Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dora, Dora, Dora, The Explorer?

My almost 2-year-old boy has recently developed an all-consuming obsession with Dora. We have Netflix, so he's been streaming the episodes to our TV through the Wii, starting with Season 1 and moving on up....and down....and up...and down...

Season 1 is pretty okay, I think. Granted, Boots is annoying and makes me hope desperately that my son does not try to emulate him. However, Dora is okay, and the show is definitely educational. I love the repetition of key words or points. The characters count everything there is to count, so I feel that the show is beneficial in that regard, as well as having the obvious advantage of exposing children to Spanish at an early age. I don't think the show is going to teach my son fluent Spanish, but even a small amount of exposure will help him more easily learn a second language later in life.

As the seasons progress, the repetition decreases, which is unfortunate. The characters still count things, but the shows feel rushed. The map's song and the backpack's song are shortened and faster. The shows begin to have more events packed into them, and odd things like star collecting are added in. I could definitely do without the "collecting stars along the way" portion. I don't find any benefit to it, and I consider it ridiculous. The show begins to include things that are more "cute" than educational, with talking insects and flying horses.

Now, I realize that I'm not the only one in the world, and that the makers of the show are trying to make more than a show - they're trying to make money. Therefore, I have no doubt that they are creating the changes that viewers claim to want. However, I don't necessarily believe that these changes are good for the children, and I don't believe that they are in line with the initial concept of Dora. What do you think?