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Why parents and kids are gaga for 'Yo Gabba Gabba'

The reason Yo Gabba Gabba! is one of the coolest kids' shows on TV has very little to do with 4-year-olds mesmerized by Nerflike monsters teaching life's lessons. Funky animation and catchy songs give it a retro psychedelic vibe that's just as appealing to college kids sprawled on beanbags having a "party in their tummy" with pizza and a six-pack. Here are five reasons why Yo Gabba Gabba! is irresistible.

Two dude dads

It was created by two hip dads who are indie pop-rock musicians themselves. Scott Schultz was in a band called Majestic, and Christian Jacobs is in the Aquabats. They wanted to rock kids with a modern music show that parents wouldn't mind watching, too. The show eventually got noticed by Nickelodeon execs on the Internet, debuting on Nick Jr. in August 2007.

Today's star is . . .

Parents and teens plop on the couch to see their fave celebrities: Jack Black, Tony Hawk, Elijah Wood, Sarah Silverman, MGMT, Sugarland and the Ting Tings. Bizarrely, culinary bad boy Anthony Bourdain did a stint as Dr. Tony in a white lab coat when Toodee got sick. (Word is his young daughter is a fan.) No Katy Perry — yet.

Tune in for tunes

The show revolves around music, often set to insanely contagious hip-hop beats. Even the name is a nod to the Ramones ("Gabba gabba hey" is a phrase in the song Pinhead). "Music is the linchpin," Schultz once said in an interview. "It's the common ground between us and our kids."

Retro vibe

It's like all our old favorites rolled into one: Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Pee-wee's Playhouse, The Electric Company and Sid and Marty Krofft's H.R. Pufnstuf. "I think Pufnstuf is a great analogy," Schultz has said. "It's kind of like a cartoon come to life."

'Party in My City'

Expect a giant video screen, confetti cannons and, of course, balloons when the show hits Tampa on Saturday. "It's pretty much a Flaming Lips concert for kids," Jacobs once said. A lot of kids — and sometimes parents — dress up for the roadshow anyway, and with it being the day before Halloween, expect a bonanza of Brobees and Foofas. There's always a special celebrity guest, but that's a surprise. There are two shows at the St. Pete Times, at 2 and 5 p.m. $28.75-$48.75. (813) 301-6500.

Compiled by Times staff writer Kelly Smith. Sources: (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, vindy.com, Vancouver Sun.

The characters

The live-action characters — played by mascot dancers from Disneyland — live in a magic box in Gabbaland.

, DJ LANCE ROCK

Played by Lance Robertson, he brings toys to life with the words "Yo Gabba Gabba!" Uses a mysterious boom box.

BIZ MARKIE .

Beat-boxing instructor extraordinaire. Real-life rapper. Had a Top 10 hit in 1989 with Just a Friend.

FOOFA

Tambourine player. Sensitive type. Loves unicorns.

TOODEE

Bassist. Part cat, part dragon. Likes to have fun.

PLEX

Keytar-playing robot. Beams in special guests.

MUNO

Guitar-playing cyclops. During Super Bowl XLIV, he appeared in a commercial for the Kia Sorento.

BROBEE

Drummer. Balloons are his thing.

Sources: (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, People

Why parents and kids are gaga for 'Yo Gabba Gabba' 10/27/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 5:30am]
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