A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this colorful preschool series highlights life lessons young viewers can relate to, like sharing, being a good friend, trying your best, and being polite. In short, there's nothing to worry about. The energetic puppet characters encourage kids to sing and dance along, and the series' pace and repetitive nature are well suited for 2- to 4-year-olds. All of that said, despite a roster of hip guest stars (like the Shins), some parents may not be quite as enchanted by the beat-driven soundtrack as their rockin'-out kids.
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What's the story?
Music-focused series YO GABBA GABBA! invites preschoolers to get their groove on while they learn important life lessons about taking care of themselves, making good decisions, being a good friend, and having fun. The colorful, live-action series stars Lance Robertson as DJ Lance Rock, the magician host who gets the party started by awakening his five buddies (four monsters and a robot) with a resounding cry of "Yo Gabba Gabba!" Once they get going, there's no stopping their mixture of infectious excitement, beat-driven music, and repetitive dance moves -- which will have preschoolers jumping out of their seats to join in. Each episode includes a number of brief segments devoted to the day's themes. Many are musical, featuring the monsters dancing and singing to tunes designed to teach preschoolers lessons like "Get the Sillies Out," "I'm Sorry," Wait Your Turn," and "Bedtime." Other portions of the show teach simple skills like drawing or easy dance moves, and guest stars like Elijah Wood, Sugarland, and Tony Hawk often drop by to join in the fun.
Is it any good?
The monster friends are as diverse as the spectrum of colors they come in, and young viewers will easily relate to their individuality. Towering red Cyclops Muno (voiced by Adam Deibert) is always full of fun, but he's also afraid of the shadows he sees in the dark. Natural leader Toodee (Erin Pearce) sometimes forgets that there's fun to be found in sharing, but she always realizes her mistake and makes amends. Foofa (Emma Jacobs) is thoughtful and loving, though she's also been known to throw a tantrum or two. Youngster Brobee (Amos Watene) is often the one in the group to get hurt, but his friends' encouragement gets him going again. And gadget-covered Plex (Christian Jacobs) is always willing to lend a hand to help his friends learn something new.
With its enticingly vibrant characters and simple, retro style, there's no doubt that Yo Gabba Gabba! will beckon to 2- to 4-year-olds, who will revel in the repetition -- which promotes familiarity and confidence. But for the parents of these preschoolers, the show's songs, hip beat or no, may spark decidedly different emotions. Many of the omnipresent tunes are of the one- or two-line variety -- "There's a party in my tummy, so yummy, so yummy," and "Snacky snack snack snack snack," for example -- that are guaranteed to get stuck in your head for hours. (Don't worry, you can always oust it with something by the Wiggles if you get desperate...)
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the lessons the characters learn in each episode. Kids: What problems did the monsters encounter today? Did it affect one or all of the friends? How did they work through the problem? How did they work together to help each other?
Have you ever experienced problems like the monsters'? What did you do? Who are the people you trust when you're in trouble? How do you try to be a good friend?
Themes & Topics
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