Earlier this evening, Channel 9 aired the second (and final) episode of LEGO Masters Australia very own Bricksmas special – a 2-episode Christmas special featuring past LEGO Masters Australia contestants paired up with Channel 9 “celebrities:.
In case you missed it, check out my recap and review of Episode 1, where I questioned the value these celebs (aka Channel 9 talent) brought to the overall show.
I got back late, so only just caught up via 9Now, so here’s a quick recap of the finale! Obvious spoiler warnings towards the end, so don’t read if you don’t want the winner to be spoiled!
The Bricksmas Challenge – Build the ultimate LEGO set
LEGO is clearly what everyone loves to receive at Christmas, and in a not-so-subliminal attempt to convince Channel 9 viewers to buy LEGO for Christmas presents, Hamish and Brickman unveil the challenge – build the ultimate LEGO set, to fill one of these giant presents under the brick-built LEGO Christmas tree!
The build needed to be in LEGO minifigure scale, as well as dialling up the playability and desirability of the set.
Just like in episode 1, each team get an hour of Brickman’s time, but as a special bonus for winning Episode 1, Brooke and Michael also get an advantage – they get an hour of Hamish Blake’s time as well, notable as he’s never been seen building on the show!
The prize is if course the special LEGO Masters Bricksmas trophy, and also AU$20,000 going towards Kmart’s Wishing Tree Christmas appeal.
With 12 hours on the clock, the teams get to work!
The action in this segment is very reminiscent of classic LEGO Masters – the teams talk about their concepts, and immediately start mapping out their builds, and different areas that they focus on, with frantic trips to the Brickpit.
But reality TV isn’t all reality, and is really scripted TV executed by non-actors, so of course the producers had to throw in a few curveballs to entertain (?) the audiences.
First up is Brooke and Michael getting 1 hour of Hamish’s time – they are skeptical of his abilities, and task him with creating a Grasshopper Bus for their magical Toadstool School idea.
Hamish, being Hamish has something up his sleeve, and reveals that his master plan is to consult Brickman in the Brickpit to get him to design the Grasshopper Bus, and try to re-create it at Michael and Brooke’s table.
The end result is great, and Michael and Brooke are pleasantly surprise, and remain blissfully unaware of Hamish’s scheme.
One of the major pain points of Episode 1 was Wippa’s antics, or more precisely just how much he went out of his way to not build anything – the producers obviously felt like they had struck comedic gold with Wippa, and in Episode 2, decide to double down on a Wippa gag.
Wippa decides that the best way to win the Bricksmas trophy is to steal it, and convinces his partner Stani to also be in on this hair-brained scheme.
The plan is for Stani to create a diversion, by dropping a bunch of bricks on the floor to attract everyone’s attention.
While this is happening, Wippa is on the other side of the room swiping the trophy, and hides it under a yellow present.
Brickman and Hamish then discover that the trophy is missing, and Brickman threatens to penalise the team who is found stealing it with a reduction of 1 hour of build time, and Wippa finally comes clean and secretly returns the trophy back to its rightful position.
This was painful and absolutely cringe at just how forced this entire sequence was. I do like some comedy, but this was unfunny, and so scripted, and poorly acted by all involved (including Brickman acting stern) that they should’ve cut this entire part out.
In a sobering reminder that we are all living through a global pandemic, with 2 hours left to go, Hamish turns up in a Reindeer costume with some bad news – Wippa has got a text informing him that he has been a casual contact to someone who tested positive for Covid-19, and out of an abundance of caution, has to leave the set and isolate.
Which leaves Stani to build solo – which really, doesn’t make that much of a difference since Wippa was doing nothing.
It’s helpful to note – filming of this occurred during the peak of Sydney’s harsh lockdown, so Covid was an ever-present threat then, so this part is definitely quite plausible.
It’s not the end of Wippa though, as he does show up in iPad form to continue to
torment support Stani.
Let’s skip all the way ahead to the final builds!
Stani and Wippa – Castle Battle Build
Stani is an accomplished AFOL and LEGO builder (check out his Instagram to see his incredible LEGO room), and in 12 hours pulls off an impressive Castle Battle Build, because let’s face it, who wouldn’t want a sick LEGO Castle as a LEGO Christmas present?
The design would not look out of place in a LEGO convention, and features Red Knights attacking the Yellow Knights’ keep, which has 4 spires and a spherical tower in the middle.
Pretty damn good, considering he damn near built his single-handedly, and as a fan of Vintage and Classic LEGO – I personally enjoyed seeing this one come together.
Sophie and Henry – Entertainment Chest
Henry and Sophie opt for the element of surprise, with an Chest of Drawers which contain some fun little minifigure-scenes on the inside.
Above the chest is a Christmas present, which has a rock band playing, that bops up and down by turning a crank – a Henry Pinto special..
And on the inside, just what Channel 9 dreams of – four layers of cross-promotion. Each floor is a nod to the television industry, with a distinct Channel 9 flavour.
