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Building blocks is no child’s play: The Lego saga continues

Adults playing Lego

When the hit comedy TV series Ted Lasso premiered its third season in March, it featured a nostalgic element: Lego. In the opening episode, Ted’s son Henry gives him a Lego Champions Cup, symbolising their bond until Ted wins the real trophy. Henry then returns to the United States, leaving Ted, played by Jason Sudeikis, to clean up the Lego mess from their building adventures. Including a model of the show’s Nelson Road stadium.

Lego also had a prominent role in the Valentine’s Day episode of the successful comedy Abbott Elementary. Gregory impresses his crush Janine with a bouquet of Lego flowers he bought for his current date. However, it is revealed later that Gregory’s date didn’t appreciate them, leading to their breakup.

Why Lego?

The use of Lego in both instances aimed to convey genuine emotions and a sense of togetherness. According to Brendan Hunt, co-creator of Ted Lasso, the decision to incorporate Lego was made to “connect the schism” Ted feels between his life in London and his son in the United States. The presence of Lego all over the place symbolises the enjoyable time they had together.

Lego’s adult market has grown significantly in the past decade, with AFOLs (Adult Fans of Lego) contributing to a large portion of the company’s income. Sales of Lego products, which were first introduced in plastic form in 1958, increased by 17% in 2022. The brand experienced a boom during the quarantine period, with many people searching for engaging activities. Lego’s adult market has quadrupled over the past decade, and the “kidult market” now accounts for a quarter of overall toy sales.

Torey Strahl, a comedy writer and cartoonist, is one of the adult fans who rekindled their interest in Lego. She bought her sister the Friends Central Perk set, which led them to explore other sets together, such as Seinfeld, Queer Eye, and a tree house. Completing Lego sets gives them a sense of accomplishment, especially with larger sets that have many pieces. Torey prefers following instructions rather than freebuilding, as she enjoys the structure and control it offers.

The emotions behind

Lego has attracted nostalgic consumers with familiar intellectual properties like Friends. While art and design enthusiasts have been drawn to the brand’s botanical collection and interpretations of iconic artworks such as Hokusai’s great wave. Lego’s global head of product for adults, Gen Cruz, emphasizes the importance of aesthetics and displayability for these customers. Lego artist and event manager Allyson Gail creates brick-based food models. That bring colour and joy to her home, providing a contrast to the grayness of the world.

For many adult Lego fans, working with the bricks allows them to explore their creativity and escape from their thoughts. Angus MacLane, an animator and artist, describes Lego as a physical and meditative activity that offers a different kind of thought process. The attention to detail in modern Lego sets, such as the Doctor Strange Sanctum Sanctorum set’s grandfather clock, is admired by fans like Thomas.

Lego continues to captivate both new and long-time fans, offering entertainment-themed sets, architectural replicas, and botanical arrangements. The brand’s appeal lies in its ability to evoke nostalgia, provide a creative outlet. And offer moments of joy and escape in a world that can sometimes feel monotonous.

So, you thought only kids liked playing with building blocks?

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