Monday, March 01, 2010

As the mother of a pre-schooler, I am getting quite familiar with kiddie television. In my house the tv stays on Nick Jr. most of the day. I like the programming on Nick because it's not only entertaining, it's also educational. Paul and I watch a number of cute shows like The Backyardigans and the Wonder Pets and Little Bill.

A couple of years ago a new show joined the daily line-up called Yo Gabba Gabba! I was totally prepared to hate the show. It looked like some kind of Sesame Street for stoners. The characters were big monster-like creatures and the host was a creepy black guy in a fuzzy orange hat. Weird, right? Except it's awesome.

I have to admit that I have been sucked into Gabba Land and all its trippy glory. I love the quirky musical guests. I love the little video game-like interludes and the spazzy dancing children. It's unique and weird and all the things I like. And next week it gets even better.

Next week Anthony Bourdain visits Gabba Land.

I knew it was coming. I had a gut feeling. According to his show as well as his blogs, he and his young daughter are fans of the show. Next week Bourdain makes his Yo Gabba Gabba! debut as Dr. Tony, coming to the aid of Tooti who is suffering from a bad cold.

The juxtaposition of the snarky bad boy rock star chef with the warm and fuzzy Gabba friends is genius. Can Tony behave? Can he be *gulp* sweet? Of course he can. Since becoming a dad, Tony has made no secret of what he calls his "transformation into Bill Cosby." He's quit smoking, lost the earring, and taken on a somewhat gentler tone. He's taken a lot of flack for it too. But that's what happens when you become a parent. I don't just mean when you have kids. Plenty of people have kids, yet are not parents. When you really take on that role, you change. You have to. You tell yourself that you will stay the same, but it's just not possible. Kids change you, but in a good way. A great way.

Sure, I adore the snarky, smoking, sour Tony of the earlier shows. But I really love this newer version. He's still Tony, but with less of a need to shock or repulse. It's more about the exploration and the story. That's another great thing about becoming a parent. You get to rediscover the world through the eyes of your children.

So, on March 10th, Anthony Bourdain will reach a new level of awesome in my book. To those who have been critical of Tony's journey into fatherhood, I would tell you exactly what I think, but according to the Gabba friends, that kind of thing just isn't nice.