Saturday, March 27, 2010

Yo! Mr. Gabba Gabba

Dear Parker Jacobs,

I’d like to thank you for posting a comment on my blog for two reasons: 1) I appreciate your feedback and behind-the-scenes information, and 2) it has provided me another blogging opportunity since blogging this frequently has left me a little on the dry side of creativity. I hope you don’t mind my making this letter more public--it’s kind of what I do. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I’ve written to Christine Alaniz, a Dodge van designer, the Allergan R&D Department, and of course Santa. The only one I’ve ever heard back from was Santa because Santa is good like that.

I apologize for insinuating that you (the designers) were drug users. You being LDS and all, I can understand how you might take offense. Not that I haven’t known my share of LDS friends who “dabbled” in mind-altering substances when I lived in Arizona, but as you stated, you do not. I stand corrected. I also can appreciate the time it takes to create this show (“garbage” I think is how I put it…) because it takes my son WEEKS to create a project for school with a piece of foam board, some markers, and a pile of construction paper, and he’s not even taking that thing live.

I do stand firm in my opinion that Gabba Gabba lacks more obvious threads that tie segments together and that DJ Lance is a little unrelatable. My kids have never even heard of Mork and Mindy nor have any idea about the 60's and 70's which would be the type of prior knowledge they would need to appreciate Lance’s outfit and outrageousness. After having taught first, second, and third grade, I agree that the different colors, shapes, sizes etc. make your characters interesting to look at—but that’s about it. Honestly, us parents just don’t get it. I’m fully aware we’re not your target audience but you need some degree of parent-buy in to make me want to put your show on the tube. If it’s one more thing in my life that gives me a headache, chances are good I’m going to pass it up and suggest Dora, Barney, or Olivia. My good friends did feel it prudent that I mention that my almost three-year old daughter asks for “Gabba Gabba” when she is over at their house, although I’ve never heard her request it around me. So you do have a fan in our home even if I’m reluctant to encourage it.

Now let's address Muno. You’re killing me with the story about your brother, which suddenly makes my joke appear cold and insensitive. A partially bind brother drawing one-eyed self-portraits as a child is image enough to elicit a sobbing response from the Grinch himself, and I find it a nice tribute to your brother to incorporate this secret family history into this character. I’d venture to guess that the majority of the general public has no idea about this homage to your brother and putting one eye on a red, bumpy, phallic symbol is a huge oversight, LDS or not. The obvious one-eyed character should have been Plex because robots are robots and much more accustomed to having one eye. Even Brobee could have pulled it off with the added benefit of his unibrow being that much more pronounced.

And call me a feminist, but Foofa is a sad role model for girls. My 9-year-old daughter takes karate, plays basketball, can wrestle her brother to the ground and with any luck, my three year old will be just as strong. Foofa is all things stereotypic: pink, whiny, soft-spoken, and “moody” according to the Yo Gabba Gabba Nick Jr. Website. Her character isn’t a role model I’d like my daughters to emulate because the last thing I need around my house is more whining. It seems like your group of designers went out of their way to think outside the box with the other characters and yet Foofa isn’t all that creative. Maybe you could have her attend an assertiveness training session in one of the segments, where she learns how to stand up for herself and practices talking in a normal voice. Maybe she could even wrestle Plex and win. That would make for good Gabba Gabba.

But of course, these are all just suggestions and musings from your average, run-of-the-mill, suburban mom and nothing you should take personally. This probably isn’t the best time to plug myself, but if your group of friends need more suggestions or ideas for this show or new ones you may have in the pipeline, I’m incredibly available. As a freelance writer, former teacher, and mom of three, I have plenty I could bring to the table, and I promise not to crack any more jokes about drug use. Keep up your work because it’s obvious plenty of people love the Gabba idea, even if I find it all a bit….weird. But I have gotten two blog posts off it so that’s somethin’.

Warm regards to your children, family, cousins, friends, and of course your partially blind brother,

Rachel Vidoni
Mom and Self-Appointed Childrens Programming Critique-er Extraordinaire

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