Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Yo Gabba Gabba

Yo Gabba Gabba

Spring 2013 Television
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Producer: Nickelodeon
Rating: TV Y

Yo Gabba Gabba has become quite the sensation since it premiered in the U.S. on Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. channel in 2007. Aimed at kids 2 to 5, this program blends skits with live-action costumed characters, animated sequences, musical numbers, and plenty of colorful motion graphics. Episodes are also peppered with celebrity appearances and musical performances and everyone from My Chemical Romance to Weezer has appeared on Yo Gabba Gabba—all the cooler because they appear without fanfare. They're just more fun and musical people who turn up in a quirky world which appears to be orchestrated by a DJ with a magical boom box.

Each program is built around a particular theme, but it's interpreted broadly to provide both simple entertainment and a larger moral message. In the episode titled "Olympics," the characters hear a brief history of this ancient sporting tradition and decide to hold their own games. They learn that it's fun to try something new, but that it takes hard work and dedication to become really good at it. The larger and even more admirable lesson is in the way the program treats the Olympics as a race for world peace.

That episode also includes a short dance lesson, some self-sufficiency instruction on an everyday task, some knock-knock jokes, and encouragement to make funny faces. Rapper Biz Markie appears in one of the short musical interludes teaching beatboxing skills, and Mark Mothersbaugh, lead singer of eighties New Wave band Devo, appears in another.

If you limit your kids' TV time, then it's worth it to save a spot for Yo Gabba Gabba. As Aristotle's old saying goes, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts," and that holds true for this program. At the end of the half hour, the deceptively simple sequences will add up to kids who feel a little bit smarter and a whole lot happier.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2013 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

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