'Simpsons' Lego episode: Behind the writers' favorite inside jokes

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Image Credit: Fox

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Hardcore Lego fans will know that the toy offers several Advent calendars, including Lego City and Star Wars versions, prompting the writers to imagine a Springfield Advent Calendar (complete with Apu boasting to Homer that he’s in the final week of it.) “For us, the fun of the episode was leaving no Lego stone — or no Lego brick — unturned,” says Selman, quipping: “I was like, ‘Is The Lego Movie going to have a Lego Advent calendar joke? I doubt it.’ We wanted to do the deep cuts from the Lego world. And then someone bragging about being closer to Christmas is funny to me.” Adds Kelley: “We definitely debated in the writers’ room which characters would be in there, and which order they would be in. [Director] Matt Nastuk and his designers spent a ton of time designing this thing, because it has to be fun and nice to look at, but it also has to communicate this joke, and not everyone is familiar with these Lego-specific Advent calendars.”

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Image Credit: Fox

To come up with the levels on the Love Tester in Moe’s Tavern, Kelley spent some quality time in his son’s room. “I sifted through his enormous box of Legos, trying to think what makes a Lego piece more interesting than another and what features of a Lego piece gets my son really psyched to have it in his collection,” he says. He decided that “RED 8X2 WITH SLANTY PART AND HINGE!!!” should represent the hottest position, but notes diplomatically: “It did feel like a betrayal to name a most boring piece, because every piece of Lego is obviously crucial and beautiful in its own way. The debate is still going  in my head.” To the right of the Love Tester, another machine received a makeover. “Since there are no cigarettes in the Lego world,” says Selman, “the vending machine sells what every mini-fig needs: Hats and hair.”

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Image Credit: Fox

Behold the large orange statue in the front of the church behind Reverend Lovejoy, which is a Lego brick separator. “It’s worthy of being the symbol of their religion, because it performs a function that no other Lego does, and it is this master piece,” says Kelley. “But I’m interested to see if people get this joke or what they assume that to be, because I’ve shown to this people and they said, “Oh, that’s a rectangle.'” Why is it the central piece of the religion? “It doesn’t look like much but it actually does make taking Legos apart incredibly easy — it doesn’t look like it will and then it does,” he explains. “It is, in that way, miraculous. I think it deserves to have a religion based upon in and its powers of separation.” But isn’t religion about unity and joining together? “I think a miracle is a miracle,” says Kelley, “and you take it where you can get it.” Take notice, as well, of the duck in the stained glass window, which Selman notes is “a reference to Lego’s first hit creation from 1935, a wooden duck pull-toy — before Lego ‘went plastic.'” Extra Sunday school points to those who also noticed the Lego version of that day’s hymns.

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Image Credit: Fox

In the town square, the famous Jebediah Springfield statue received a Lego facelift, right down to the town motto: “A noble spirit embrickens the miniest fig.” Check out the upscale tuxedo shop called Elements of Style — Fine Torsos for Men, and the Plastic Surgery Center, which, as Selman notes, “can make you think you have lost weight by painting a more slender waist onto an identical plastic body.” Details like these weren’t taken lightly. “There was a lot of discussion when we were doing this thing about where the soul of a Lego mini-figure resides — I like the idea that you can just go by a new torso,” he says. “And also: Where do Legos come from? Because they kind of buy themselves. It’s a very strange world. I don’t think we answer any of these questions — we just raise them.”

NEXT: Lego Movie cameos

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