Lego Masters: The First Season
February 11, 2020 7:09 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Will Arnett is not quite the right host for this, but the two actual Legoistes (Amy Corbett and Jamie Berard) who co-host are pretty good. Some of the drama is a little obviously spiced up in the editing room (especially Sam as overbearing asshole to Jessica), but that's what you get in these kinds of shows.

All in all, I give the first episode a B, and they definitely have room to grow.
posted by Etrigan at 7:45 AM on February 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Will Arnett's over the top cheesiness is making it kinda fun though! My kids are in love with this and I think they're going to especially love the episode where the creations all get dramatically smashed. I am enjoying some of the partner dynamics, especially the two lumberjack-looking dudes (who met in the LEGO aisle of a store! How adorable!)
posted by Night_owl at 10:38 AM on February 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

I think Will Arnett was jealous of his ex-wife Amy Poehler's Making It show! Will acted as I expected, goofy and frequently awkward. I also found a couple of the teams a bit awkward to watch (weird newlywed kiss, I'm looking at you), and it does seem like some of the contestants are way more skilled than others, but I found it mostly enjoyable. It was really nice that nobody got sent home on the first challenge!

I will say I did not feel like these are regular people the same way I felt about the Making It creatives (as an example). Many seemed overly dressed up and everyone has perfect teeth and hair and maybe they all get time in the make-up chair but geez. (From the Hollywood Reporter article above, "Each pair has been costumed for "maximum persona," from the square newlyweds and flannel-clad beardos to the big-haired Ozark mamas and alt-sexy cosplay chicks.") Yeah, that.
posted by Glinn at 12:15 PM on February 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Haven’t watched this yet, but I’m wary, now, having read that snippet from the Hollywood Reporter article. My wife’s friends were in that a capella competition show from a few years back, and since they were from Boulder, CO, the producers made them wear flannel shirts and what not. Because Boulder = what? = mountain+granola+grunge?
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 1:10 PM on February 14, 2020

I've met one of the team from Portland (he works for the company that put in our furnace) and he's exactly like he is on TV. Going from that, I don't think there's much manipulation of appearances (for at least some of the teams). In the latest episode Lady Big Hair is eliminated and I came to the conclusion that she absolutely cannot hide her emotions - she looks awful when she's called up as one of the bottom teams in Ep 2. I don't think her persona in Ep 1 is fake, she is just 100% out there.
posted by fiercekitten at 9:29 AM on February 15, 2020

Watching this show is an exercise in frustration. I personally find Arnett perfectly fine for the show- he's just cheesy enough for being what is functionally a kids show, the structure is fine, but instead of showing us detailed footage of the builds, or just more detail into the techniques they use.

The Sam/Jessica dynamic is just so uncomfortable, and it's doubly obnoxious because a show like this (at least, I assume...I hope?) goes through several levels of auditions and an actual selection process. These two were selected to participate in this show, and there's no way this dysfunction was like, hidden until the last minute. Some producer was like "these two are awful, this is going to be great tv." That kind of assholery isn't something I like watching. Even my kid called them out on the apology and blurted out "SHE SEEMS REALLY UNHAPPY" during the weird, forced apology. We didn't need that entire thing, and for met at least, it soured the whole episode.

I wish shows like this didn't rely so much on manufactured drama. It's a contest, and that's really all the 'conflict' the show needs.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:12 AM on February 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

These two were selected to participate in this show, and there's no way this dysfunction was like, hidden until the last minute.
Although [Sam] Hatmaker is an experienced Lego artist, he says learning to build with a partner for the show was a challenge, exacerbated by dozens of cameras tracking their every move.

“For most Lego builders, it’s a very solitary hobby, you do it by yourself,” he said. “So doing it with somebody else is definitely challenging, there’s a learning curve.”

“We had never worked together before,” he added. “We had known each other in the art world, but [Jessica] had never built 3D before at all, she had only built mosaics things ... it was definitely challenging.”
I'm guessing that the producers realized early on that he's something of an asshole and wouldn't work well with anyone, and then wanted to pair him with Jessica because being an asshole to the conventionally attractive woman instantly makes him a villain.
posted by Etrigan at 9:40 AM on February 17, 2020

Ok that bridge building challenge was insane. I'm still in shock that two were able to support at least half a ton!
posted by Carillon at 9:03 PM on March 12, 2020

So, all in all, I liked this show, but more as background viewing. I'm glad it got the chance to show off the various styles and flavors of Lego art. I hope they -- like Legoistes -- keep making them and improve on the basic idea as they go.

That said, Amy and Tyler shouldn't have won. I realized they were going to in about the third-to-last episode, when after practically no coverage in the first two-thirds of the season, they were suddenly getting more than their share of in-process interviews and life-story stuff. Then Jessica and Sam's whole "They can't work together!" story -- and Sam's villain status -- got more or less dropped rather than resolved. I wonder how much of it was changed in editing after the first few episodes aired.

No word on a second season yet, but the ratings were pretty decent, especially since it's got to be pretty cheap to produce, so people are optimistic.
posted by Etrigan at 6:51 AM on April 24, 2020

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