In 10 Words or Less
Feeling good with the Gabba gang
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 several previous releases, and DVDTalk has a review of three of them.
The episode that gives this collection is a yet-to-air episode, "Doctor," where cat-dragon Toodee doesn't feel well, so they have to call in Dr. Tony to help take care of her. As you'd expect, the episode stresses that you shouldn't be scared of the doctor, and the things you should do when you're feeling sick, like resting and eating and drinking. I don't know how much I trust this particular doctor, seeing how he's played by a completely out-of-character Anthony Bourdain, but it's good advice nonetheless. The episode is rounded out by a cartoon video for "New Day" by Swound!, a pretty sweet song about resting when sick, a performance by Of Montreal (playing "Banana, Rice, Applesauce, Toast," another surprisingly good song about being sick) Biz Markie's Beat of the Day, a silly segment called Food/Not Food and an illness-related Story Time.
"Teeth" follows the disc's health theme, as DJ Lance remembers when Muno lost his baby teeth. The highlight has to be the appearance by the Tooth Fairy, played by Amy Sedaris, in a performance not unlike her role as Jerri Blank (which is both awesome and disturbing.) The animated video this time is "Brush, Brush, Brush" a brightly-colored, bouncy clip, while Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh stops by to magically draw a tooth and the Super Music Friends Show features Datarock, performing the somewhat related "Smile for the Camera." While the Story Time, about an alligator and his cavities, is one of the segment's lesser offerings and the Cool Trick isn't too impressive (a smiling mule), the only thing that was kind of annoying was the "Baby Teeth" song, which follows the trend of taking a previous song and just replacing the words.
We're three for three on sticking to the theme with "Clean," as the gang gets obsessed with being icky, as the tiny, ugly germs make a return, along with their earworm theme song, only to be stopped by Super Soapy Pal, the superhero bar of soap who encourages everyone to wash their hands. Once in a while, Yo Gabba Gabba! will pull out some stuff that's just made to freak you out, and the animated video "Cover Your Mouth" does just that, with some of the oddest drawings of children I've ever seen, along with the bathtime song, with the Strongpals, two living action figures that will give me nightmares for certain. It's all good though, as there's also a funky percussion demo by ?uestlove and Frankie Knuckles of The Roots; "Nice N' Clean," a fun song by Chromeo; and a Dancey Dance from Rachel Dratch. The counting computer segment and magic shampoo song (featuring an oddly Jamaican shampoo bottle) just don't stand out alongside the other segments.
The consistency in theme ends with the final episode of this set, "Car," as the gang goes for a ride, talking about traffic safety and the need to buckle up. There are two repeated songs this time, with "Keep Trying" and "Dangerous" but the animated video features The Aggrolites, so all is forgiven. The Muno Plays Pretend, Listening with Toodee, and Funny Face segments are a bit meh, and the Dancey Dance with country band Sugarland didn't do anything for me, though another Beat of the Day with Biz is always welcome and the Cool Trick, featuring Bones of the Aquabats and Joe from Supernova ripping it up on their guitars, is excellent fun. As usual, the Story Time is cute and has a good moral. Overall, it's definitely the weakest of the four, though the music helps.
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.
Like the previous releases, the full-frame transfers are very nice, presenting the show's bright color and detailed sets and animation just fine. The disc sports a high level of fine detail, and there are no noticeable dirt, damage or digital artifacts.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks are as good as can be expected, delivering the characters' voices and the music very well, but there's no dynamic mixing, as the show features the straight-down-the-middle audio you'd expect from a kids show.
As usual, all you get are commercials for other Nickelodeon products.
The Bottom Line
If the show's varied musical acts are a draw for you, this set of four is as good as any quartet you could pick, with some really enjoyable performances, and the episodes aren't half bad either. As usual, the quality is good, but there's also no extras to enhance the value. Recording these episodes off TV is more economical, but at least there's plenty to enjoy in these four episodes.
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.