Yo Gabba Gabba is an American-Canadian-Scottish live-action children's television educational comedy music show that aired on the Nickelodeon network from 2007 to 2009 and Nick Jr. from 2007 to 2015. The show bills itself as "with a cult-like following", explaining that hipsters without children watch the show. There is a single topic in each episode, e.g. "Adventure", "Friends" and "Dance", through songs and short story lines in the half-hour program. Additionally, the show teaches children life and social skills, such as sharing and trying new foods. It also encourages viewers to move along with and dance with the characters in the program. The show is noted for its indie-culture guest stars and bands, and for drawing visual inspiration from 8-bit video games and H.R. Pufnstuf, among other television shows. Created by Christian Jacobs (lead singer of the Aquabats) and Scott Schultz, the show's learning process has parents, older siblings, and younger kids watch the show together rather than letting it act as a babysitter. The television program has spawned a touring live stage show, various toys and branded clothing. Trademarks relating to Yo Gabba Gabba and its characters are held by Gabba CaDabra, LLC in partnership with the Magic Store and W!ldBrain. Unlike the Teletubbies, the characters on the show are well developed and are able to communicate. Due to creative differences with Yo Gabba Gabba LLC and Nickelodeon studios, the show was canceled in 2015.
Hosted by a DJ named DJ Lance Rock, the series featured a mix of live-action segments featuring 5 costumed full-bodied puppet characters -- Muno, Plex, Foofa, Toodee, and Brobee, — and many short animated sketches and musical numbers.
The language spoken in Yo Gabba Gabba is more developed than some of the younger pre-school television shows. The stories are more complex, and the spoken language 'drives' them. The language in Yo Gabba Gabba is structured to allow children to engage with, and better understand, their feelings and motivations.
Yo Gabba Gabba is set in 4 realms of a land and deals with dilemmas, challenges and issues common to very young children, such as biting your friends, or not owning up. Story lines provide a non-threatening context within which such issues can be discussed and resolved simply. These characters move like real children; they laugh at the same things they do; sing the same songs; play the same games and see the world in the same way.
The characters are well developed and children are able to predict what their responses might be. The mixture of story, song and creative activity provides excellent opportunities for children to learn through play [according to whom?]. Music plays an important part in the programme and children are encouraged to join in with songs and actions. Yo Gabba Gabba is basically TRL for kids because of its rip-rollicking music videos. Tune in, and you'll get a who's who of indie punk rock music today, including Weezer, MGMT, The Flaming Lips, Belle & Sebastian, Band of Horses, The Shins, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Biz Markie, The Roots and The Killers!
Yo Gabba Gabba was developed by two Greater Los Angeles parents, Christian Jacobs and Scott Schultz, who first started working together as teenagers, producing and directing skateboarding videos. Both had no previous experience writing for television, let alone children's broadcasting or education. In developing the show they took inspiration from a number of sources including Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Pee-wee's Playhouse, ZOOM, as well as Sid and Marty Krofft Puppet shows Banana Splits and H. R. Pufnstuf.
In 1999, after becoming fathers, Christian Jacobs and Scott Schultz started playing around with children’s television and produced a pilot independently financed by small loans from friends and family. Yo Gabba Gabba did not get much attention until it started circulating on the Internet. Jared Hess (Writer and Director of Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre) saw the pilot online and recommended it to Brown Johnson, the executive vice president and executive creative director of Nickelodeon preschool entertainment. Yo Gabba Gabba premiered on Nickelodeon on August 20, 2007.
The Gabbas consist of DJ Lance and 5 costumed full-bodied puppet characters (Muno, Plex, Foofa, Toodee, and Brobee). Other characters have appeared occasionally, including Muno's sister Chibo, his brother Gogo, his parents, Foofa's brother Fooful, Toodee's brother Keedee, Gooble, Sparkles the Unicorn-Giraffe, Barbara the Bird Lady and her daughter Lola, and the band the Yo Dazzlers. There have also been several animated characters.
The six main characters appeared in the first episode Eat, which was filmed at Downey Studios & aired on August 20th in 2007.
