ON SET: Lego Masters back in metro Atlanta for third season

The series was shot in the spring in Hiram.

The challenges on Fox’s “Lego Masters” often take 10 to 12 hours. The editors pare them down to mere minutes for each episode.

Will Arnett, as the gleefully wisecracking host, spends much of that time goofing around with the teams, most of which will end up on the cutting room floor.

During one of the final challenges, with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution present at ATL Film Studios in Hiram in April, Arnett asked the teams: “I don’t want to make this all about me because you’re the builders but how have I done as a host?”

“So good!” a bearded contestant said.

“Do you like me?” Arnett asked all the teams.

A couple of people murmured, “Yes.”

Arnett looked faux offended: “That was not convincing!”

Indeed, actor Arnett of “Arrested Development” fame is the glue that keeps the show percolating. (Legos themselves, of course, require no glue.)

“I’m the in-house cheerleader,” he said during a brief break in the day’s shoot. “It’s ten hours of improvising a day.”

Arnett said now that the show has entered its third season, the quality of the teams have only gotten better.

“A lot of big-time builders watched us doing this show and realize it has value in the Lego world,” Arnett said. “Now the big Lego builders from around the country and world want to be part of this. It’s a great endorsement.” (Last year’s winners Mark and Steven Erikson are brothers from Newnan and pocketed $100,000.)

And the show itself generates more adult Lego fans, he said, the types who spend $179 on a Rolling Stones tongue logo, $250 on a Marvel Sanctum Sanctorum or $315 for a facsimile of the “Home Alone” house.

“The adult Lego community is massive and thriving and growing by the day,” Arnett said. “And people build as families now. So our audience cuts across all demographics.”

Credit: TOM GRISCOM

Credit: TOM GRISCOM

Arnett himself was first attached to the Lego world after he voiced Batman in the hugely successful “The Lego Movie” from 2014 and its multiple sequels. “I couldn’t have conceived back in 2014 what an impact it would have on my life,” he said.

Indeed, he said he absolutely adores hosting “Lego Masters.” He said challenges this year include one involving live dogs as models, a show built around bull riding and an entire episode focused on treehouses. Jeff Gordon shows up for a race-car challenge and Chris Pratt arrives to promote “Jurassic World: Dominion” for a dinosaur-themed build.

“They have to show some technical skills, sometimes with power and light,” Arnett said. “There’s a water challenge. We provide them water pumps and they have to incorporate them into the build.”

Arnett said he loves mocking the constructs of a reality competition show and the hyperbole attached to it. He opens season three, for instance, by stepping on set and saying, “You like what I’ve done with the place?” Then he paused. “It’s the same. Literally exactly the same.”

Jamie Berard and Amy Corbett, who are actual Denmark-based Lego designers, are back again as judges.

“We get inspired by what the teams create,” Berard said. To him, Lego has survived 90 years because the bricks serve multiple purposes, even for people well into adulthood. “You can use them as a way to relax and an outlet to unwind,” he said. “You also have the other spectrum where it gives people a chance to express their ideas. This is an art form.”

While adult Lego building has been very male heavy, Corbett said the show has helped attract more women into the field. Of the 12 teams this season, two are all female and five are male-female combos.

“I do love Lego,” Corbett said. “We have to support each other and encourage each other.”

Credit: Tom Griscom

Credit: Tom Griscom

ON TV

“Lego Masters,” season 3 debuts at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, on Fox. Episodes available the day after on Hulu.

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