Thursday, 13 November 2014

The Big Bang Theory Passes LEGO Ideas Review

Firstly, congratulations to Alatariel and GlenBricker for getting The Big Bang Theory set commissioned and to DeTomaso for the Birds set. The competition is fierce, and as more sets reach the LEGO Ideas Review Stage passing becomes an even more impressive feat. There is no doubt that those who put forward these projects put in the work and passionately want their project to become an official LEGO set. The following article will, however, question what LEGO are thinking and what fans want from the plastic brick.

The Big Bang Theory has frequent references to sex and storylines focused on sex. It’s not terribly overt – this popular sitcom is shown at teatime here in the UK – but there’s a lot of men hitting on women (albeit badly). That doesn’t seem a good fit for LEGO, much like the Shawn of the Dead project didn’t due to the level of violence involved. LEGO have commissioned this project purely for the adult geek dollar, and disregarded all of the usual prerequisites of what brands fit with LEGO and what ought to make a LEGO set.

Some properties lend themselves more to LEGO than others, and furthermore some narrative forms lends themselves to LEGO more. For example, big space fantasy such as Star Wars works due to the various vehicles and locations for fans to build. Intimate character driven stories set in the real world do not, as the world the characters inhabit is the same that we live in. LEGO City caters for this world. Sitcom in general does lend itself to imaginative LEGO product, as generally sitcoms take place in a few interior locations. 

This suggests that The Big Bang Theory set reached 10,000 supporters, and has now passed review, due to the mini-figures as whilst fans may know the interior flat very well, it is in no way iconic like the Millennium Falcon,  Ecto-1 or Delorean. But if LEGO were to just trot out a set so fans of a show could have their favourite characters in mini-figure form then we’d end up with mini-figures without sets, and where would that leave us? Oh right, with a series of The Simpsons Minifigures.

What’s stranger, is that in the past year there have already been Big Bang Theory Mini Mates released, a series of blocky figures like larger mini-figures. So those who want blocky Big Bang characters can get them. Or is it because they specifically want Big Bang Theory characters as LEGO mini-figures, rather than other brands? I don’t get it. My personal favourite US comedies are probably Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development and VEEP, but I see no reason to desire the lead characters as mini-figures. I just don’t see the appeal.

LEGO are already trying to push this idea that the mini-figure is all important, seemingly so important that the bricks in the box are just an added bonus. Depressingly a number of collectors seem to have already bought into this, as evidenced by the lack of appreciation in price by the midi-scale Star Wars sets. All this can lead to is our favourite construction toy turning into another micro scale figure line. Boo to that. Thank goodness that the Birds project has passed too, proving that there is some clamour for an honest-to-goodness I-remember-when-it-was-just-basic-bricks building set.

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