Friday, May 14, 2010

The Dora Phenomenon

My two-year old Grandson that loves to watch Dora the Explorer. It's a part of the bedtime ritual each night to sit on my lap with a small drink and a Dora show on.

While this is a pleasant experience for a two-year old, it's pure torture for me. Yes, I've grown to despise Dora and all her gallivanting around and silly antics - along with all the other characters. True, the show is a great tool for teaching children basic problem-solving skills, and the Spanish language, but does Dora have to yell those commands all the time? "Get up, get up!" "Vomonos!"

Since I have the mind of a writer, I cannot help but sit there holding my Grandchild, plotting my own episode of Dora where she meets her demise. Or, maybe she could be the catalyst for the demise of the other characters. I mean, come on, I see a very different Dora if the writers of the show were to take reality into consideration, and write the show for a more "adult" audience.

I imagine it would go something like this:

Dora is at school with all her so-called, friends, Boots, Benny, Isa, Tiko, and even Swiper. The children all scramble to take their seats at the front of the classroom, throwing elbows and pushing each other in order to get that prized spot in front of the teacher.

It doesn't take long for the pushing to turn into a shouting match as Dora muscles her way to her favorite seat (easy for her because she outweighs the other children, and talks much louder too). Of course, Swiper is not involved in the action since he has an assigned seat at the back of the class due to his inherent behavioral problems.

Now, all the other children, hurt and angered by Dora's actions, simply retaliate with harsh words and name-calling. Dora is infuriated with the other students speaking ill of her big, bulbous, fat, football, head - and she vows revenge.

After school, the other children ignore Dora and head to the playground without her. Even boots has left her! Dora decides she will find her freinds, one by one, and teach them a lesson they won't soon forget.

But wait. Where is this playground? Who do we ask when we don't know which way to go? That's right, the map! "Say map. Say map, damn it!"

Of course, the map will tell Dora that she must travel through the sleeping forest, and over the troll bridge to get to the play ground. So, Dora sets off on her adventure with her trusty backpack firmly affixed across her shoulders and back, but without Boots since he sided with the rest of the class, called her names, and left with them for the playground. It wasn't entirely his fault though. Isa inticed him with a fresh bunch of bananas.

Dora runs through the sleeping forest and aross the troll bridge. She doesn't have time to deal with the grumpy old troll so she just performs a round-house kick to his bearded chin when he appears in front of her, and continues running across the bridge. She arrives at the playground in record time.

Hiding in the bushes, Dora consults her backpack for an appropriate weapon she can use to beat the crap out of those malicious friends of hers. Backpack gives her a choice of sticky tape, an umbrella, a red crayon, and an aluminum baseball bat - she chooses the aluminum baseball bat.

When all of her friends are splayed out on the dirt of the playground, Dora feels vindicated and goes into her little jiggy dance. "I did it!" she sings.

Ok, I doubt the producers of the show would accept my alternate version of a typical show. There are things that still bother me about Dora the explorer though. For instance, She seems to have reached near cult status, and my poor Grandson, who is just now learning words, can barely speak english. When I ask him what color an object is, he is likely to answer in Spanish. The upside to this is that I watch the show with him so I understand what he is saying.

Along these same lines, and while I am deep into my rant, I must say I'm more than just a little concerned with the new image of Dora. This new image is sure to give all the little girls body-image issues. Apparently, Dora has gone on a serious diet or thinned out tremendously. It also appears she's had some kind of head reconstructive surgery to decrease her head to a more believable size.

The next thing you know, the producers of Dora will further change her image to reflect the realities of modern society. I can just imagine it now, Dora all knocked up after running around all over the place in all her adventures. Of course, we never saw her attend school much so she finds herself in one bad relationship after another until fate shows its cruel hand, landing her in the welfare line.

One of the really scary things I find about Dora is the huge, gross costumes one can find people wearing while trying to emulate the character. I just think I would find it disturbing, and risk permanently damaging a young child, if a big-headed Dora character showed up in real-life at a birthday party.


Kind of reminds me of our strange fascination with the Burger King character. Is it just me or do others find this guy just a little creepy?

One last thing I would like to mention about the creepiness of Dora, does this Dora toy seem just a little odd to anyone else? I don't know, maybe it's just me and my warped sense, but I would think this toy was made more for an adult, than a child.