Sunday Preview: Brick Like Me


Homer finds himself in a world where everyone and everything in Springfield are made of LEGO pieces.

Oh boy I do love Legos. At least I used to play with them a ton when I was but a wee lad. Coincidentally, it was around the same time in my life I loved The Simpsons as well.  Ah, to be young again.

Anyway, aside from all the hype for this episode, and the multitude of news articles with Al Jean quotes about how this is not a marketing ploy, I imagine this is much like the moment when your significant other decides they no longer need to hide the ongoing affair they are having, and instead decides to have sex with your best friend right in front of you.

I am not accusing The Simpsons of secretly hiding any cross-promotional plans or anything for the last 25 years, because frankly their marketing war machine has been an open book.  I am also not saying this is wrong, as I would guess that Simpsons merchandising has to be pushing a billion a year, and in all fairness this is a business.  I am just saying that the idea of this episode in general makes me feel pretty greasy.




69 Responses to “Sunday Preview: Brick Like Me”

  1. 4 May 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Don’t you mean Blocko?

    • 2 Stan
      4 May 2014 at 1:10 pm

      You know, I got that word on my tongue a couple days ago, and actually wondered – do the writers even remember “Blocko” exists?

  2. 5 Stan
    4 May 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Since I won’t be watching it, I’m wondering whether it’s a good idea to watch the movie instead. After reading tons of praise about it, I watched a couple of ass-terrible trailers and still can’t decide on its fate. Though there is a strong chance that for someone like myself, who likes such movies as The Pianist and The King’s Speech, watching this commercial atrocity (the movie, not the ZS garbage) would already considerably lower the bar.

    • 4 May 2014 at 5:59 pm

      I wouldn’t call it a commercial attrocity without actually watching it. I haven’t seen The Lego Movie yet, but Lord and Miller have done good work previously, and the cast is filled with people I like, so I have high hopes for it

    • 8 Rob K.
      4 May 2014 at 10:21 pm

      Stan, please look on IMDB reviews, also the TV Tropes page on The Lego movie, thanks.

      • 9 Stan
        5 May 2014 at 12:17 am

        Ok, I watched it. It has some commercial issues (like the lands they introduce) and ends with Will Ferrell getting a moral lesson for some reason, but besides it being a complete children’s tale, I see no point to like the movie. Not saying everyone should hate it though. It’s just some hackneyed “guy saves world” story that is overdone Lego way just to earn bigger profit.

        Btw, I also don’t think much of David Cameron’s Avatar. I think it’s a movie retelling things you’d see it you watch UN councils battling injustice in Africa or something. But people… we don’t need THESE movies. All of these things, we see them in everyday life, it’s just never that storytold. See what I mean?

        Also, this is the reason I haven’t had a girlfriend in 5 years. Because I don’t eat alphabits for breakfast, and I don’t shit rainbows. I live the real life. Everything is already awesome without all this, btw.

        • 5 May 2014 at 12:21 am

          “See what I mean?”

          I haven’t yet, and I’m sure as hell not going to start now.

        • 5 May 2014 at 12:52 am

          “we don’t need THESE movies” We don’t technically need any movies. They’re not a fundamental component of living.

          • 13 Stan
            5 May 2014 at 1:43 am

            Wrong. Some movies are about historical event and are very interesting to watch imo.

            • 5 May 2014 at 8:52 am

              The key phrase being “imo.” I like movies as much as the next person and there are definitely a lot of great ones out there, but it is a pet peeve when I hear people say “Such and such movie is unnecessary,” as if there are any movies that can be placed in a category with food, water, and oxygen.

              • 15 Stan
                5 May 2014 at 1:16 pm

                Okay, but nobody forces anyone to watch anything. We don’t need to do a lot of things, yet we still do them, right? What I really meant was that some movies are made with the intention of enlightenment, or educational purposes if you want. And some are just pure entertainment. Watching educational movies can sometimes bring experience, make you think and so on. Watching entertainment will only make you consume popcorn and stretch your life about a couple years. But hey, just like with alcohol and tobacco, the choice is yours to make. Personally, I don’t much enjoy entertainment movies, but do think that they ‘could’ exist for the kids. That’s about it.

