Homer Simpson has always been a bit of blockhead but never more so than in the upcoming LEGO special “Brick Like Me.”
Homer wakes up to find that the entire town of Springfield as well as all of its residents are made from the classic children’s building blocks. It’s not that different, visually at least.
“Both styles and similar and deceptive in their simplicity,” showrunner Al Jean told TV Guide. “When you get right down to it, LEGO is just bricks, and Matt Groening’s design for our characters is really just eyeballs and a few lines.”
Of course, there are some fundamental differences between plastic and flesh. Homer finds himself facing an existential crisis of having to choose between the idyllic LEGOland where everyone fits in and no one ever gets hurt or the real world where he can properly strangle Bart without knocking his block off.
It’s the most expensive episode ever, in the works since 2012. It began as a proposal by the toy company to do a LEGO couch gag back but the show insisted on doing an entire episode. The CG animation was exacting working that meant no room for last minute changes once the 3D models were completed.
Fanboys can breath easy. Nearly every character will make an appearance in a scene at the Springfield church, which features a stained glass window with a wooden duck that was one of LEGO’s first toys. Just one of many Easter eggs hidden throughout the episode.
“We pushed as much as we could to get everyone into those pews,” co-executive producer Brian Kelley revealed. “We were like, ‘More characters! More character!’ because we knew our audience would hate us if any of their favorites didn’t get to be LEGOs. You won’t see Señor Ding Dong or the Grumple, but I think we crammed in everyone else.”
Not surprisingly, there’s a commercial aspect that touts the toy ability to bring families together. Homer and Lisa have a rare father-daughter moment while building a LEGO castle.
“In speaking his goofy version of the truth, Homer admits what a lot of us dads secretly feel–that we don’t really like playing with our kids,” said Matt Selman, executive producer and former world’s greats dad. “Let’s face it, playing with stuffed animals or having a tea party is really boring for adults. But if you’re actually building something with your children, then it’s a completely different experience–one that’s much more stimulating and satisfying and cool. Parents and kids have been bonding that way over LEGO bricks for decades.”
The uncharacteristically family-friendly episode does have some adult humor, including a LEGO sex scene between Homer and Marge. It had to be toned down so we’ll never know exactly what happened between the sheets but considering their perfect anatomical asymmetry, it was probably something along the lines of insert tab A into slot B with a locking into place sound. What we do know is that they love each other to pieces, literally! The morning after their body parts are scattered about the bedroom.
LEGO received a less reverent treatment in the classic episode “Hungry, Hungry Homer.” The Simpsons visited a parody version of the Legoland theme park called Blockoland, which the children described as “meh.” Selman jokingly threatened to walk out of an interview with Entertainment Weekly when asked whether that episode is still canonical.
The Simpsons Lego special premieres 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 4.