I didn't pick up on that but that is interesting
The current City wave has characters from the Nickelodeon show Lego City Adventures in sets. Take a look at 60271- nearly half of the minifigures are explicitly named on the box and the description of the set reads:
>LEGO® City Main Square allows young builders and families to dive straight into the LEGO® City Adventures TV series and re-create their favourite scenes (including the popular ‘Slam the Door’ episode – which can be viewed here).
>When I was small I always tried to remake films/movies/shows I liked in LEGO form.
I'm sure most children have tried this at some point but it still offers a different form of creative building experience. Instead of building their own designs, they now have to create a somewhat accurate rendition; paying particular attention to shapes, colour, scale, etc still engages a child and their more creative side. Licensed sets completely removed the challenge of trying to create one's own version of the theme and so a child has only got to think of how they are going to play with the set. Classic example of Lego doing all the thinking and imagining for children.
>There is no fucking way it's good for a kid to be fed literal garbage with no mental stimulus, no boredom to force imagination and thought.
You touch upon a very intriguing point there. Boredom can actually be rewarding for a child in that they are forced to think outside of the box and to use their imagination. But your average child has something like the internet to fall back on should they be bored so they aren't forced to develop these skills.