The Gabba Gang was played by only one set of actors, while the voices were provided by other actors. Unless otherwise indicated, all the following actors and voice talent were in the show from 2007 until its last episode, Day Camp, in 2015.
The show was produced by The Magic Store and W!ldBrain Entertainment. Yo Gabba Gabba! airs on the Nick Jr. cable network in the United States and the Nick Jr. networks in the United Kingdom & Ireland, Italy, France and Australia as well as Treehouse TV network and Family Jr. in Canada, CBeebies in the United Kingdom, Disney Junior in Latin America and RTE2 on RTÉjr in Ireland. The series premiered August 20, 2007 on Nickelodeon as part of its Nick Jr. block, and began broadcasting in reruns from February 23, 2008 to October 24, 2016 on the Nick Jr. TV channel. The show was not renewed for a fifth season.
All episodes follow a similar format. In the opening scene of the episode, DJ Lance Rock is shown walking on a plain white background while holding a gray radio with colorful buttons. He then arrives at a table with four different colored lands and a gray cloth underneath it. He then places down the radio, and then he shouts "YOOOO Gabba Gabba!" and opens the radio, and inside it are 5 toy figures: Toodee, Muno, Foofa, Plex, and Brobee. He places down the figures one-by-one, and then they become alive.
The episode features four main segments (shortened to three after the first season) that are connected to each other as a plot. They involve DJ Lance and the gabbas doing an activity. After each main segment, a short clip is shown that shows a kid dancing around. The kid says his or her name, followed by "I like to dance!".
Between the main segments, there is another segment called "The Super Music Friends Show", which features a performance by a band about the episode's topic. Other small segments include "Mark's Magic Pictures" and "Biz's Beat of the Day".
Near the end of each episode, DJ Lance and the gabbas do a mix-like song about what had occurred during the main segments. After it is finished, DJ Lance shouts "YOOOO Gabba Gabba!" once again, and then Brobee, Muno, Toodee, Foofa, and Plex turn back into toys. One-by-one, DJ Lance puts them back in the radio, closes the radio, and then walks off carrying it. The credits then roll.
Television Soundtrack releases
Two television soundtracks have been released featuring songs from the show performed by the cast and the Jingles or "Super Music Friends Show" segments.
ABC for Kids released a CD in 2010 titled Yo Gabba Gabba! Party In My Tummy.
Five albums have been released featuring songs from the show performed by the cast and the Jingles or "Super Music Friends Show" segments.
In other media
On March 8, 2017, the first season (20 episodes) of the show were made available for streaming on the Noggin video subscription service. The series was removed from the Noggin App on June 25, 2019. The series was also removed from the Nick Jr. website, the seasons got removed from iTunes and Amazon Prime Video, and the “Yo Gabba Gabba! episodes that were on the Nickelodeon iTunes compilation collections were removed as well because Nickelodeon lost the rights to the show. However, it is available on YouTube, Roku, Xumo (Seasons 1 and 2 only), and Tubi.
On April 30, 2008 the television show received a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design/Styling. The show has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy in both 2008 and 2009 for Best Costume Design. Time magazine's James Poniewozik, who said the show "will convince you someone slipped something into your Fruity Pebbles" named Yo Gabba Gabba! one of the Top 10 new TV series of 2007, ranking it at #8. In November 2008, the Yo Gabba Gabba! production team won a BAFTA Children's Award, International. The show has also become popular among some college-age young adults because of the artists often featured. Due to the show's popularity amongst both adults and children, they performed at Coachella 2010 as special guests. Their live touring show also won a Creative Content Award at the 2010 Billboard Touring Awards. The Television Critics Association Awards have nominated Yo Gabba Gabba! for Outstanding Achievement in Children's/Youth Programing. The years include 2008–2012. Yo Gabba Gabba! won for the year 2009 and 2010. In February 2013, Yo Gabba Gabba! won two Kidscreen Awards for "Best Non-Animated or Mixed Series 2013" and "Best Music 2013"