Everyone’s favourite LEGO reality TV series, LEGO Masters Australia is back for a 2-episode Christmas special, or Bricksmas as it’s being advertised, but with a bonus twist on the well-established formula – throw some Aussie celebrities into the mix!
Episode 1 of Celebrity LEGO Masters Australia just aired, at 7:00pm AEDT on Sunday, with the next episode and finale the following week on Sunday, the 28th of November at the same time.
I generally like LEGO Masters Australia, and have followed most of the seasons here. It’s one of the better and more wholesome reality TV series, and not just because it’s about LEGO and the awesome creations built by the contestants, but because it buck the reality TV trope of drama, and delivers a pretty wholesome television experience.
In the 2-episode special, hosts Hamish and Brickman (aka LEGO Certified Professional Ryan McNaught) LEGO Masters alumni Henry Pinto (who won Season 1), Jay & Stani from Season 2, Michael from Season 3 are joined by
Channel 9 talent Australian celebrities Scott Cam from The Block, Sophie Monk from Love Island Australia, Brooke Boney from The Today Show, and Wippa from radio.
They get paired up with a former LEGO Masters Contestant and form the following teams:
- Henry & Sophie Monk
- Scott & Jay
- Wippa and Stani
- Brooke & Michael
As it’s Christmas, there is no prize money, but $20,000 Australian dollarydoos will be donated to Kmart’s Wishing Tree, and there is a LEGO Trophy to take home. The celebs probably got a nice paycheck out of it, though.
Brickman sets the challenge – to build a Christmas window display in 15 hours, and the teams get to work. As an added twist, each team has access to 1 hour of Brickman’s time, where they can task him to do whatever.
Fast forward through some forced banter, and montages of the builds coming together. Here are their builds:
Henry & Sophie Monk
Henry and Sophie pick an Aussie Christmas theme, and decide to go for a BBQ scene, with some gangster elves.
Henry and Sophie are the first team to “activate Brickman”, and task him with creating a Koala and Kangaroo. The koala in particular looks absolutely terrifying, and reminds me of a dropbear more than a cuddly Koala.
It tends to get bloody hot Down Under at Christmas, so Santa’s brother Dazza (?), and his elves are all half-naked at the Christmas table, and they’re wearing chains around their neck, and an open safe behind them.
I think they look hilarious, like a bunch of bondage Santa and Elves.
We also learn that Sophie doesn’t really have a connection with LEGO, so this was quite a new experience for her.
Scott & Jay
Scott Cam is best known for being on The Block, one of Channel 9’s most commercially successful show as it’s just a giant ad for Bunnings (our home improvement chain store), and whatever brand wants to pay for product placements, as contestants renovate homes to sell at an auction.
Buying, and flipping property is a bit of an Australian hobby, which is why house affordability is one of the poorest in the world, and we have shows like The Block to thank, as well as dumb government policy.
Anyway, Scott and Jay get tasked with building Santa’s Workshop, which is right up Scott’s alley, and he recounts having LEGO as a kid, being enamoured with building “forts and stuff”.
Scott is 58 years old, so that puts him squarely in the era of growing up with Classic Space and Town
They get Brickman to help build Santa, which honestly looks pretty bleh.
But thanks to Jay’s meticulous work, the end results looks pretty awesome, with a large workshop (Scott mostly built all the walls) with plenty of great details such as a conveyor belt for presents being loaded on a Ute (flatbed truck).
There’s a lot going on, while not being too busy and cluttered, and the mechanical conveyor belt does look pretty good. I also like the random pack of dogs.
Wippa and Stani
Wippa (some radio guy) gets paired up with Stani to take on the “Night Before Christmas” theme build, and this was the most painful part of the episode.
I really feel sorry for Stani as Wippa did not seem to be engaged, or interested to be building with LEGO.
There’s a whole dumb plotline about how Wippa’s family spent time with Hamish over Christmas, and Hamish built the Saturn V rocket with his kids, robbing him of the opportunity.
He spends the entire time goofing around with Hamish (they are obviously friends and colleagues on Channel 9), and they go down this silly route of questioning Brickman’s qualifications. It’s just painfully unfunny, and felt extremely forced.
The end results is a pretty nice looking living room scene, with Santa’s legs motorised, dangling from the fireplace, some festive holly, and a really nice looking tree, and even a train running under it.
