I would like to preface this post by saying that I do not make a habit of watching children’s shows. Nor do I keep up with the latest trends in kids’ programming. I do not have any children of my own, all of my younger cousins are now too old to enjoy them, and it has been a very long time since I actively watched them. I grew up watching shows like Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Reading Rainbow and David the Gnome, and for a long time was convinced that all of the children’s programming produced after 1995 was absolute junk. I caught Blue’s Clues a couple of times when looking after my younger cousins and was wishing for a way to end the misery after about five minutes.
However, a couple of months ago I was on YouTube for some reason and stumbled across this strange clip of Jack Black in a very interesting orange jump suit surrounded by colorful creatures on a minimalist set that looked as if someone had created it out of a life-sized pop-up book. There was also something strangely reminiscent of Pee Wee’s Playhouse, to which I was instantly drawn. Being the huge J.B. fan that I am, I watched it through, and actually liked it. With further investigation (thanks Wikipedia!) I discovered that the show was called Yo Gabba Gabba. Once I put the initial joke of a little hipster baby wearing mini ironic glasses and an American Apparel onsie out of my mind, I realized what a freaking awesome show it was. A great deal of the bands and actors I love (mostly indie darlings) have appeared on the show. After more investigation on YouTube, I found that the segments and songs they did actually rocked. Bands like the Shins, I’m From Barcelona, and, more recently, The Decemberists have all appeared on the show as have other celebs like Elijah Wood and (wow) Tony Bourdain. I also discovered that they went to Coachella this past year and performed live, which is rather random but completely awesome.
Someone was obviously thinking and finally decided to emulate the king of all kids shows Sesame Street by producing an educational show for the little guys and gals while simultaneously creating a viewing experience that won’t bore or annoy their parents to tears. I remember watching Sesame Street with my parents, and they got just as much entertainment by watching their favorite celebs interact with Muppets as I did from the Muppets, themselves. While I love Sesame Street, and anything that came from the brilliant mind of Jim Henson for that matter, and I hesitate to compare any new show to it, Yo Gabba Gabba, just might be the alternative generation’s answer to it. Now that all of these indie kids are hitting their late twenties and early thirties and starting families, Yo Gabba Gabba seems like a perfect fit. If I was a parent, I think both Sesame Street (because it is still the best kids show out there) and Yo Gabba Gabba would be the two shows I would watch with my little ones and still felt good about it. Part of me (not sure if it was my inner child, the indie music lover in me, or both) became quite giddy when Rolling Stone posted the new Decemberists clip from the show last week. So incredibly adorable! Watch it here.
Here are some of my favorite YGG moments via YouTube. Enjoy:
Notice that all of those dancing at the live performance are adults. Hilarious! Also love the Danny DeVito cameo.
The Shins! If they decided to record a whole album like this, I would totally get it.
I think this may be my favorite, though.