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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The crying white monster on Yo Gabba Gabba

                                                      A NOTE!
For some reason, I've figured out that these pictures come up very high in the Google Images search for pictures of Yo Gabba Gabba.  I hope if you've found them that way, you don't mind that this isn't really a Yo Gabba Gabba blog!  It's a blog about my daughter with autism.  If you'd like to learn more about life with a child with autism, this post----  link --- is a bit of a sum-up I posted recently. Thanks!

Janey's latest passion is Yo Gabba Gabba. For the uninitiated, Yo Gabba Gabba is one seriously weird TV show. It's the kind of TV show I could picture being watched on college campuses after, well, illegal mind altering. It is about a guy, DJ Lance Rock, and his gang of toys that come to life, assorted odd little guys. There's lots of music by alternative type bands, lots of far out animation and weird cut scenes. It's the kind of show you watch the first time and think "what the heck?" But after time, it grows on you.

My favorite part of the show is the very, very simple social lessons it teaches. I think someone involved in the show must have a child with autism, or understand autistic kids, because the lessons are taught in the way we have to teach Janey. No long fables, no coming to your own conclusions, no vagueness. They are saying like "Don't Bite Your Friends", "Don't Hit Your Friends", "Don't Say Mean Things to Our Friends", etc. They are sung over and over, and illustrated with very simple little scenes---one of the monsters gets over-excited and bites his friend, one of the guys hits the other and so on.

And there's an extremely weird character that's on a few shows that truly impresses me, in an off-beat way. It's a crying monster, Gooble. The monster is tall and white and obviously very sad. The other characters do ask why he cries all the time, but DJ Lance Rock pretty much tells them---we don't know, but we will still be nice to him. He's our friend.

It struck me seeing this how very, very rare it is on kids shows to see an emotionally different child. Kids shows are chock full of lessons about not treating people who LOOK different than us differently. Any kid watching TV much at all will learn that lesson a thousand times over. We learn also about kids in wheelchairs, kids that can't see or can't hear, and kids that talk different languages. But when, ever, do we learn that some kids ACT differently? And act differently FULL TIME, not just shows about kids having a bad day and crying and then it gets figured out and fixed? I don't think much, ever.

Janey cries a lot. There are days she cries most all day. She is a lot like Gooble that way. We usually don't know why she is crying. Kids have asked me that, and I don't have an answer, except just that Janey is that way, sometimes. Other days, Janey laughs all day with no reason, or sings the same song over and over, or looks blankly into space, or plays with her hands. This isn't an easy, 20 minute show, problem. It's not that someone took away her toy and she is sad about it, or that she is not feeling good. The emotional displays are part of her. So it amazed me, thrilled me, that a show actually seemed to get that kids need to learn that. It's a great, great lesson. We are all different, not just physically or in terms of abilities, but in terms of how we act. I'd love to see more kids TV that addresses that. If the rise of autism is true, I would bet it's a huge growth market for TV.

Meanwhile, we'll be enjoying the inspired weirdness of Gooble and the rest of the gang.


Unknown said...

My son is starting to get into this show - it's really a wonderful, weird little show :)

Suzanne said...

It's a weird one, but I love it more all the time. I love the message of acceptance of all types, and the non-annoying music, and the interesting animation. After days on end of Disney Sing-a-Longs, it's hugely refreshing!

Amanda said...

I just googled "yo gabba gabba" to find out what it is and your picture shows up near the top of images. I was intrigued by the "for the uninitiated" line and clicked over to your blog. Thanks for sharing your story. I enjoyed your summary of the show and reading about your Jane. All the best to you and your family!

Suzanne said...

Thanks so much, Amanda! I always wonder if any of the people led to this blog by the Yo Gabba Gabba images read it---it's nice to know at least one did! I have no idea why my particular picture of the Gabba gang seems to show up so high in the list of images---there are thousand out there! But I appreciate your happening on the blog and your good wishes!

Unknown said...

You are so right on key and I would totally agree with everything you said. your story moved me about your wonderful daughter. you are so lucky to have her even with the differences like you said still all children any color, shape, issues, etc. are special and wonderful no matter what. we are lucky to have them, I on the otherhand have four beautiful children with my x husband and because he is rich and has power in his family he keeps them from me just out of spite. so hug your kids and never let them go. goodluck to you and your family and peace be with you.
-Candace B.

Unknown said...

I wouldn't say Janey is like Gooble. More like Blanky from The Brave Little Toaster or Fluttershy from MLP. The way you described her makes her sound more like Blanky or Fluttershy, as Gooble cries ALL THE TIME while Blanky and Fluttershy cry A LOT. There's a difference!