Nickelodeon // 2009 // 96 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Erich Asperschlager // October 20th, 2009
"Now it's time to dance! Are you ready? Well, let's do it. Break it down!"
When I reviewed my first Yo Gabba Gabba! DVD earlier this year, my daughter had not been born yet. Now, she's nearly six months old, and I'm pretty darn sure that one day she's going to love this show. At least, I hope she does because I really need someone to watch it with. DJ Lance Rock and his gang of singing, dancing toy-monster-creatures return to home video with Yo Gabba Gabba! Meet My Family, proving once again that kids' entertainment not only doesn't have to be lame, it can be -- say it with me -- "Awesome!"
As with previous releases, Meet My Family has one new episode, followed by three entries from previous seasons. This set's guest contributors include musicians Biz Markie, Jason Falkner, Adam Deibert, and The Clientele; and animation by I am 8-bit and Joel Trussell.
In "Family," Muno's family makes a surprise visit to Gabbaland. They inspire songs about what to say when you meet new people, and how to make a fruit drink called Dazzleberry Lemonade. The Roots stop by the Super Music Friends Show to play the song "Lovely, Love My Family."
"Games" is about...well, what you'd expect it to be. The Gabba crew plays freeze tag, the marching game, and "DJ Lance Says." Indie band Mates of State plays a song about not leaving anyone out, and Mark Mothersbaugh teaches kids how to draw a golf game.
It's all about doing things "Together" in the third episode, from the fun of playing games to learning the all-important lesson, "Don't Bite Your Friends." It also includes a Super Martian Robot Girl adventure, and Dancey Dance with guest Nikki Flores.
In "Imagine," the gang plays pretend, shares balloons, finds out about internal organs, and learns a lesson about lying. The Shins perform the song "It's Okay, Try Again."
At this point, I'm so in love with Yo Gabba Gabba I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't get it. But I also remember the first time I watched the show, so I understand if some parents out there are scratching their heads. It takes time to understand the brilliance of the world co-creators Christian Jacobs and Scott Schultz have built. The ideas and messages may be simple enough for young kids to grasp, but the level of style and creativity in this show is top-notch. It looks and sounds unlike anything I've ever seen on TV, and that's a good thing. The problem with most kids' media isn't that it's overly saccharine (though it is), it's that it feels calculated and focus tested. Most kids' entertainment seems like it was conceived by middle aged marketing executives who probably couldn't tell you how to get to the office daycare.
Yo Gabba Gabba! is made by cool people who know that kids just want to have fun -- and Meet My Family is a lot of fun. It will get your kids dancing and singing and yelling at the screen. You may even find yourself bobbing your noggin along with the music, which ranges from hip hop to new wave to folk to pop to world music. Even the simplest songs are catchy as heck. Don't be surprised if you catch yourself singing "March With Me" while you're doing the dishes, like I did the other night. I dont know if I'll be able to resist picking up the show's CD soundtrack when it hits stores -- for...my...daughter, of course.
Meet My Family is presented in your standard full frame, with 2.0 stereo. There are no extras.
Lack of bonus features aside, my problem with these Gabba sets is that they are like most other kids' DVDs in one annoying way: Rather than collecting an entire season, there's only a few episodes in each release. I'd give my left Dazzleberry for some complete season sets.
I feel lucky to be raising a child in a world where Yo Gabba Gabba! exists. Like They Might Be Giants, the Gabba crew gives smart parents options to engage and educate their offspring -- not to mention relief from manufactured kids' entertainment.
Do those Gabba t-shirts come in adult sizes? Not guilty!
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site