We were lucky with Isaac. The worst for my household was the crushing boredom enhanced by lots of “togetherness” and pregnancy-fueled hormonal angst. Lots of folks weren’t so lucky. It’s times like this, as you sit in the sun and reflect on events, that you feel a bit of survivor’s guilt. We didn’t even lose power for 5 whole minutes. Remarkable.
As I mentioned, we did have lots and lots and lots of time to sit. At some point, we found ourselves watching Dora the Explorer. Stella’s always been about 40% into Dora. However, if you were to plot Dora on a bar graph with the Guppies, Umizoomi, Baby Signing Times, and Baby Babble, she won’t even make the top 3. Hence, she’s been a rather neglected cartoon character.
I have to say, that’s some crazy stuff. Surely the writers/animators of Dora are the modern-day Coleridges of television; they indulge in a little opium and come up with….. a giant chicken, anthropomorphic trains/airplanes, a rainbow-maned unicorn (gay pride unicorn?), stars with miscellaneous super powers in addition to the power of speech, a snazzily-dressed kleptomaniac fox, a group of snails playing mariachi music…. I could go on for days. The sheer volume of odd characters is truly spectacular.
It’s not the strange characters that are off-putting to me. It’s the mixture of said-characters and events from one episode to the next. I can’t wrap my head around it. I had noticed this before on the ads for the show. Sometimes, it’s all quite normal and little-girlish: Dora’s dance slippers are missing/stolen, and the show can’t go on until she finds them, or there’s a huge gymnastics tournament, and it’s Dora’s time to shine. Then we get into the bizarre: in order to save a mermaid, Dora must become one. That one always killed me. Forget Dora spontaneously sprouting a tail and being able to breathe underwater. Forget, even, that her BFF Boots the Monkey wears boots (and how can a monkey properly climb in boots, I ask?). Boots grows webbed feet. My god. How do we go from the mundane world of dance class to Atlantis???
How can these writers mix such creatures, myths, and ecosystems in such a cavalier manner? That makes it more mind-boggling and easy to forget that there’s a blue cow walking around in a suit and driving a car or that Dora’s head is huge and oddly-shaped (I won’t even begin to go into Diego, as that’s a separate kind of hell there). I don’t even have to mention the usual lack of parental supervision during all of these adventures.
While I absolutely love that they created a strong female character for little girls that’s not equated with princesses, boobs, boyfriends, diva-ness, or shopping, why oh why does it have to be so bloody weird?