I Watched ‘Dora and Friends” So you don’t have to. (If You’re a Dad, You still have to!)


photo courtesy of NickJr.

Dora is in the City now. I found out from my daughter Uma. This is important to her.

This new Dora came as a surprise for me. After all, she’s only been running around the jungles of her unnamed Latin American country for 14 years.

For some perspective, Scooby Doo and his pals have been wearing the same clothes and driving the same van since 1969. They have explored every single swamp in America more than once, and somehow they still manage to stumble upon old people who want to build amusement parks on someone else’s land.


I’m trying to think of the last new amusement park. I can’t. But that didn’t stop the writers from beating that dead horse over and over and over. That’s the craft of writing in its truest form. After all, if developing an original Scooby Doo caper doesn’t give you writer’s block, then you are unblockable.

When Dora moved from the jungles to the city, the lazy so and so’s at Dora left behind Boots the monkey, Benny the bull, Isa the iguana, Big Red Chicken, Grumpy Old Troll and that pesky fox, Swiper.

No Boots? They were best friends! That’s how you do a monkey Dora? More importantly, how could they leave Swiper in the Jungle when he so clearly belongs in the city where there are so many more valuable things to steal?

The move also aged her. She was seven. Now she’s 10. She ditched the little trousers. Now she wears leggings and a dress.

  • Backpack? Gone. She’s got a magic camcorder now.
  • Map? Gone. Now he’s an App.
  • And she’s got a charm bracelet. It’s magic, of course.

This girl is too stylish to be Dora.

The Dora that I grew to love tolerate late at night when my daughter refused to go to sleep, was a squat little tomboy destined to become a woman who dressed for effeciency and comfort. Cargo pants and hiking boots, and hair done by Super Cuts.


Photo from anaydena.hubspages.com

Before her hair was like a lego helmet cap. Now it flows around her face like she’s being followed by a glamour fan. More little girl glamour. Less Peppermint Patty-ish. And there is music and friends. Like, genuine human friends. Dora doesn’t have to pretend to have conversations with animals now. She’s popular.

Dora is that precocious girl who went away for summer vacation and came back cute. She lost weight, started caring about her hair and her mom took her to Target instead of giving her Diego’s hammy-downs. Folks notice stuff like that.

I don’t like her, but my daughter loves her. She wants to dress like her and dance like her.
Whenever Dora is on I hear a chorus of “I want that!” What’s that? It could be anything from her dress to a lunchbox sitting on the table in the background. I’ve stopped trying to solve that mystery.
All I know is, this Christmas my parents will be scouring the shelves looking for merch with her new, more grown face on it. They are going to make it rain Dora and Friends on her, just like they did Doc McStuffins last year. And just like last year, another show is going to come along and she’ll be like, “Dora Who?”

Will you like it? On a scale from one to ten, where one is Barney and Friends and 10 is Yo Gabba Gabba, it’s a six. She’s no Handy Manny, (Wilmer Valderrama’s voice is the most soothing thing on the Disney Channel.) but she doesn’t make me want to rip my eyes out, either.

Why does it matter? Multi-culturalism. Her friends are a diverse bunch. Every skin tone is presented, while pesky things like actual racial identity are glossed over. I kind of wish it was less glossy in that respect. It’s okay to talk about race and color.

So, should you watch it? If you have a young daughter, you might not have a choice.