Saturday, March 29, 2008
How The Who With The What Now? Yo Gabba Gabba !
If you don't have young children at home, there can be whole swaths of the flickering tube landscape that you never see. Kids programs are one execrable thing after another, generally. Miss Jean made your trousers fit funny in the sixties. Sesame Street had Stevie Wonder playing on it the first time I saw it, how bad could it be? Bugs Bunny re-runs are a touchstone.
The rest of it, and there is a lot of it, oscillates wildly between watch-paint-drying dreck like Mister Rogers, to the aggressively awful stuff like the Wiggles. I'm grateful that I've been blissfully spared from the Barney infection and the Teletubbies pandemic and all those Vegan superhero cartoons in the nineties and all sorts of crappy totsam and jetsam. Either someone's sitting there like an oil painting, being preachy, or everybody's running around like someone swapped chili powder for talcum powder in the dressing rooms. I saw the Wiggles once, and wanted to drive to Australia and beat them with an elm cricket bat.
Upon reflection, that seems like an impractical way to signal my displeasure.
We're behind the curve with any sort of entertainment here, getting it mostly as disc compilations after the thing is all over, but we appear to be caught up in one in real-time for the first time ever. Have you seen Yo Gabba Gabba?
Like all things that become ubiquitous, it must have several appeal. (If you do not know that "several appeal" is not grammatically incorrect, simply fusty, please avoid the urge to correct me in the comments anyway. If you do not know what "fusty" means, I do not know what to advise. Try prayer, or the dictionary. They're both pretty soothing.) College kids must watch it and think it's trippy, man. Dad must not want to put his foot in the screen when he hears the 132nd mention of the word "sharing" on April 16th. Mom would probably prefer the hosts do not look like bus station perverts.
And of course, the four year old has to be captivated by it. But it doesn't stop there. Four year olds are captivated with dust bunnies and volcanoes alike. I have to keep my child from peering too closely into the caldera of popular culture because to fall in is to be consumed, but I must not totally cut him off from everything or he will be playing with dust bunnies.
I was pleasantly surprised when I entered the room with the screen at our house, and my tot was assiduously trying to mimic Mark Mothersbaugh drawing a face on a dry-erase board. Then he shouted: "My name is Garrett! and I want to dance"; and then he and DJ Lance Rock did.
Bootsy Collins and Mister Rogers had a love child. And I pronounce it good. Or at least harmless.