Honestly, my kids are the wrong age for Dora. As am I. I was in college when it debuted, and while my alma mater is notorious for its association with a certain now-legal-in-Washington State recreational mind-altering substance, I did not participate in it and therefore did not participate in watching said cartoon while on said substance. I watched the children’s programming of my youth, mostly. As for my kids, they were born well after the show was off the air.
But we have watched some of it, and it’s not as though the premise is difficult. Young bilingual Dora goes around solving problems with “help” from the viewing audience, not to mention her talking backpack and talking monkey. The problems are relatively simple and often use a certain amount of Spanish vocabulary, so the kids can learn that as well. Dora usually goes through two places on her way to her goal. Her enemy is the fox Swiper, who must be banished with the incantation “Swiper no swiping.”
It’s not a bad show, honestly. It doesn’t do much for me, but that’s okay; as established, I’m not its target demographic and haven’t been since before it first aired. I’d much rather my kids watch it than some of the garbage they watch instead. Dora’s smart enough, after all, and the steps aren’t artificially limited or limiting. It never seems to be Dora’s fault that things go wrong, which is, let’s be real, the biggest problem I have with a lot of these shows.
Simply being educational is, depressingly, no way of preventing being a stupid show. A lot of the time, the way they’ve chosen to teach you is about the stupidest one imaginable. But Dora’s a game kid, and I think the puzzles are perfectly set to the level of the viewing audience. At least, when the viewing audience is the actual age the show’s aimed at, you know, not when it’s being watched by chemically altered college students. Maybe then, too.
As you probably know, they’re making a movie now. It’s not the first spin-off the show has seen. In fact, the actress playing Dora, Isabela Moner, was Kate in the show Dora and Friends: Into the City!, which takes place when Dora is ten and looks more like fifteen or so. In the first episode, they’re going to a Shakira concert without parental supervision and run all over the town, though I suppose that’s not more dangerous than the other stuff she has been doing all this time. Anyway, Benicio Del Toro will be voicing Swiper in the movie, and I will be there first day if they get him to do it in his Usual Suspects voice.
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