Tuned In

JPTV Jr.: The Gift of Gabba

  • Share
  • Read Later

Elijah Wood, DJ Lance Rock and friends make you question whether someone slipped something in your coffee. Lisa Rose / Nick Jr. / TM & © 2007 GabbaCadabra LLC

I assume that there is a decent percentage of Tuned In readers who do not have children. I further assume that when the child-unburdened among you see the “JPTV Jr.” heading on a post, you think, “Great. More breeder propaganda for me to ignore.” Well, this post is for you, my friends. You, grown-up you, need to watch Yo Gabba Gabba!, debuting on Nick Jr. and Noggin on Monday. At least once. Possibly even while sober.

Why? Dude–look at that picture. There is a significant overlap between the culture of toddlers and the hipster-club-electronica culture: bright colors, outlandish outfits, noise and repetition. Yo Gabba Gabba!–basically a half-hour rave for toddlers–marries those worlds, and makes you wonder what took so long.

The premise: DJ Lance Rock turns on a giant boom box, spins some tunes and spends the show hanging with a yellow robot and four hallucinatory-looking creatures, who in the first episode have lunch. There’s an adorable green monster leading a call-and-response, to a pulsing beat, with the food he’s going to eat: “Cheese!” “Yeah-ah!” “In my tummy!” “Yeah-ah!” “There’s a party in my tummy!” “So yummy! So yummy!” There are ’80s-style videogame graphics, and live children popping up in cartoon airplanes or going nuts in front of eye-melting graphics. It’s amazing, mesmerizing and bizarre, like a Wonder Showzen without the heavy irony and slavery references.

Oh, and there’s a hobbit. In the first episode of Gabba, Elijah Wood shows up for “Dancey Dancey Time”–with a scruffy beard, a Williamsburg slacker outfit and a slightly crazy look in his eyes–to teach the gang “The Puppet Master”: you hold up your hands and lift your knees, pretending you’re controlling them with strings. Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo does an art segment, while upcoming musical guests include The Shins and Biz Markie.

The music is the real wonder of Yo Gabba Gabba! (Gabba, by the way, is an allusion to a style of techno.) Each of the four critters has a musical theme in their scenes, which are weaved together into a big electronic reprise at the end, until the whole thing comes to a halt and, presumably, your 2-year-old collapses in a heap on the floor, ready for naptime.

It’s a party. In your tummy!