IRVINGTON, NJ — What child hasn’t enjoyed playing with Lego toys at one time or another? Almost all children, boys and girls alike, have felt the joy of using their imagination and creativity to build almost anything, only for the creation to be smashed away in that moment or even days later. Two brothers have taken that joy and paired up to win on the popular Fox television show “Lego Masters,” which premiered on Feb. 5.
Will Arnett, known widely as the voice of Batman in the 2017 kids film “The Lego Batman Movie,” is the show’s host; the Hollywood comedic actor oversees the contestants as they take on many challenges throughout the series. He also does the oddly satisfying but messy job of smashing the Lego masterpieces each episode.
Here’s the premise of the show, according to the press release. The “Lego Masters” series will put contestants — ranging from ages 23 to 65 and hailing from every part of the country and all walks of life — to the test. Teams of two will compete against one another in tedious brick-building challenges until the top teams face off for a cash prize, the ultimate Lego trophy and the grand title of Lego Masters. Throughout the competition, Arnett, alongside expert judges, will encourage the builders and introduce incredible challenges; one contestant pair will be sent home each week, until the final duo is crowned Lego Masters.
Brothers Travis and Corey Samuels hail from Irvington and Monmouth Junction and are currently competing on the program.
“I’ve always been a fan of Legos with my brother,” Corey said to the Irvington Herald via phone interview on Feb. 14. “The show reached out to me through Instagram. I then told Travis about the show and wanted to know if he was interested in doing the show with me, which he was. The show was a huge thing overseas before it came to the United States. Legos made us be creative and create anything that we wanted.”
Travis, who is 29 years old and is currently a preschool teacher, said Legos united the brothers once again, after they hadn’t been able to spend as ample an amount of time together as they normally had.
“There came a time when we haven’t been hanging out as much as we used to, because of work and conflicting schedules,” Travis said to the Irvington Herald via phone interview on Feb. 14. “During that time, someone messaged Corey about Lego Masters and he told me about it over dinner. My brother and I were always fans of Legos growing up.”
Once the brothers decided to become contestants, the two dove in headfirst to prepare for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Corey, who’s 34 years old, said he witnessed how well he and his brother worked together and got along as a team.
“I’m a Lego engineering instructor,” said Corey. “I have tons of Legos I use for my job and I have a lot at my house as well. So we practiced building together and saw how well we can build together.”
Meanwhile, Travis explained the approach the brothers took to prepare for such an opportunity.
“I would go to his place,” Travis said. “He had all of the Legos at his house, so it was only natural to prepare for the show there. We used different gears and different ways to stack. We basically utilized what we knew about Legos and started from there.”
“We’ve always been a team growing up,” Travis said. “I was always Corey’s shadow when we were growing up, because I’m five years younger than he is.”
“We’ve done collaborative activities together,” Corey said. “We participated in Pathfinders within our church. Within that church activity, my brother and I were in a drill team together.”
“We came up with a lot of the drill routines together within Pathfinders,” Travis said. “These drill routines would be used for performances and competitions as well.”
Naming their team “Brothers Who Brick” and recognizing that their strength was in creativity and ingenuity as well as speed, Corey then touched on what their team brings to the table and why they are a team to be feared.
“We bring a connection none of the teams say they have, because we’re brothers,” said Corey. “We possess the same type of mindset, the same drive. We deal with difficulties head on, and it’s hard to beat us.”
“One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is having a mindset to compete with people you consider family,” Travis said. “We came to win. I always try to remember it’s a competition at the end of the day.”
On the other hand, Corey directed his challenges to his performance on the show and said time is his biggest motivator.
“Even though we played with Legos for a long time, there was a time when we didn’t,” Corey explained. “I was wasting a lot of time trying to perfect one thing when I should’ve been focusing on other aspects as well. You really don’t know how much time is passing when you don’t pay attention. Also, time is a motivator. It works and it doesn’t work.”
Despite the challenges, the brothers agreed they had enjoyed their time on the show thus far and had nothing but good experiences.
“I love being on the show,” Travis said. “It was truly one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. Definitely No. 1.”
“Being on the show was definitely an uplifting and amazing experience,” said Corey. “We represent Irvington. Being able to represent where we came from and being a black man, that opportunity makes the entire experience worth it. The show is an amazing show. Being able to see people build Legos is amazing in itself.”
Want to see Travis and Corey compete to win the cash prize, the ultimate Lego Trophy and the grand title of Lego Masters? Then make sure to catch new episodes of Lego Masters, airing Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Fox.