Wippa’s only contribution to the build is a Die Hard poster with a cyclops Bruce willis next to Nakatomi plaza, and a rug with 1932 on it (the year LEGO was born). Oh and some Christmas socks.
Stani practically carried the entire build, with Brickman contributing the brown armchair.
Brooke & Michael
Brooke Boney is a journalist and presenter on The Today Show (a morning show), and is a proud Gamilaroi woman, which is great for Indigenous representation on Australian commercial TV, where diversity has been pretty terrible (especially Channel 9, who has a pretty bad track record)
Brooke is a breath of fresh air, and for one, is really engaged and seemed to really enjoy being there and playing/building with LEGO, and they both take on the “White Christmas” theme.
She forms a great and instant connection with Michael, and the two get to building. Through their builds, we learn that Brooke never got to play with LEGO as a kid.
For those of you that don’t know, Brooke had a pretty rough upbringing growing up in housing commissions (public housing), raised by a single mother – an unfortunate but not uncommon scenario for Indigenous Australians, who are severely disadvantaged due to decades of government neglect, mistreatment, so that part I think really felt genuine.
She then found her big break in journalism, landing a gig on Triple J (a youth-focused radio channel run by the ABC, Australia’s public broadcaster), before moving to Commercial TV and doing a damn good job being an awesome role model and inspiration for indigenous women.
Brooke and Michael’s build is terrific, a large facade of a house, with Santa’s Sleigh on the roof, being dragged by a solo Rudolph who is mid-flight. The size, scale and fun little Easter Eggs, like presents trailing from Santa’s Sleigh, elaborate Christmas tree, and Snowman were highlights of the build.
Oh, and Brickman also picked up on this fun little Easter Egg of Rudolph urinating in the snow, masterfully brought to life by trans-yellow bricks.
Brickman selects Brooke and Michael, and Scott and Jay as the Top 2… with the winner being Brooke and Michael!
Brickman praised the build technique, vibrant colours, Easter Eggs as well as just how well it filled up the Christmas window, commending how well Brooke took the building with LEGO.
There’s a saying that goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, which I’m guessing the producers of LEGO Masters Australia (and Shine Endemol who create the show and license the LEGO brand) have never heard of in their lives, because Celebrity LEGO Masters Australia Bricksmas Special reduces the best things about the show – Australian LEGO superfans exhibiting their creativiy, and inserts a whole bunch of “celebrities” that simply don’t add any value to the show at all.
Outside of Brooke, I don’t feel like the celebrities added anything to LEGO Masters, and in fact, I think sucked up a lot of airtime and oxygen and made the entire experience much less satisfying than a regular season of LEGO Masters.
The “comedy” bits felt flat, and just didn’t land, instead coming off as quite forced, and the celebrities also didn’t seem particularly engaged with LEGO.
I think it would’ve been nice to select celebrities or public figures with a bit more of a deeper connection to LEGO, or like with Brooke, select someone who was curious and actually felt like she was there not just to do a job, or for a paycheck.
A more diverse celebrity list would’ve also been a bit better – at times, it felt like cross promotion for Channel 9’s other hit reality TV shows (Beauty & the Geek, Love Island, The Block), and just more diversity would’ve been so welcome, on a show that is heavily male and Caucasian-dominated.
That said, it’s important to highlight that the episodes were filmed earlier in the year, when Sydney was in hard lockdown, so travel and filming conditions might’ve made it tricky, but Sydney is the biggest capital city in Australia, so I’m sure if Channel 9 wanted to, they could look beyond their own list of “celebrities” to make it a more diverse lineup.
I just don’t think Celebrities work well on LEGO Masters – they detract and distract what makes LEGO Masters Australia so special. Heck, I would’ve far preferred getting families, or even kids on the show, as that would help retain the “heart” of the show that makes it one of the more beloved LEGO Masters series in the world.
While it’s great to have some LEGO Masters back on Sunday nights, it could’ve been a lot better. Hopefully the finale will be better, but I don’t have very high hopes after today’s episode, although I hope Brooke and Michael win the trophy.
Did you tune in to the LEGO Masters Australia Bricksmas Special today? What did you think of the celebrities and this new format?
The LEGO Masters Australia Bricksmas Special Finale airs next Sunday, 28 November 2021, at 7:00pm AEDT. You can catch up on episodes online via 9Now.