[Five Deadly Everythings]

Your kid is a hipster

Posted in lifestyle marketing, television by Jef on May 22, 2009
hipster kids

My dad says your dad is lame.

As Adbusters put it, “hipsterdom is the first ‘counterculture’ to be born under the advertising industry’s microscope,” so the hipsters-for-kids campaigns are less of a surprise than they are plain weird. I’m probably just hating anyway, because my childhood wardrobe was hand-me-downs and bootleg name brand t-shirts made by my relatives in the Philippines (worn without irony). Whether they’re taking cues from Vice’s Dos and Donts or not doesn’t matter; most kids dress better than I do right now, let alone when I was their age.

Yesterday though I watched a couple of epidsodes of children’s show Yo Gabba Gabba and realized the hipster marketing of children’s products goes beyond just garments — it’s now in the shows that teach your kid to talk and dance. And beatbox too, via Biz Markie, as Yo Gabba Gabba would have it.

My friends are all reaching that married with kids phase in their lives and so a good amount of my time spent at their places consists of playing-peekaboo and watching children’s programming. Yo Gabba Gabba, a favourite of my boy’s baby Dev who plays the drums and who can’t form sentences but can recognize a member of the Juice Crew, was the first toddler show I’ve watched that didn’t make me want to fold over into myself and stop living.

yoGabbaGabbaFirst hitting airwaves in 2007,Yo Gabba Gabba, its title a reference to the Ramones, is a hipster-friendly affair where guests like Jack Black and Elijah Wood pop up to teach kids how to ‘dancy dance.’ Jack does a disco routine while Elijah just kind of spazzes out. The Shins drop by for a performance where they sing the Generation Y-ish lesson that sometimes you lose in life, and that’s OK. The Ting Tings do their version of the birthday song. The regular characters are designer toy-styled creatures (one of them a one-eyed monster resembling a giant dildo) who frequently tear the seams of the show’s illusion by turning their backs to the camera, showing their zippers and revealing they are just costumes worn by people. How’s that for breeding a worldview of disaffection?

Except the show isn’t ironic in the alienating way, it’s fun and most of the songs even when not by established bands are actually quite good. It’s no wonder Dev is already showing signs of rhythmical talent. The show’s musical bent informs its entire universe — lording over the friendly creatures is a DJ with black horn rimmed glasses, who drops hi-fives from the clouds.

The show apparently has a merchandising deal with Kid Robot and Paul Frank’s monkey makes guests appearances. I won’t comment too much on the implications of the program’s marketing strategies, as I don’t have kids and don’t want to think about problems I don’t have and aren’t looking to have any time soon.

Your kid having hipster tendencies sounds horrible if it only means them dressing like a Myspace rapper, but when it expresses itself in fun, quality programming you can stand watching with your baby, things could be worse. It could be Kideo. Going back to Adbuster’s take on the non-counterculture, Yo Gabba Gabba at least attempts or feigns to teach lessons, something adult hipsterdom never did or even tried to do.


4 Responses

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  1. Simon said, on May 22, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Nice post.

    In all honesty, I don’t even fully understand what a hipster is anymore.

    I’m still trying to get into this Alice Deejay stuff. Is she still cool?

  2. trEmaine said, on May 22, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    I can’t stomach Yo Gabba Gabba, and I have honestly tried… Kids are rocking the little mini back packs too. I think their style of dress and interest in certain hip hop tracks or shows such as Yo Gabba Gabba is super duper cute.

  3. jeflee said, on May 25, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Simon — yeah, for me it’s kind of like “douche bag”…used to refer to something very specific but over time became a catch-all term for a lot perceived “unlikable” things that kinda sorta relate to the original but not always. i have a specific meaning in mind though when i use it.

    Tre — is it Gabba Gabba specifically that you can’t stomach, or baby shows in general? which ones don’t bother you?

  4. Anupa said, on May 26, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    you know that my kid (if i ever have one) is going to be a hipster.
    also, i really wanna watch this kid’s show now. thanks for putting me on lol

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