So. Yo Gabba Gabba.
How to describe this show? Start with the title, which is inspired by the The Ramones' timeless Teenage Lobotomy creed, then add DJ Lance Rock, who resembles an anorexic Raj from "What's Happening!", and put him in a giant orange wig and striped jumpsuit that makes him look like the complete opposite of a Buckingham Palace guard. DJ Lance Rock then walks onto a white background with a magical boombox (of COURSE there's a magical boombox) towards a long buffet table displaying Gabbaland - or as normal people see it, a minidioramma that seems as if it was made by a 5th grader with a really short attention span. DJ Lance Rock proceeds to open his boombox, revealing a bunch of generic cartoon monsters that get magically transported to Gabbaland, where they transform into generic actors dancing around in monster suits (2 of which proudly display the zipper on the back).
I love this show.
Why? First of all, the music is catchy. Repetitive? Oh yes. Oh yes. But in a good way. You actually don't mind finding yourself unexpectedly humming these little ditties sometime during the day. Then there's the cartoon interludes, which rival anything out of Ren&Stimpy, Spongebob Squarepants, and anything else dreamt up by a stoned college frathouse with basic computer animation skills. Then there's the clips of 5 year old kids either dancing (and reminding you "I like to dance"), riding random toys, or scanned into Intellivision games from the 1980's.
Then there's the frequent visits from actors and musicians who seem to be "in on the joke." In 3 minutes, you can easily bounce from Plex the Magic Robot teaching your kids how to brush their teeth, to Mark Mothersbaugh from 80's alt-punk group Devo instructing you in the finer points of drawing a fish. Skip next to Biz's Beat of the Day, where Biz Markie invites your kid to learn his latest beatbox riff, followed by an animated adventure of Super Martian Robot Girl that would make William Hanna and Joe Barbera cry, then on to Nathan who "likes to daaaaance!" (and grooves like he's in a Kanye West video), which leads to the Yo! Gabba Gabba characters singing and dancing about sharing, follwed by Elijah Wood sharing his Puppetmaster dancey dance. DJ Lance Rock then takes us out of every episode by inviting us to look back, and remember what we did today. This consists of quick vignettes of everything covered in that episode, which naturally is mixed into a techno/hip-hop number that includes NYC nightclub electronica/rave special effects in the background.
And somehow, somehow it all comes together. It WORKS. It works for the kids and adults alike. It is at all times a wholesome children's show, an inside joke to gen-Xers who grew up in the 80's, a manifesto for the current Spongebob college crowd, and a useful tool for parents who want something that the kids will enjoy while learning valuable life skills, while making them laugh a little bit inside about how goofy the whole process of parenthood can truly be.