Nickelodeon // 2012 // 96 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Erich Asperschlager // April 28th, 2012
"And this was going to be the best balloon art party ever."
The latest Yo Gabba Gabba release expands the Gabbaverse with trips to a secret spy base, outer space, and even the nothingness beyond Gabbaland. Yo Gabba Gabba! Super Spies collects four more episodes from the hit kids' show, featuring the new title episode:
* "Super Spies"
Muno, Plex, Brobee, Toodee, and Foofa are busily preparing for the big balloon art party when a bad spy named Bateman (Jason Bateman) distracts them so he can steal their balloons. Plex equips everyone with super spy gadgets, and they set off to catch him, battling bubblegum traps and robot henchman.
Also included in the episode: Swedish indie trio Peter, Bjorn and John sing "I Wish I Was a Spy"; and a stop-motion Story Time about a kid spy who makes a new friend.
It's a day of mysteries in Gabbaland, as deerstalker cap-clad DJ Lance helps Muno find his missing hat, while Plex and Toodee follow a trail of flowers through a spooky cave to track down Foofa and her mysterious picnic guest.
Also included in the episode: Biz (aka. "Sherlock Homeboy") throws down a mystery beat; Paul Scheer and Jack McBrayer tell the Knock Knock Joke of the Day; Super Music Friends Ladytron play "Use Your Mind"; and a monkey-themed Story Time.
While stargazing, the Gabba pals focus in on a sparkly planet high in the sky. DJ Lance surprises the gang by giving them a rocket ship. Dressed in Team Zissou-style blue jumpsuits and orange caps, they take off for outer space to visit the planet's purple-skinned inhabitants, the Eelaks.
Also included in the episode: an intergalactic Story Time about an alien with an asteroid problem; Super Music Friends the Electrocutes sing "Zero Gravity"; and DJ Lance teaches kids the Moon Bounce dance.
Brobee is tired of being the littlest Gabba, so his friends try to help him feel better by pointing out all the big and small things in Gabbaland. When it's time for Plex to send DJ Lance back, however, Brobee gets in the way of Plex's magic ray and ends up getting zapped into the big white room instead. Brobee finds out what it's like to be really big, taking over DJ Lance's duties above the playset.
Meanwhile, Mark Mothersbaugh draws fleas on skis; Jem and the Yo Dazzlers sing "Some Things Are Big, Some Things Are Small"; a balloon animal artist shares his Cool Trick; and a Story Time baking competition proves that the biggest cake doesn't always taste the best.
This latest DVD comes in the same 2.0 Dolby Stereo, full frame format as previous releases. No bonus features.
Yo Gabba Gabba gets a lot of play in our house, in DVD, streaming, and CD form. It's been less than a week, but I've got a feeling Super Spies is going into heavy rotation, especially the title episode. The best Gabba shows tend to be either the simplest or most ambitious. "Super Spies" is definitely the latter, with a real story, special effects, a car chase, cool gadgets, and disguises. It also features a memorable performance by Jason "Don't miss the string art" Bateman, one of the only real antagonists I've ever seen on the show. Sure, he does a miraculous about-face at the end (something about stealing because he loves art), but for most of the episode he gives the show a welcome injection of menace. "Space" is another winner -- quoth my daughter, "Space is my favorite" -- as is "Mystery." The only disappointment is "Big," mostly because I read somewhere that it included a trip to DJ Lance's house. It doesn't. To be fair, that promised visit isn't mentioned on the back of the box. Brobee's sudden growth spurt is reminiscent of giant Animal in The Muppet Movie. The twist is neat, but it comes late in the episode and never really pays off. You know, because I hold goofy kids' shows to high narrative standards.
Bad spy, fun DVD. Not guilty!
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site