventive things like this! Outside of the box thinking is few and far between in the television medium and this amalgamation of two all time classics was a breath of fresh air. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the bricks of Springfield shower down around Homer and I was very impressed with the animation of the show. The way that they mixed the computer generated Lego blocks with the traditional animation of the Simpsons was inspiring and very well done. The scenes where Homer was both his Lego and meat likeness were my faves. I will say, however, that even though the episode was well animated and full of charm, the laughs weren’t all that plentiful. Granted, there were some hilarious moments (the bathroom scene where Lego Homer sees his meat reflection is particularly classic), but not quite on the level that I’ve come to expect from The Simpsons.
Overall the episode was very enjoyable and I had a blast watching it with my kids. Of course this was a giant marketing ploy, but at least it made fun of itself more than once in that classic Simpsons tongue in cheek humor (Homer screaming out while waking from a nightmare “It’s not selling…it’s co-branding! CO-BRAAANDING!!!”. I would recommend watching this episode and enjoy reliving at least part of your youth. And while you’re at it, grab a Simpsons Lego set and have a blast building it with your kids!