In the sake of full disclosure, let me be up front about one basic fact: I do not like The Big Bang Theory. I’ve watched it… in fact, I used to watch it all the time, but it’s a show that gets cheap laughs by making fun of nerd culture in a terribly way. Nerd culture is easy to make fun of, and there are a lot of funny things about it… but this show relies instead on absurdity and stereotypes to get the laughs. Basically, it’s a show that needs to “punch down” to get laughs, and those types of shows only survive as long as it’s acceptable to make fun of those groups (shows that do things like this to a religious view, a minority, or an orientation get criticized into oblivion quickly).
That’s kind of a shame, honestly, because there are some legitimately funny moments and writing in the show, things that get honest laughs without stupid (and wrong) stereotypes. Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock comes to mind (and I own that on a shirt)… that is still probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on TV. The show has also done a lot to grow and change characters, and it has a far more balanced cast after adding Amy and Bernadette in later seasons.
And, like the show or not, there are a whole ton of people that do. It’s consistently in the top for TV comedies (it’s been #2 the past couple of years), so the market makes sense. Given that it’s a Warner Brothers show, it’s another set that points to a pretty cozy relationship between LEGO and WB (who also owns DC Comics). Since LEGO also has an equally close relationship to Disney/Marvel, I’m starting to wonder if they are our best bet for negotiating world peace. At $60, this is the most expensive ideas set we’ve gotten thus far. It also comes in at 484 parts, but that is one of the most deceitful part counts ever… maybe in a good way. It carries a whopping seven minifigures, though, so there may be some value here after all…
I somewhat enjoy the Ideas line, even though I’ve gone on record a few times as just hating the Ideas concept. I think it hurts the MOC community as a whole, and it’s made it harder for us to feature things on the site (because we are not a billboard). Yet without it, we would have never gotten things like Ecto-1, the Exo-Suit (which is retiring soon, go buy one), or the Scientists set. Even better… since it’s such a set-specific line, it’s a lot easier to skip a set that you don’t really want.
This set, perhaps more than any other LEGO has ever made, is all about the minifigures. It’s a sitcom, after all, and that makes it all about the characters. The bigger challenge is that it’s a comedy sitcom that features fairly distinct, unique, and strong characters. Also, maybe someone that’s watched the show in the last few seasons can help me understand what the dog is doing in this set…
Sheldon is one of the more memorable characters to grace TV in recent years. While the show does play on stereotypes a lot, I think most of us know someone that reminds us of Sheldon (and if we all took those parts that remind us of him and combined them, we’d get half a Sheldon). Jim Parsons is pretty awesome, and not just because he was a knight at Medieval times in Garden State. This is an excellent representation of the character, and the star of the show has to be that Flash T-Shirt. The smarmy / serious look fits the character as well… but not as well as the alt-face…
This is one that makes more sense if you’ve watched the show. Sheldon doesn’t smile much, but when he does, it’s distrubing and creepy. That seems to be captured quite well here. There’s also the bonus of the two-color arms, which came with the Simpsons minifigs and are pretty nifty. This is a pretty strong start for figures to arguably the most important character on the show.
Leonard, on the other hand, feels a bit more phoned-in. Maybe it’s because Johnny Galecki is only like three-feet tall. The torso is again the strongest part, and I like the touch of the recycled logo on the shirt (though it would have been nifty to see another DC thing like Green Lantern). The open shirt / sweatshirt also fits the character. The face is unique, but the hair is probably the laziest part here.
The alt-face fits him a lot more than the smile does, since this is a character that spends most of his life as the butt of other characters (however, on the show, most of the time the characters deserve everything that happens to them, and often deserve a lot more).
Howard is probably the character that underwent the most changes over the years, and they were all mostly for the best. He was an absolute creep early in the show, but eventually got a girlfriend (and then wife) and it lessened. The real star of this character is on the belt printing, and it absolutely fits the character (who is known for crazy belt buckles). The little video game buckle is just fantastic here.
I’d also like to suggest that all male heads should include sideburns printed on the head like this, that’s just great. The hair is more interesting than Leonards, and the torso fits. Plus, this makes it so I’m one step closer to being able to make a Moist minifigure. Now I just need an official Neil Patrick Harris minifigure and we are in business.
Raj is the character who’s gimmick wore thin the quickest, which is probably why they didn’t address it before I stopped watching in season 6, his inability to talk to women unless he’s drunk. I’d like to say that it’s a stereotype (well, it is), but you mix Raj and Howard and you have a good portion of the people I’ve seen on Reddit (not all, just the loud ones). His torso is probably my favorite of the bunch… something about the sweater and the purple makes me want more of them.
His primary face, with the smile, is what fits the character the most. The alt-face doesn’t look quite as nice, unless they’re going for a shy look. I do like that the printing extends around the back on the torso, and that we have another person of color minifig to add into the mix.
Penny is the character that probably annoys me the most on the show. Mostly because she’s as bad on the non-nerd stereotypes as our nerdy guys were, but also because they portray her as being from Nebraska. They made all sorts of farm jokes (to contrast all the terrible slut jokes), even though they said a few times she is from Omaha, a city of half-a-million (and a fairly nice place). There are a whole ton of reasons to make fun of people from Nebraska (I mean a ton), but they didn’t use any of them.
