In 10 Words or Less
Getting the Gabba band back together
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 over 10 DVD releases, and DVDTalk has a review of several of them.
The sole episode tied to the disc's theme (though technically every episode is flooded with music,) "Band" features the Gabba band, a group of musical characters who perform with the Gabba crew, on yet another lyric-swap song (where music from an early song is re-used with new lyrics) and then a somewhat meta song about making a hit song. Naturally, with a music-focused episode, there's another entry in the bizarre "Biz' Beat of the Day" with Biz Markie, a DJ Lance Rock dance, and a musical Story Time, but the stand-out segment is the Super Music Friends Show, where Lady Tigra, backed by the Gabba band, covers "When I Hear Music." It's a solid song to start with, but Lady Tigra does a nice job with it. Overall, it's a fun episode, with no real down points.
Going back in time to early in the show's first season, "Move" is all about physicality, but of course with music mixed in. The classic "Hold Still" game/song and Foofa's "Let's Be Quiet" are your usual enjoyable YGG songs, but oddly, in a show called "Move," they are about limiting yourself. The guest stars are pretty cool this time around as well, with Tony Hawk stopping by to share his Dancey Dance and Ricky Fitness of the Aquabats showing off his drums. The highlight though is the animated music video for "Pick it Up" by GOGO13, with Alex Desert of Hepcat. This ska song ties perfectly to the lesson of cleaning your room and the animation couldn't express the ska feel more perfectly. This may be the best segment in the show's entire run.
"Differences" is a somewhat minor episode of the show, without anything that really stands out about it. While Muno struggles with his need for glasses (glass?) you get some of the standards, like Mark Mothersbaugh drawing carrots and a song featuring world-class oddball Leslie Hall, but nothing really stands out about the show outside of the performance by I'm from Barcelona on "Just Because It's Different Doesn't Mean It's Scary" and that's mainly because of the number of members in the band and the lead singer's mustache.
Yet another transportation themed episode arrives in the form of "Train" where the crew rides around Gabbaland in a train with customized cars for each of them. While it's obvious that kids like trains (see Thomas for proof) how many kids have much experience with trains and what is the real connection they have with them? They tie in teamwork, since the cars all ride together, and there's a Tahiti 80 song called "Train Ride" and a Gabba song of the same name, but it's a pretty loose theme, what with Laila Ali showing her Dancey Dance, Biz dropping yet another beat, and a fun Moochy and Pooty Story Time of limited meaning to the show's theme. Perhaps it's the right way to end this disc, with a train "wreck."
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 the other DVDs, with the dialogue and music sounding quite nice, but there's no dynamic mixing, leaving the episodes with straight-down-the-middle audio presentations.
They've stopped even pretending there are extras, removing the box from the back cover, where they usually put extras like menus and full-frame transfers.
The Bottom Line
This is probably the least entertaining of the show's releases to date, with only a few segments here or there that qualify as memorable. The quality is good though, while there are zero no extras to enhance the value. Stick to trying to record these episodes off 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.