GabbaLand is a place to encounter colorful characters with distinct personalities, “Dancey-Dance time, Super Martian Robot Girl, and a persistant case of the “sillies.” Normally you and your child must tune into Nick Jr. to sing and dance along with the inhabitants of GabbaLand, but luckily for Yo Gabba Gabba fans, the crew is coming to the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford.
On February 9, 2013, the Yo Gabba Gabba Live! Get the Sillies Out! Tour makes its stop in Conn. and kids across the state can finally see their favorite character live. DJ Lance Rock, the full-sized adult in his characteristic orange jumpsuit, will join Plex, Toodee, Foofa, Muno, and Brobee for two shows that day; one at 2:00 and another at 5:00.
Yo Gabba Gabba took daytime children’s television to another world when it first aired in 2007. Building an ever-growing audience, the show differs from many of the other programs out there for kids in ways that many parents find refreshing. Most network shows follow the trickle down format; they are invented in corporate boardrooms, often just thinly veiled “feature length commercials” designed more for their licensing revenue appeal than for any real entertainment or education value. They often feature shallow story lines, tinny, rhythmically-deficient musical jingles, and lackluster characters.
Christian Jacobs described the situation to Tricia Despres, of Skokie Review: “I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus,” chuckles the father of four and the co-creator of the award winning preschool show “Yo Gabba Gabba!.” “It just seemed that there were a lot of shows on television at the time that was made by the grandparents of preschool kids. They weren’t connecting with the kids and they certainly weren’t connecting with us as the parents. There was no straying from the formula of these preschool shows. They all seemed so sterilized and homogenized… and those were the good ones.”
This show was created from the bottom up, and that’s what makes it so successful. It was a brain child of two friends, musician Christian Jacobs, and Scott Schultz, who hired legitimate bands and hip guests to make appearances for Dancey-Dance time and other regular features. Guests have included “The Shinys”, a tamed-down name for the band, Shiny Toy Guns, rapper Biz Markie, actor Elijah Wood, comedienne Sarah Silverman, the bands Jimmy Eat World and My chemical Romance, along with internet sensation Leslie Hall and the Junior Gems.
Other regular visitors to GabbaLand are real kids, often performing their own dances, demonstrating their “Cool Tricks, Cool Tricks”, or simply gliding by on a purple-haired dog.
Each episode, amidst all its whimsical fun, does teach life lessons to the kids who watch. They might learn the importance of brushing teeth, not being afraid of the dark, that it’s okay to wear glasses, how to greet new people when you meet them, and why it’s important to not eat too much Halloween candy. (“Too much candy’s gonna make you sick; too much candy’s gonna make you so sick.”)
A Record Journal interview with co-creator Schultz describes the Oakdale performance as a musical, and one you will not want to miss if you have a son or daughter old enough to sit in an auditorium seat. Schultz: “...it is a massive dance party. It’s really the greatest hits show of all our favorite songs. DJ Lance Rock and all the characters are singing and dancing with the kids….We really wanted to make it as fun and interactive as we could make it.”
For more information about the show, visit www.yogabbagabbalive.com and make sure to visit this examiner column after the show for a wrap-up and review of the show. This author and her children are attending and plan to dancey-dance till we get the sillies out!