On the top floor is a nod towards Love Island Australia, followed by a LEGO Masters set, a red carpet for The Logies (the Australian TV awards show), and on the ground floor – a scene from The Today Show, Channel 9’s morning show, which Brooke Boney is a presenter on.
Free promotion of other Channel 9 shows, what more could you want for Christmas?
That said, it was great to see Sophie Monk really engaged here, and she played a huge role in collating all the minifigures, and building these scenes out, so at least she had fun and left her mark on this build.
Scott and Jay – Bush Christmas
Scott and Jay were a treat to watch again, with Scott fairly engaged and enthusiastic about their build, which was Scott’s idea of a perfect LEGO set.
“I love the Australian spirit, and pioneering spirit of the bush. So we’re going to do it like an Australian pioneering sheep and cattle property on a homestead on Christmas day. Classic Aussie bush scene,” Scott said.
“It’s 42 degrees, there’s a 40 knot westerly blowing in off the desert. It’s bringing the fire, it’s threatening the 1860s homestead that was built five generations ago,” Scotty said.
Playabilty was on-point as well, with the roof lifting up to reveal fairly detailed interiors.
Oh, and plenty of LEGO Sheep (from 10775 Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck’s Farm from earlier this year) were employed here – 50 to be exact!
This was a really nice nod to Australiana, and it was nice to see Scott taking the lead on the concept here, and actively brought it to life.
One of the nicer builds, and with the added bonus of keeping it as Strayan’ as possible.
Brooke and Michael’s Toad School
Brooke and Michael decide to go whimsical and magical, with a wonderful school for Fairies, set within an enormour toadstool.
Deciding to tap into her inner child, Brooke was inspired to create a school, given that most kids had missed out on so much in-person learning this year because of the various lockdowns Australia has been subjected to, and Michael added the fairy outdoors garden to it, because he felt like kids really want to get outside after being cooped up indoors all year.
You could tell that just like Episode 1, Michael and Brooke were completely in sync, functioning more like true collaborators instead of a LEGO Master carrying a celebrity contestant.
Not only that, the build was inspired by a dollhouse, with the trunk of the toadstool swinging open to reveal the classrooms – with lessons on potions, astronomy, music and more.
Hamish/Brickman’s Grasshopper Bus was also a key highlight which tied the entire build together.
During the judging, Brickman narrows it down to 2 teams – Scott and Jay, and Michael and Brooke before eventually announcing..
Brooke Boney and Michael Ryan as the winners of the LEGO Masters Australia Bricksmas special for their magical Toad School build!
Extremely well deserved and not a surprise for anyone who tuned in for Episode 1.
Brooke in particular stood out, and was a great teammate, actively contributing and building. It was also great to see her embrace her inner child, and she genuinely seemed happy to be there, and looked like she had a lot of fun, which is the whole point of LEGO Masters Australia.
Well deserved, and congratulations to Brooke and Michael for taking home the Bricksmas special.
Final Thoughts: I really liked seeing more LEGO Masters on TV, and the Christmas special makes a lot of sense for both The LEGO Group, and Nine – it’s generally a quieter time in the schedule as major shows wrap up, and with Christmas approaching, LEGO probably couldn’t resist subliminally prompting Channel 9 viewers to gift LEGO for Christmas.
I don’t think the celebrity angle worked, and added much to the LEGO Masters Australia formula. Brooke and Scott were the two best, with Brooke being an absolute highlight and joy to watch, as she embraced her inner child and fully leaned into the spirit of creativity and play, which gave her team a lot of heart.
While I don’t hate the idea of celebrities, it seems wasteful to not tell their stories, or feature them engaging more with the bricks or minifigures, or their own experiences with LEGO or play.
I think ultimately, with so many of these being marque Channel 9 “celebs”, it just felt like a lazy way to cross-promote The Block, Love Island Australia and The Today Show, all of which were running at the same time as the Christmas special.
A more diverse line-up, or public figures that were selected not because of their proximity, or commercial value to Channel 9 would be so much more watchable, and if they had screened and selected better people who appeared to want to be on the show and play with LEGO – I think it would’ve been a much more enjoyable watch.
While Episode 1 did well in the ratings, I think a lot of people would’ve been turned off by the format, and tuned out for Episode 2, so I don’t think Episode 2’s ratings will be as strong. It certainly seemed so much quieter on Twitter…
That said, it was nice to have 2 more episodes of LEGO Masters, and to see Henry, Stani, Jay and Michael back in action again, and it really made me want to watch a LEGO Masters All Stars, where they bring back teams/contestants from previous seasons to duke it out.
I’d watch that.
Or… as another free suggestion to Channel 9… Pair Wippa up with Kale. I’d LOVE to watch that unfold.
Anyway, that’s it for my recap of the LEGO Masters Australia Christmas special. I hope you enjoyed the writeup! To see more photos, videos and clips, check out Channel 9’s website where I sourced most of these images from.
What did you think of the LEGO Masters Australia Christmas Special?