Yo Gabba Gabba! GAGG Factor: 7
I was inspired to write this entire entry after posting an entry on Facebook that said, in effect, the only people who think YGG! is "cool" children's programming are those with no kids of their own. My two-year olds don't give a frog's fat ass if the Shins or Aquabats are playing the "The Super Music Friends Show." It regurgitates almost as much of its own content as the Wiggles, attempting to hide the fact by catering to hipster parents with 8-bit video game interstitials and distracting cameo appeara...holy shit! Is that Tony Hawk?!
LazyTown GAGG Factor: 7
This Icelandic product is pretty much the creepiest show on TV since Twin Peaks. There's the off-putting mix of live action and puppetry (or a combination thereof, in the form of villain Robbie Rotten), the town's children -- all of whom personify laziness in some fashion -- or the relationship between "Sportacus" (Magnús Scheving) and his sidekick "Stephanie" (Julianna Mauriello). At the show's debut, Scheving was 40, Mauriello...13. Frankly, if I'm gonna watch any Icelander on TV, it'll be this guy.
The Fresh Beat Band GAGG Factor: 8
Compared to this saccharine marketing exercise, the Monkees were G.G. Allin and the Murder Junkies. Initially dubbed "the Jumparounds," and soon renamed with not-so surprising rapidity (my fellow parents and I were referring to them as the "Reacharounds" as soon as those first Noggin promos aired), the generic misadventures and bland pop stylings of Kiki, Marina, "Twist" and "Shout" are what all entertainment will resemble if Mitt Romney is elected President. "Keepin' it real, banana," indeed.
Barney & Friends GAGG Factor: 9
The lunatic purple dinosaur (just listen to that laugh) has been on hiatus since 2009, but the damage has already been done. DVDs seem to perpetuate themselves endlessly, like protozoa, and the show still airs on PBS and Sprout. My oldest went through a Barney phase when her (former) day care let her watch it, but so far we've been successful keeping it away from the others like it was pesticide. One mitigating factor: Barney was the inspiration for the underrated Death to Smoochy.