The hair also doesn’t fit her more recent look, and the face is probably the most generic of the characters. The torso isn’t bad, but it’s again somewhat generic. That being said, the alt-face is again one of the best representations of the character. Yet she’s the character that’s probably better as parts than as a figure.
Bernadette, on the other hand, immediately reminds you of the character. The printed pattern on the legs, the glasses, and the necklace all fit her very well The knock I have is the off-color of the printing on the collar… it seems like LEGO can only over- or under- do the printing on these. I opted for that angry-face as the primary since she’s married to Howard, and angry just fits.
Her legs aren’t just printed, they’re also two color tone, which is pretty cool on its own. It would have been nice for the printing to go all the way around, since they even got it on the sides, but LEGO doesn’t seem to be there yet. The alt-face is nice and smiley, which also fits her character well.
Amy is the most recent addition to the group, the love interest for Sheldon (which leads to some of the more memorable jokes… like watching two idiot robots fall in love). If you’re old like me, you can’t help but think of her as Blossom, but this is a pretty good representation of the Big Bang Character.
The two-tone legs fit her as well, and it’s interesting to see those show up in a lot of the figures. The alt-face doesn’t fit quite as well here, though the character does smile on the show. I really like that sweater pattern as well… honestly, all of the minifigures strike me as well done. It’s nice that all of them, save Bernadette, can be swapped to other figures as well, yellow or fleshie, and even with Bernadette, you can make a lot of innocent bystanders for Superman to kill the next time he’s out for a stroll.
At first, I was thinking that this representation of the movie set was Simpson’s house-level inaccurate, but I went and looked up what the set actually looks like…
You know, that’s a pretty solid representation in LEGO form. Obviously a bit smaller, and the table isn’t large enough, but otherwise a pretty solid showing here. A few things are weird, like it not being a bay window, but otherwise quite nice.
There are some nice things to the apartment, which is second in Easter Egg count (the Kwik-E-Mart still wins for crazy number of references). The Chinese food containers are great, and hopefully they show up in Brick n’ Pieces or something like that so I can get a ton more for that bin of food parts I always want to use but never get around to. We also get little statues, the DNA helix, and lots of little features tucked in.
The window solution is pretty interesting, even though it’s kind of weird how the curtains are off-center from the window itself. The little desk is nice (when did they move the desk back there instead of by the front door), and you could arguably call this thing a brick-pattern brick booster box. One of the few stickers shows up here, what I believe is a CD rack, and it could have probably been skipped without affecting the set.
The outside of that window is mostly just filler… with that little windscreen part being an odd addition. Mostly it’s just the outside and instructions of what corner to put against the edge of your shelf. Still, you get a ton of those bricks, and some tiles, along with plenty of tan.
I’d suggest never looking at the back of this set. I think this picture makes it pretty obvious why. Maybe it’s something like one of those magic eye pictures, where you can stare at it long enough that it turns into some other shade of tan. And a dragon riding a sailboat!
There are a couple of little extra tossed in, including a white board with some pictograms for us to guess. I’ll let the comments answer the questions (mostly because they’re not my thing). The chair is the oddest little build, with a lot of parts for seemingly little effect. Not that it’s bad, it’s just kind of ugly. I really do like the use of the Friend’s lipstick parts are dry-erase markers. That’s some fantastic parts usage.
Speaking of parts… this set sets a record for the number of “extra” parts that are included. You get a full pack of Friend’s accessories (because we needed forks), extra lipsticks, extra of each of the statues, and really, just a whole mess of stuff. This probably shoves the part count well above 500, adding that little bit of extra value.
This set was only a small step away from the original design. The biggest difference is the color choice, but a lot of little features showed up, like the rug and the wall design. I think I like the telescope design in the original, and wish that the smaller legs would have been used. But the upgrades for the faces and the hair, along with the mini-statues, are all awesome upgrades. The DNA one in the original looked cool with the hot dogs, but the version in the final set seems a lot closer.
Despite my feelings of the show, this is an absolutely solid set. It’s a display set through-and-through, but there’s outstanding value for minifigs and some nice little extras mixed in. Seven minifigures that each feature some unique stuff, and complex printing on legs and arms all make for great value. There are a whole ton of extra parts as well, so you likely get some extras of everything little. It’s only that $60 price that holds it back ever so slightly, because if it was $50 I’d be more inclined to buy extras just to break down. That puts this thing solidly in the four out of five range.
What I liked
- All of the characters are identifiable, and most of them have value as the character and for parts
- Lots of little parts and features add to the value
- A pretty accurate build, even if it’s an incomplete room
What I didn’t like
- Printing was off a bit on Bernadette, and Penny was the most generic of the minifigs
- The set only looks good if you’re looking at it from the front
- There’s a bit of tedium in the build, especially with all of the bookshelves. I would have loved to see some comic books or similar things put into the mix there
Verdict: 4 out of 5. You can buy 21302 The Big Bang Theory right now on LEGO Shop@Home!