Nickelodeon // 2010 // 96 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Erich Asperschlager // June 14th, 2010
"I love safety!"
I'm a big Yo Gabba Gabba! fan -- and I'm not alone. In fact, love for this quirky kids' show reaches to the highest office in the United States. While I don't know for certain that President Obama is a Gabba fan, I do know that DJ Lance Rock was invited to perform at this year's White House Easter Egg Roll, along with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, and the cast of Glee. Strange company, to be sure, but hearing that the leader of the free world hangs out with England's richest woman, teen singing sensations, and a man who wears an orange jumpsuit and Buddy Holly glasses isn't any weirder that the stuff that goes down in Gabbaland.
DJ Lance, Muno, Plex, Toodee, Foofa, and Brobee return to DVD with the release of Yo Gabba Gabba! Clubhouse, another eclectic collection of episodes from the hit Nick Jr. series. This time around, the gang builds an elaborate playhouse, explores an ancient pyramid, cools off on a hot summer day, and follows some animal tracks. If you've bought any of the previous DVD collections, you know what to expect here. If this is your first experience with Yo Gabba Gabba!, then hold onto your orange fuzzy hat, 'cause here we gooooo!
DJ Lance helps Muno and Brobee build a clubhouse, but after they are done, the boys refuse to let Foofa and Toodee come inside to play. Instead of getting angry about it, the girls build their own clubhouse (also with DJ Lance's help). Eventually, Muno and Brobee get bored with their clubhouse and ask Toodee and Foofa if they can come play in theirs, forcing the girls to decide whether to treat Muno and Brobee the way they treated them, or to be nice and all play together. Actually, they invite the boys in, no questions asked. It's not that deep of a show. Other episode segments include dancey-dance with Erykah Badu, Mark Mothersbaugh teaching kids how to draw tools and wood, and a Super Music Friends Show performance by The Sounds.
After Plex reads the gang a story about an explorer named "Montana Johnson," Muno decides to go in search of adventure. While exploring Gabbaland, he discovers a hidden underground passageway (which opens with a variation of the "discovery" music from The Legend of Zelda). The gang travels down the passageway, through a jungle, and up the side of an ancient pyramid. At the top of the pyramid, they find a golden corn-on-the-cob treasure and take it back to DJ Lance, who transforms it into a tasty snack. Elsewhere in the episode, Story Time, kids flying through the jungle on clouds while counting things, and Brandon, Ronnie, Mark, and Dave stop by for the Super Music Friends Show.
In this season one episode, DJ Lance helps the gang enjoy the warm weather by introducing them to magic bubbles who love to pop, and getting everyone's help to set up a swimming pool. Plex teaches kids how to make lemonade using honey instead of sugar, The Aquabats perform the song "Pool Party!," a kid named Adrian shows off his cool trick: cup stacking, DJ Lance does the Arm Wiggle dance, and Super Martian Robot Girl beats the heat with a lesson about sharing.
Just because they live in a cardboard playset doesn't mean the residents of Gabbaland can't enjoy the local fauna. DJ Lance and Toodee discover a new animal to add to her sketchbook by following the sound it makes, while Muno learns all about animal tracks. Paul Scheer and 30 Rock's Jack McBrayer tell the Knock-knock Joke of the Day, Jimmy Eat World performs on the Super Music Friends Show, DJ Lance teaches viewers the Fox on the Run dance, and we see video of kids visiting (and counting things on) their grandpa's farm.
Like previous Gabba sets, Clubhouse is made up of episodes from throughout the series. "Summer," the second episode ever, and "Animals," from season two, sit alongside the brand new episodes "Clubhouse" and "Adventure." Watched side-by-side, it's impressive how much the series hasn't changed from the early years. You might notice a few differences in DJ Lance's early episode spiel, but chances are your kids won't. Simple is hard to do well. Simple and consistent is even harder. Impressively, the Gabba folks have figured it out.
The full screen presentation matches the look of the show on TV -- bright, clean, and colorful. The stereo soundtrack is clear and well-balanced, meaning your kids will be able to hear every catchy, silly song in crystal clarity.
Once again, the only knock against this latest Gabba release is a complete lack of extras. They just played the White House for crying out loud? Why not flaunt it as a bonus feature?
Four great episodes, more great music, and a one-eyed alien reenacting a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. What more could you ask for in a kids show?
Review content copyright © 2010 Erich Asperschlager; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Website