Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dora the Explorer - TV Show

Dora is an infectious disease that has been widespread across the United States since 2000.  That is 13 years of Dora everywhere in society, on shirts and games and TV and books.  But what exactly does she teach children?

First of all is the apparent lack of parental supervision.  This seems like it is really insulting to Hispanic families, implying that 6-year-olds (or however old she is) are allowed to roam Stinky Swamps and Raging Rivers, interacting with trolls and talking crocodiles without any sort of adult intervention.  In every episode, she just seems to be left to fend for herself with a backpack and a talking map.  And, I mean, I guess a talking map is probably better than nothing, but it seems like it would probably be filled with black magic and may not actually give the best advice to an impressionable child.  I've known many very attentive Hispanic families, so I feel like this is giving them a bad rap.

(Because nothing at all bad could happen from letting your kindergartner and a monkey drive a hot air balloon, right?)

It also teaches you that monkeys make good playmates.  This could not be further from the truth.  Monkeys are riddled with disease, rarely wear their boots, and are not known for sharing.  Has Dora even been properly vaccinated against the rabies that Boots will eventually give her?  Since her parents are absentee, I doubt it?

Foxes are just sort of dicks.  Sorry to put it so bluntly, but Swiper steals stuff.  Not to feed his starving fox babies or to pay for some really sad habit, but just so that he can throw it somewhere and jack up Dora's day.  That's not even practical thievery.  Swiper is spending hours and hours of his day just trying to screw up things for Dora.  That's maybe the most pathetic hobby ever.

(Universal parenting tip - nobody/nothing with a detonator should be around your child.)

Civil engineers in her country are apparently just idiots.  There are almost no bridges (at least in the first several seasons) in this show.  There are either caverns over which she need to walk a tightrope or rivers she needs to ford.  How is this practical?  When there are bridges, they are inhabited by a Grumpy Old Troll.  Also, there are no roads that just go from point A to point B, everything has to have three different stops through the worst possible traveling conditions.  I'm talking giant talking spiders, whirlpools, you name it.  They couldn't just... go around these places?  We have ravines here - roads just go beside them, rather than straight down into them.  Apparently it's not like that in... Mexico?  Is it Mexico?

And let's not forget the yelling.  She's always shouting demands at you to "abre" or "say it louder" - this isn't a good lesson to teach toddlers.  My daughter started loudly saying, "Cold water!"  I'll ask her how we should say that, and one time she said, "Cold water NOW!"  We explained quickly how that makes others feel - but the next time she catches a Dora episode, she'll likely just relearn the lesson.  

And then they pulled a Brady-Bunch-adding-Oliver thing when they were running out of inane storylines, and introduced the "SuperBabies," Dora's flying twin brother and sister.  I don't know, we don't catch a ton of episodes, but I don't think there has been any explanation as to why they levitate and Dora doesn't?  Are children throwing their siblings off of couches in hopes that they can also fly after watching this?  I mean, I get that any show with a giant red chicken, a talking map, and disproportionately-sized heads probably wasn't rooted entirely in reality, but it seemed like at least the humans were sort of normal.  

Anyway.  Despite all of that, Little A has an abiding love for all things Dora that I will likely just have to wait out.  I'm sure it goes away around age four... right??

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