        • 16 Kokairu
          5 May 2014 at 4:17 am

          David Cameron directed Avatar?

        • 18 LSP
          5 May 2014 at 3:22 pm

          David Cameron? Seriously? Please stop pretending you know about cinema.

          • 19 Rob K.
            6 May 2014 at 12:27 am

            Stan knows what he’s talking about and has Google, Wiki, IMDB, etc. to help him as well like the rest of us btw.

    • 20 John Matrix
      4 May 2014 at 11:20 pm

      Look down your nose much?

  3. 22 FireFlower
    4 May 2014 at 5:12 pm

    The animation is very cute but I have no desire to watch a half hour commercial for Simpsons Legos. It will still have the same terrible writing that finally made me quit watch the show earlier this year.

  4. 24 Guy what overanalyzed two jokes
    4 May 2014 at 10:13 pm

    I actually find it kind of a relieving for the same reason you find it greasy.

    The Zombie Simpsons book put it so perfectly when you described its continuing quality as a soviet truth. And in this case, it seems like they’ve finally dropped to the level where calling it the same show as the Simpsons is just a mere formality.

    “Nedna” was weird and pandering and just hearing about it made me feel gross. Like their vain attempts to stay relevant have gotten as cynical as they’ve gotten desperate. Ugh. Al Jean “teasing” people with an upcoming death is like watching a kid eat bugs for your pleasure.

    Part of that is because is because another point the book raises that I disagreed with (although I get the sense it was being charitable more than anything – no reason to get outright hostile). Namely, that you could reboot it as ‘The Thompsons’ or whatever, and that it’d be a passable show. Maybe when the show was in its teens, but even then, it seems slightly insulting to other screenwriters.

    If this show HAS to still be on the air, I’d be happy with this variety of market-grabbing bullshit, because there’s at least potential for new ideas or jokes. Going balls-to-the-wall crazy might be good. The idea that these people are supposed to be the same characters isn’t even worth entertaining, anymore. It’s downright painful when they run through the motions or try to recapture genius when they can hardly make a coherent script.

    In fact, turning Zombie Homer into a robot was a good start. Where they screwed up was pretending he was ever Homer, or that they could wrench any meaningful story out of it. Some of the last THOH was actually okay – and I doubt it was a coincidence that the good parts had no intention of pretending these were the same characters, like a small bit of the Freaks segment, and nearly all of the Fat in the Hat.

    Christ. I wrote a lot about this lego episode.

    • 25 Guy what overanalyzed two jokes
      4 May 2014 at 10:20 pm

      More aptly put, though:
      I’d hate “How To Buy Action Figure Man” less than “Bart does voodoo and Fat Tony and also hugs”

  5. 5 May 2014 at 12:31 am

    I know this is blasphemous and damning with faint praise but I thought it was easily one of the best episode of ZS in nearly a decade. There was an actual coherent story, Zombie Homer showed flashes of the old Homer, and I had a few genuine laughs.
    The Simpsons is never going to return to its former glory so just go bat shit insane with gimmick episodes like screwing around with different animation styles, guest episode writers, and messing with the typical story structure. I’d rather ZS be a colossal clusterfuck instead of its typical rage inducing dull and stupid self.

    • 28 Zutroy
      5 May 2014 at 12:49 am

      I fully agree with that. It of course does not have the wit or charm of The Simpsons, but I’d say this is my favorite ZS episode since Behind The Laughter.

      This episode they actually made Homer Simpson a likeable character, I know there’s more ZS episodes where he’s not a “Jerkass” but usually when when they portray a caring Homer Simpson they portray him as a complete retard in order to get some cheap unfunny jokes out. The whole “Not wanting to grow up” and retreating to a child’s world plotline was just done on Community (and funnier might I add) but there was an emotional core in Homer feeling rejected when Lisa didn’t want to hang out with him.

      It’s rather self defeating that Homer leaves his Lego dream so he can enter a world where characters age, but he lives in The Simpsons where no one ages anyway so what’s the point?

      “Brick Like Me” is inoffensive and cute, and that’s funny that a cross-promotion episode could blow away any other recent Zombie Simpsons episode of memory. To think there was a time when Groening protested such a thing with “A Star Is Burns.” Of course that was The Simpsons, when there was a show worth protecting.

