In 10 Words or Less
Another collection lacking any real theme
Loves: "Yo Gabba Gabba"
Likes: Nick Jr., DJ Lance Rock
Dislikes: Most kids shows
Hates: Creepy sad Muno
The Story So Far...
Yo Gabba Gabba! is a kids variety show starring DJ Lance Rock, and his collection of toys, which come to life when he puts them in their playsets. As they dance and sing, they also learn valuable lessons about things like getting along with others and being careful, before dancing in a blow-out final remix that recaps all the fun the have that episode.. Mixed in with the lessons are cartoon shorts and visits from celebrities and musical acts, making the show the Tonight Show for the pre-school set. There have been five previous releases, and DVDTalk has a review of two of them.
Up first is a lesson about sharing in "Clubhouse," as Muno and Brobee build their own clubhouse, with a bit of help from DJ Lance, but they won't let Foofa and Toodee in. The girls decide to do their own thing, and build an even better club house, with helping hands from Plex and DJ Lance, but they aren't snobby about the whole thing, as their songs show. The clubhouse theme is carried through in Mark Mothersbaugh's drawing segment and a counting scene, as well as in the Super Music Friends Show appearance by The Sounds (best known for their lead singer's performance in the theme to Snakes on a Plane (especially the video).) But then you get Eryka Badu's oddball outfit during her catchy Dancey Dance Time segment and an equally trippy space-themed animated video about helping your friends. What they have to do with clubhouses is rather unclear.
Inspired by Indiana Jones, or rather, the Indiana Jones-inspired Montana Johnson, the gang goes on an amusing "Adventure" in Gabbaland. There's no lesson here, just fun, as they sing their way through the jungle, to a temple where Muno is faced with the classic idol swap. It's a cute nod to the original. The usual elements, including an animated video, a Mark's Magic Pictures and a counting segment, all tie into the theme. The Super Music Friends Show segment was a bit of a mystery this time, as the group playing "Spaceship Adventure" looked and sounded familiar, but were introduced as "Brendan, Ronnie, Mark and Dave." Well, that's a better choice for a kids show than their band name, The Killers. As you would expect, they were quite good, even if the subject matter isn't their usual thing. Pookie's Submarine Adventure, a short, but cute Story Time entry, wrapped things up nicely.
"Summer" may be my favorite episode of Yo Gabba Gabba, mainly because of the music. The gang gets possibly their best overall soundtrack, with a trio of poppy, fun songs about bubbles, the fun of summertime and jumping. We also get an animated video about summer, featuring the super-chill song "This is What the Summer Brings" by Tony Goddess & The Silver Lining, with awesome accompanying animation that just screams happiness. You'd have to be heartless to not smile and bob your head to this one. But the musical enjoyment's only getting started, because The Aquabats are on the way for the Super Music Friends Show, with the killer "Pool Party." The band that gave birth to Yo Gabba Gabba is the perfect addition to the show, and the song is tremendous. Add in a lesson from Plex on how to make lemonade, a Cool Trick segment featuring always-impressive cup stacking and a Super Martian Robot Girl short, and it's just about a perfect episode.
The last episode focuses on Animals, and manages to maintain the theme throughout, whether it's a "Knock-Knock Joke of the Day" featuring a cow (as well as Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) and Paul Scheer (Human Giant)) or the Super Music Friends Show performance by Jimmy Eat World (where the band rides a quartet of giant flying pets as they play "Beautiful Day.") The rest of the segments didn't really do it for me (or my daughter, the real audience for the show) with a song about animal sounds (though it has great psychedelic animation), a Story Time with a trio of cute animals, a DJ Lance Dance, and a counting segment involving birds. Even the main show songs tied to the story weren't all that engaging, with the first song being a repeat of an old Muno song with different words, an OK song about animal tracks and a musical animal dance game. At least the game offers some interaction, as kids can mimic the animal dance.
The one-disc release is packed in a standard keepcase, and features a static full-frame menu offering options to play all the episodes, select shows and check out previews. There are no audio options and no subtitles, though closed captioning is included.
The full-frame transfers are great, as usual, recreating the show's bright color and detailed sets and animation just fine. The level of fine detail is quite high, and there are no obvious dirt, damage or digital artifacts .
The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks are solid, presenting the music and dialogue quite well, but like the original TV presentations, there's nothing dynamic about the mix, delivering the sound right down the middle.
Once again, all you get are commercials for other Nickelodeon products.
The Bottom Line
Another set of Yo Gabba Gabba episodes is always welcome, but this one features a few of the less memorable shows, with the exception of the top-to-bottom brilliant "Summer" and now-standard impressive musical acts. And though the quality is as good as usual, there's once again no extras to make it worth buying. If you have to have four episodes on DVD, you may as well record them from TV.
Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.Check out 1106 - A Moment in Fictional Time or follow him on Twitter
*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.