Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Origins of "Yo Gabba Gabba"

If you're a parent of a child under, say, 7 years old, then you almost certainly know of a popular children's TV show on Nicklelodeon called Yo Gabba Gabba. It's jarringly different from other, similar shows aimed at pre-schoolers, which tend to be very banal and non-threatening.  This show takes a very different, "alternative" approach.  It has these trippy special effects that look like they were originally created for a rave party.  It features musical guests who are real life indy rock bands.  And the songs they sing and lessons they teach are phrased in a this uniquely blunt, borderline sardonic way. ("Don't, don't, don't bite your friends," goes one jingle.) As a result, the show has now also become wildly popular with kids' parents, as well as college kids.

Entertainment Weekly has published an article on the origins of the show that you can read HERE. The show's two founders are 38 year old former skateboarders and failed indy rockers.  (The Yo Gabba Gabba characters Muno and Brobee were originally featured in one on their band's stage shows.)  And here's a section from the article that describes how the show's creators found the show's host, DJ Lance:

"There was only one thing missing: a host. Majestic had toured with a group called the Ray Makers, and Schultz thought one of the members just might work. One day, they visited him at his day job at trendy L.A. record store Amoeba. 'We went down and met him,' says Jacobs. 'He comes out and he's wearing this '70s getup, like he would have been on Electric Company or in Sly Stone's band — a huge beard and a giant Afro and these rainbow-colored striped pants. He had a big smile on his face and said, 'Hey, how ya doing? I'm Lance.' It was like lightning struck.' When the Yo Gabba crew offered him the job, Lance Robertson didn't take it that seriously. 'I was kind of like, whatever,' says the self-described ''big music nerd,'' 44, whose one-bedroom Hollywood apartment is stuffed with some 6,000 records. 'I did not ever dream it was going to be what it is now. But I could tell that these guys were doing something positive. I just went with it.'''


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