'The Simpsons' get Lego makeover for 550th episode

The Simpsons star as Lego characters to mark its 550th anniversary. (FOX Handout)

The Simpsons star as Lego characters to mark its 550th anniversary. (FOX Handout)

Bill Harris, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:37 PM ET

Homer Simpson, you blockhead.

Wait, that was Charlie Brown. Also, in the upcoming Lego episode of The Simpsons, the heads actually are kind of round.

Nonetheless, it's a real block party on The Simpsons this Sunday, May 4 on Fox and Global, with a new episode titled Brick Like Me. Homer wakes up to find his entire world – including himself and his family – is made of Legos.

“I just learned there's a Lego movie, so I hope it's as good as this episode,” joked executive producer Al Jean. But then Jean added truthfully, “It actually was two years in the making. The episode was in production long before any of us had seen the movie or knew anything that was in it.”

Rather than contradicting or repeating each other, Jean said the episode and the movie (which came out in February) kind of “interlock.” Oh, you crazy guys and your “CG brick animation” humour.

What struck me as particularly funny about The Simpsons' Lego episode is the physical transformations of some of the characters. Comic Book Guy, for example, looks great, as if he has been on quite a diet. Marge, meanwhile, seems to have put on a few pounds.

“That's funny,” said Matt Selman, also an executive producer on The Simpsons. “The fat people in town got slimmer. We drew little bellies on. And the thinner people got wider.

“We put in so many funny little Lego reference background jokes, at every opportunity we could find. From the photos in the back, to stuff in the church, to the love-tester at Moe's, we tried to do 100% 'Legoification' to really reward the viewer who will go back and see how obsessively we mushed these things together.”

This happens to be the 550th episode of The Simpsons. Is that really a milestone anniversary? “I had always predicted we'd get to 549, so I'm astonished,” Jean said.

Jean then pointed out that Lassie aired 588 episodes. When Selman said something about how “that pile of dead dogs that played Lassie isn't going to know what hit it,” you could hear Jean's voice crack with laughter as he warned his cohort, “Don't 'Donald Sterling' yourself.'” Apparently the name of the disgraced owner of the Los Angeles Clippers already has become a verb.

Looking ahead on The Simpsons, A Clockwork Orange will be the theme for next season's Treehouse of Horror episode, and a character will die in the season premiere this fall.

“I'd say it's going to be a bigger deal than King Joffrey on Game of Thrones,” Jean said. But then he clarified, “To reiterate what I said (previously), the character that dies is portrayed by an actor who won an Emmy for playing that character. People then reported that we were killing an 'iconic' character, but I would like to say, it's a great character, but I never used the word 'iconic.'”

“But in the Lego episode you can't die,” Selman said. “That's one of the rules.”

Alive or dead, Lego or cartoon, and 550 episodes into their run, The Simpsons continue to expand their empire, brick by brick.

Twitter: @billharris_tv

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

 


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