I think we all need at least one
really nice positive thing about the entertainment business every single
day of the year, including weekends. Sometimes it may be something
simple, like a video that showcases something fun and sometimes it may
be a movie poster that embraces the aesthetic we all want Hollywood to
aspire to. Sometimes it may be a long-winded diatribe. Sometimes it’ll
be from the staff and extended family of CHUD.com. Maybe even you
readers can get in on it. So, take this to the bank. Every day, you will
get a little bit of positivity from one column a day here. Take it with
you. Maybe it’ll help you through a bad day or give folks some fun
things to hunt down in their busy celluloid digesting day.
By David Oliver: Author Page
What I’m Thankful For
Dora The Explorer
One of the things I dreaded upon becoming a father was that I knew, eventually, I was going to have to spend time with the anklebiter in front of the TV watching programming made for children. I’d seen it before and I knew if I had to spend more than 10 seconds looking at that crud my brains would leak out my ears. My kid’s getting to be the age where soon I’ll start putting up the beloved oldies like Sesame Street. Spongebob looks doable, although I haven’t explored that yet. One thing I resolved years ago though, was that no kid of mine would ever be watching Barney. And I sure as shit wasn’t going to be watching it with her.
She’s also at the age where, despite how hungry she is, she’ll (to paraphrase Christian) “fight you like a Comanche” anytime you bring a spoon up to her mouth. For such occasions when it becomes akin to a Cain Velasquez fight, we have Dora The Exporer on DVR speed dial, and that seems to alleviate the situation. The show makes a lot of diversity out of a one-note concept. Basically, you have Dora, a young Latino girl who likes to wander around all episode without direct parental supervision. Her best bud is Boots the Monkey, whose shoes are so big it looks like he has club feet or something.
Some situation will come up where Dora and Boots and whatever little animated miscreant they come up with has to get from Point A to Point B, usually through two checkpoints, before arriving at their destination. In order to find their way, they rely upon Dora’s ally, Map. Dora also carries a backpack everywhere, conveniently named Backpack, in whose side pocket Map resides. Map will lay out the course, and then repeat it about ten times or so until you and your kid have it tattooed in your short term memories. Then Dora repeats it about another five times for good measure. Typical adventures involve crossing a Troll bridge, or through some kind of forest, or down a river, or over a mountain, desert, house, cave, through a bush, past a gate, etc. Backpack will occasionally be called on for some item that Dora needs, and he sucks back in the items that aren’t needed and says, “Delicioso!”
Along the way, there may be obstacles that Dora and Boots have to overcome. The chief among these being Swiper the Fox:
He’s a mischievous little shit who does exactly what his name entails: grabbing someone’s goodies or some valuable item needed to complete the journey and make off with it. The way to stop him is to say “Swiper, no Swiping!” three times. If Dora and your child get the words out quickly enough, Swiper is foiled, says, “Oh, man!” in defeat and takes off for parts unknown. Not to spoil anything, but Dora never fails to reach her destination. She’s money every time. And at the end, she, Boots and anybody else who went on the journey with them sing a song called “We Did It!”.
There’s more, like other supporting characters and occasionally changes to the formula, but that’s it in a nutshell. Along the way, Dora continually breaks the fourth wall to speak to the kids watching, including having them say words or phrases like Map and Backpack to invoke their use. She might also ask for help from the audience in order to complete some task. And she speaks short Spanish phrases frequently. It’s a solid and surprisingly watchable and fun little show. Recently, Dora was re-imagined as a tween, for kids who have grown up with her:
I haven’t seen this version yet, but if Dora’s owners were smart, they’d partner with Adult Swim and do a version of her grown up and having to travel through red light districts or rough neighborhoods or minefields or something. Maybe instead of needing Map, she now uses her pal GPS, and her traveling companion is Boots, who grew up into a ninja gorilla with a short fuse because of his club feet issues or some shit. Dora doesn’t have a backpack anymore, she has a Gucci bag or a Prada clutch or something. And she keeps guns in it. Lots of guns. She’d of course be a badass and take out anyone who got in her way (let’s just say Dora ran with a rough crowd when she got older because her parents were absentee all the time). But it’s all good because most of the people are shitheels and lowlifes anyway. Swiper could now be a local pimp or drug Lord and ain’t lettin’ some Latin chick and a blade sportin’ monkey with issues cross his turf all willy-nilly. Proper amount of blood and some Anime influences, and this is gold. I think I’d let my daughter watch that in about 15 years. I’d be watching it now:
Wanted to wish everybody out there reading a Happy Thanksgiving.