WARNING: Spoilers below.
Not so long ago, many of us were swept by the hype that the Simpsons are getting Legoized. “Brick Like Me,” the result of said hype has a ham-fisted lesson about father-daughter bonding, a few cute gags, and some moral about how maybe we place our full trust in worlds where the everything is in order and blah-blah-blah.
Homer’s latest escape from the mundane world is Lego because he bonds with his daughter over a Princess Shop playset and he won’t let a Hunger Games-type movie phenomenon take Lisa away. Before Homer is knocked out by the toy blocks, the first two acts suggest that this episode is a Crisis on Earth Lego within a possible multiverse. The plot branches off when Lego Homer suddenly acquires human hands. Outside of some jokes at religion and other freaky hijinks, that sci-fi stuff isn’t a big deal.
Lego Springfield isn’t that much different. There’s Krusty, the Android’s Dungeon, Reverend Lovejoy, and the school. Oh, and Maggie is giant-sized; maybe she was the only Duplo Simpson left in the store. The most potential of “Brick” isn’t from Homer & Lisa — long-time fans have seen this play out before — but from anarchic Bart rebuilding Springfield Elementary in his image. As punishment for destroying the school over a skunk, Bart’s supposed to rebuild the school as designed.
Bart reimagines the school to have cool things like skateboard ramps, ziplines, and Ralph assisting the computer lab. At the climax where Bart crafts a makeshift mech to allow Homer to get to the Princess Shop playset thus returning to reality, the genuine Lego DIY spirit shows through. We should all relate to being “creative, undisciplined builders” at some point in our world-making lives.
Homer comes to his senses that living life and ultimately experiencing death is much better than Lego and we’re back to Simpsons Status Quo. Maybe younger fans would be impressed, but this is too saccharine, especially the part where Homer earnestly is looking forward to seeing his kids grow up. This episode is a bunch of pieces put together to make something familiar, but a bit sloppy. True to Lego, indeed.
P.S. I was amused by the Lego Movie reference despite never seeing it.
P.P.S. That was a golden opportunity to put Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson somewhere in the final panning sweep through the universe.