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Teach your children well


Last updated 8/21/2009 at Noon

At my 30th high school reunion, I was instantly reminded that everybody else has kids except me. I never get too upset, though, when the subject comes around because a 3-year-old chihuahua is plenty for my house right now.

You might be alarmed, however, to learn a 47-year-old man is watching a kiddie show called “Yo Gabba Gabba!”

“The Soup” was making fun of it a few months ago; later I was channel-surfing and it was on. My wife and I didn’t know what to make of it but we’ve since continued our viewing. We’re apparently not alone. The show is a cult-favorite with college kids. In the show, host “DJ Lance Rock,” unloads five characters from a giant jam box and brings them to life. They sing songs aimed at preschoolers such as “I’m So Happy” and “Don’t Throw Things at Friends.” Guest stars have included Jack Black, Biz Markie, Mark “That Guy From Devo” Mothersbaugh and Paul Williams, the leprechaun who had several hits in the ‘70s.

As entertainment, it’s interesting to say the least.

But is the show educational? Since I don’t have kids – and I’m not 4 anymore – I’ll let some Internet comments give you a glimpse of the feedback out there. Here are two negative statements followed by two positive odes:

• “I found that ‘Yo Gabba Gabba,’ like many other kid shows currently on TV wasn’t nearly as good or as educational as the classics like ‘Sesame Street,’ ‘Blues Clues,’ ‘Scooby Doo’ etc. And unlike other shows ‘Yo Gabba Gabba’ doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. They think that bright colors, weird costumes and blinking lights are what make a good, educational children’s show.”

• “This show just doesn’t make any sense and every time I see it, I always come away thinking two things – 1. What the heck was that? and 2. There’s a half-hour of my life I’ll never get back. I don’t let my 2-and-a-half-year-old twins watch this because it is just plain out there.”

• “If you have children, nieces or nephews, I strongly recommend this really cute, fun, entertaining and educational show. I guarantee you that they will enjoy it.”

• “My son was born in July, and in September we were channel surfing and he caught a glimpse of Christian Jacobs’ and Scott Schultz’ TV show, and he was transfixed instantly. We wondered if we were imagining things, so we would Tivo the shows and turn them on during random points throughout the day and, honestly, he would stop his babbling, crying, cooing or whatever and watch, and I mean WATCH this show with intensity.”

• • •

Ah. Remember the good old days, when Bert and Ernie were supposed to be gay?

Not to mention Tinky-Winky of the Teletubbies – claimed Jerry Falwell. (Forget Tinky, that Sun-Baby character just CREEPED ME OUT).

Captain Kangaroo had Mister Moose, who played pranks on people mainly by dropping hundreds of ping-pong balls on them. Usually it was the captain.

“Sesame Street” had Oscar the Grouch, who was clinically depressed. The show also had Cookie Monster, who spent many an episode exhibiting classic overeaters’ syndrome.

Like all my columns – I researched this for a whole 10 minutes, and couldn’t find anything wrong with “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” – although I’m pretty sure Good King Friday was up to something.

Barney, however, didn’t come away so unscathed. What always amazed me was that his friends on the show were 12 or 13, and here’s Barney teaching them stuff any first-grader should know.

Did a lot of weed really get fired up in Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine? Did Gilligan and Mary Ann ever you-know-what? Are we reading too much into these things? Is “Yo Gabba Gabba!” really controversy? Or just an update of debates gone by? []


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