      • 29 Stan
        5 May 2014 at 1:46 am

        Is it any close to the Lego movie where a supposed-to-be-there moral lesson was supposed-to-be-learned?

        • 30 Zutroy
          5 May 2014 at 4:17 am

          Yeah definitely, they even make a little joke out of it by Homer saying this was a completely original story while you see the a giant display model of Emmet being moved in the background.

          It’s not a great episode of television, but the fact that it didn’t upset me makes me think this was a great episode of Zombie Simpsons.

          • 31 Stan
            5 May 2014 at 4:35 am

            Hm, but don’t you find it weird all the same that a show has to rely on gimmicks from another show to remain watchable? I mean, this is as shameful as it get, even if we drop the “Simpsons” thing… they themselves admit they go THAT low to gain ratings. Lego just got a blowjob, in other words.

            • 32 Zutroy
              5 May 2014 at 9:21 am

              That’s a real Catch 22, watch the show you adored completely defile its legacy or watch it whore itself out to a popular brand.

              Zombie Simpsons has done both of those at the same time (infamously with “Lisa Goes Gaga”). This episode gave me a few legit chuckles, I really thought it was cute that Maggie was made out of Duplo Blocks and thus dwarfed the rest of the family. And I can’t think of any other ZS episode that made me physically laugh.

              Zombie Simpsons can’t sink any lower, soon for every good episode of The Simpsons there will be two shitty Zombie episodes. I really don’t care if they do a 30 minute toy ad, especially when they managed to put some effort into it.

              • 33 Stan
                5 May 2014 at 1:31 pm

                Your comment kinda reminded me of a dialogue part from the movie:
                – But dad, it says here “Ages 8 to 14”!
                – That’s a suggestion.

                We get the irony of a once great show to sell any of its remaining values in order to remain funny, it’s a lot like when a grown up buys Lego and plays with it. Sure, it’s doable. To some extent, it can ever relieve the stress from work and such. But is it normal? Well…

                At least I hope the Zombie Simpsons I know would really take a long time to start spawning racist/sexist/sodomist jokes, unlike those Family Guy bastards.

                • 34 Zutroy
                  5 May 2014 at 7:17 pm

                  Jeez, Zombie Simpsons stole that joke basically word for word. Lego Bart complains that the schoolhouse he has to assemble is for 13 year olds and Skinner scolds him saying the age suggestion is a conservative estimate.

                  Anyway The Simpsons sister show King of the Hill also went several seasons too long. The satire became far less biting and just the general humor faded as well. But KOTH turned into what felt like a feeble “Slice of Life” comedy, the characters stayed the same for the most part very rarely was there an episode that was downright hilarious anymore, it just became something quaint that I can tune into and relax while watching.

                  “Brick Like Me” almost gives me a sense of what could have happened in an alternate universe, where the Simpsons still jumped the shark but instead of turning into something spitefully horrible and stupid they just became dull and boring like King of the Hill did.

                  I don’t think of it as Selling Out because only a couple veterans are still involved with The Simpsons, everyone who made the show left long ago, it’s an institution now. And this episode wasn’t great by any means but I just don’t hate it as much because there was some effort put into it. I’m happier with something coasting into its golden years instead of trying its best attempts to ruin its legacy.

                  • 5 May 2014 at 8:07 pm

                    My brother used to hate KOTH & found it boring & unfunny, so your 3rd paragraph is pretty accurate. Also, ‘institution’ is a good word for what the Simpsons has become. :)

                  • 37 Al Gore Doll
                    5 May 2014 at 10:48 pm

                    “coasting into its golden years”

                    Imagine if King of the Hill continued to this day at the same quality trajectory. Would you be praising it as much? These kinds of sentences only work in hindsight, for all we know The Simpsons will keep airing until FOX broadcasting company goes bankrupt. A waste of time is a waste of time, and when you watch a “comedy”, you’re supposed to laugh, not sit there wallowing in confusion and disgust like so many of us have thanks to ZS.

