‘The Simpsons’ Executive Producers Al Jean and Matt Selman Talk Going LEGO, the Epic FXX Marathon and More

The Simpsons Season 25 Episode 20 Brick Like Me (4)

The Simpsons have celebrated their share of landmarks over the series’ 25 years on TV, but tonight, Sunday, May 4th at 8PM ET/PT the family is going somewhere they have never gone before: LEGO. The episode, “Brick Like Me,” finds Springfield transported to a Lego world where only Homer realizes something is amiss. TV Equals recently joined a conference call with The Simpsons‘ executive producers Al Jean and Matt Selman to discuss what inspired “Brick Like Me,” the upcoming 12-Day marathon on FXX and yes, the already infamous upcoming death of a character in the season 26 premiere.

Why The Simpsons Are Getting Lego-Fied

“Brick Like Me” has been two years in the making and will consist of roughly 17 minutes of LEGO CGI animation. As Selman put it, “we used up our full budget of bricks.” Jean added it was possibly the “most labor intensive” episode of The Simpsons they have ever done. So why do it then? The answer is two-fold: a love of Legos and all they represent and to tell a story rooted in family; specifically, in fathers bonding with their children.

Jean and Selman said they never considered giving the episode a point of view character other than Homer because they wanted to tell a story that reflected their own family dynamic, that of fathers finding something they can enjoy with their kids. “Sometimes playing with your kids if you’re a dad can be very boring, but actually building something with them is stimulating and fun, and so to rediscover LEGO through them is probably what pushed us also to want to do an episode,” said Selman.

Selman noted than when he and episode writer Brian Kelley pitched the idea to Jean and Jim Brooks their direction was the episode had to have “real family emotion at the heart of it, or it’s just going to be a bunch of craziness.” As a result, they channeled the feeling that they are now the “Homers of their own lives” into the storytelling.

No, They Are Not Ripping Off The LEGO Movie (Or Capitalizing on Merchandising)

The world has gone LEGO crazy recently, but as mentioned before, “Brick Like Me” has been in the making for two years. While comparisons to the blockbuster hit The LEGO Movie are inevitable, the episode’s creation pre-dates the film and The Simpsons tie-in with LEGO. “I was nervous about the movie, like oh it’s going to be too similar or redundant, because some of the themes are similar and they both involve sort of traveling back and forth between real world and toy world,” said Selman. “But watching both of them I feel that it’s a complementary story to the LEGO Movie and they kind of go hand-in-hand rather than being contradictory.”

Meanwhile, the people at LEGO were instrumental in getting the episode to the screen. “LEGO was really helpful to us in holding our hands through the animating process and teaching us how to use CGI brick animation and make the show look as beautiful as it did,” Selman continued.

As for the LEGO/The Simpsons tie-in, it was not part of a promotional plan. Jean referred to it as nothing more than “delicious gravy in a red brick.”

“Brick Like Me” And Its LEGO Easter Egg Hunt

“Brick Like Me” is designed to reward viewers who view it multiple times. The executive producers revealed they wanted to make the world as real as possible, so the background is full of fun Easter eggs for LEGO lovers. Pay extra attention to the love tester at Moe’s and check out all of the photos in the background.

Their only regret is not being able to add in a LEGO “Itchy and Scratchy” segment.

On Making It To 550 Episodes And Beyond

Neither Jean nor Selman were surprised The Simpsons have made it this far (although they are both grateful). They noted as long they have the family and the world continues to give the series ideas to turn into stories, the series will continue going strong. Jean noted they are gunning for Lassie and its 588 episode record though.

As for what is coming up, more couch gags from guest animators, a full-on Stanley Kubrick segment in the fall’s “Treehouse of Horrors,” Judd Apatow’s previously unproduced episode which will feature Homer and Bart becoming best friends and a new teacher for Bart, who probably will not last, but will be very different from Mrs. Krabappel. Then of course, there is also the looming death in season 26’s premiere. While the character is not necessarily iconic, it is a “great character.” Selman jokingly called the impending death, “The yellow wedding.” (That’s just a Game of Thrones reference guys, not a clue.)

Why You Should Watch The 12-Day Marathon On FXX

This August, FXX will run a 12-day episode featuring every episode of The Simpsons. Why you should watch? “If you watch the marathon, every episode in the whole marathon, only at one time the secret clues will reveal the real location of Springfield,” Selman (definitely) joked.

In reality the marathon and The Simpsons‘ World website FXX is building will act as a repository for all things Simpsons. The treasure trove will give fans a way to instantly access the trivia they have always wanted at the touch of their fingers, while the marathon itself will act as a reminder of the series’ rich history–and maybe even introduce a new generation to the family that has been a part of the American TV landscape for more than two decades.

The Simpsons Season 25 Episode 20 Brick Like Me (7)

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