                    • 38 Victor Dang
                      11 May 2014 at 11:47 am

                      That’s a very good point. What Zutroy is suggesting is to choose between either a piece of barf or a piece of crap, but what’s the point of choosing? They’re both terrible, but one slightly less than the other.

    • 39 Joe H
      5 May 2014 at 2:52 am

      Considering the extremely low standards of ZS as a whole, I can’t really disagree that this was one of the better ones even with such a hyperbolic opening statement. Wringing out any entertainment out of the show is praiseworthy in its own right.

      Though I disagree on the point that this episode didn’t have dull, stupid sequences. That whole scene in which Homer takes an eternity explaining to Lisa why spending time with her is usually boring made me wish I was playing Candyland instead of sitting through that drawn-out witless rant.

  6. 41 Joe H
    5 May 2014 at 2:44 am

    Anyone else find the Lego portions more entertaining than the standard animated segments? I’d agree it was one of the best if it didn’t have so much of the standard “real world” segments. Those bits are just as bad as what we’ve seen all season. It was only the Lego portions that had any life to them, and mostly because some actual care was put in the animation.

    Did anyone else notice the hybrid 2D animated sequences looked a heck of a lot better than the regular animated sequences (such as Lego Homer looking at his reflection).

    Also I’m a little disappointed they went the Homer 3 (cubed) route with this. Seems too much like a retread with the weird multiverse thing they had going. Not to mention it didn’t make much sense how Homer, of all people, could create such an intricate world in his mind given how brain-dead Zombie Homer is.

    Lastly, I’m suppose to buy that Homer and his family will actually age and/or be mortal in his regular animated universe. Sorry to break it to you Homer, but after 25 years you still haven’t aged a day and your daughter will never grow up (physically).

    On the bright side, CBG’s boring newlywed wife seemed retconned out of existence.

    • 42 Stan
      5 May 2014 at 3:00 am

      Haven’t you heard? Homer had severe radiation influence from his work which restraints him from aging. Marge has a cancerous tumor on her head which makes her hair stay up and also affects her age. Bart is actually a Korean midget hired to play his role at the age of 10. Lisa was given growth hormones to stay a dwarf all her life. And Maggie is actually killed every time she hits 2 years old, and replaced with a 1 year old baby cloned by Kang and Kodos… What? What do you mean “I’m makin all this up as I go”? Don’t you read Uncyclopedia?

    • 44 Zutroy
      5 May 2014 at 3:07 am

      “On the bright side, CBG’s boring newlywed wife seemed retconned out of existence.”

      I’m so glad I have no idea what you’re talking about. Comic Book Guy is a simple stock character that ZS completely failed to flesh out, it makes me shudder to remember that horrid episode when he dated Agnes Skinner. Him getting married sounds completely dull filled with dated references to nerd culture.

    5 May 2014 at 3:21 am

    Very cute episode :)

  8. 50 Brad M
    5 May 2014 at 9:58 am

    I thought it was a surprisingly good episode, even some of the non-Lego parts like Homer bailing on his plan with Lenny were pretty funny. I’m also really surprised how much adult content the Lego company let them get away with!

  9. 51 Cesar Underpants
    5 May 2014 at 10:28 am

    hahaha 38 comments and the day has barely started, is this a record?

    • 52 Stan
      5 May 2014 at 1:19 pm

      The record was 70 something one time. You must be new here. Let me show you how to successfully troll DHS without getting banned.

  10. 53 Rob K.
    5 May 2014 at 12:28 pm

    I wanted to add here that every time I see the word brick I automatically think of Paramore’s excellent music video on youtube “Brick by Boring Brick” :)

  11. 5 May 2014 at 12:55 pm

    This Lego episode might of been an elaborate shill for The Simpsons playsets but it was no where near as bad as how the show worships Apple or arguable the worst ZS episode ever Lisa Goes Gaga. At least to me it seemed like for the first time since the Maggie Simpson film short The Simpsons actually tried to be entertaining.

    Product placement isn’t going anywhere in mainstream media and it wasn’t as blatant as Saturday cartoons were. He-Man and G.I. Joe might as well been Mattel infomercials. There is a reason Parks and Recreation make damn sure you see all their laptops have Windows 8 or that the Transformers transform into Chevrolet cars and trucks. Hell I’ve seen clips of CBS shows like Hawaii 5-0 and NCIS that literally have the actors do an ad in the middle of the show talking about how great Bing is or how sweet their new Ford SUV is than go back to solving crime or whatever they do like nothing happened.
    Do we forget that Bart Simpson has been a sellout since before the show even started? Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger!

  12. 55 Stan
    5 May 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Wikipedia says there were some parodies of The Hunger Games in the episode. What does that have to do with anything?

    • 56 Joe H
      5 May 2014 at 1:49 pm

      The Lego shill wasn’t enough. There’s and extremely poorly concieved subplot in which Lisa has generic cool friends that popped out of nowhere (and won’t be seen since) that are obsessed with watching “The Survival Games”

      Also, even with all the supposedly great ideas they had for this episode, even their best writer couldn’t fill up 21 minutes of relevant storyline, so we got this 30 second long bit with Lisa and her friends (and Homer and Marge for some reason) watching an unfunny parody while Homer cracks some unfunny jokes. A typical ZS ending that does nothing but diminish what was suppose to be a “special” episode of the Simpsons.

      • 57 Joe H
        5 May 2014 at 1:54 pm

        Oh, yeah and CBG makes a huge Lego construction of the “Survival Games” lead character that crushes Homer and gives him a concussion. Naturally, Homer would go out of his way to watch the movie after nearly being killed or crippled by the lead character of the IP.

      • 58 Stan
        5 May 2014 at 1:58 pm

        Alright. But then, even considering all this, people are still saying it was the best ZS episode in the recent years?

        • 59 Al Gore Doll
          5 May 2014 at 10:51 pm

          If I force-fed you meals of pure sod for years and finally let you eat weeds, would it be the best meal in recent years?

          • 60 Stan
            6 May 2014 at 12:23 am

            You’d have me go on a hunger strike after my third meal. Wrong person. But yeah, I get the idea.

  13. 61 Anonymous
    5 May 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Yes, who can forget the episode of the Simpsons where Homer spends over 20 minutes trying to steal Bart’s Butterfinger or the classic award-winning episode in which Homer is living in a fantasy world devoted to eating and selling Butterfinger candy bars and associated products using state of the art animation in which they are interacting with real-life candy bars.

    The show certainly had some outside promotion in the early days, but they never rubbed your face in it in the actual show.

    While it’s far less painful than their celebrity ass-kissings, it wasn’t far off the mark. And it wasn’t the playsets they were shilling, they were also desperate to ride on the coattails of the feature film, which they not only paid homage to, they trotted out the standee in the background in case some people unfamiliar with the movie didn’t catch the plug.

    And let’s not forget that Homer spent several minutes explaining why playing with Legos was more entertaining than playing other childrens’ games, culminating in a massive contest in which the whole town went Lego-crazy for some reason.

  14. 5 May 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Yeah I know ZS is a wretched pile of shit but it is 22 minutes a week and I feel like I have this obligation to see this show that brought me so much joy as a child through to the bitter end. Having literally seen every episode of The Simpsons I notice that on a rare occasion when the planets align and the moon is full that an episode ZS isn’t complete garbage.
    When you compare these watchable ZS episodes with a bad episode of a good cartoon like Archer or Bob’s Burgers it still sucks but when you compare it to other ZS episodes it is a breath of fresh air. Yes the Hunger Games stuff and the blatant shilling were awful but at least there were enough decent gags to make this a tolerable episode. At this point a win for ZS is not to remind me of a much better classic episode and to contain at least one funny joke. So mission accomplished for this episode.

    • 63 Frank
      5 May 2014 at 3:13 pm

      ugh – Archer used to be great – then it went total downhill with season 4 – and don’t talk to me about season 5

      • 5 May 2014 at 3:27 pm

        I liked Season 4 espicially the opener and the finale. Season 5 wasn’t good but I give the show some credit for trying to take the show in a new direction.

    • 66 Al Gore Doll
      5 May 2014 at 10:52 pm

      You need to leave this abusive relationship.

  15. 67 ecco6t9
    5 May 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Did I like this episode, kinda. But I can honestly say despite a few flaws I do not hate this episode.

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