Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dora Grows Up - Too Much For Some

The latest fury in children's television isn't over Miley Cyrus pictures on the web - or why such a pretty girl has a name that sounds like a medical condition - but rather over a dress. Dora the Explorer's dress.

Seems the folks at Mattel and Nickelodeon ran into a problem. Little girls who watched Dora the Explorer were growing up, and aging out, thus no longer buying carloads of Dora the Explorer backpacks, clothes, shoes, lunchboxes, notebooks, coloring books, hair bands, jewelry, key rings, and the carrying case to hold all the backpacks, clothes, shoes, lunchboxes, notebooks, coloring books... Something had to be done.

The answer, in direct opposition to the trend of aging down established characters, (Muppet Babies, Tiny Toons, Sex in the City YA novels... I'm not kidding) was to age up Dora, letting her grow up to become Dora the Tween.

That, by itself, isn't the issue. What triggered the outrage among some parents were the details... or rather, the lack of details.

Seems as a teaser for Dora 2.0, Nickelodeon released a silhouette of the character.
Without the visual references of the leggings and few other details, it's easy to see how the imagination can fill in the blanks and leave you with the impression that Dora has gone "Brittany."

Now that a full color version of the tween Dora has been released, we can see she's a perfectly respectable, fun-loving young lady of indeterminate Latino heritage. Dora is still the same sweet girl we've all come to know, just a little more grown up and without that annoying red-booted monkey. So, everybody can just calm down.

Of course, Nickelodeon and Mattel knew exactly what they were doing when they released the silhouette Dora. It got Mom all worked up about a negative role model. And just like a boy with a bad reputation, nothing scores points on a young girl's Cool Meter faster than making Mom go all spaz.

Slick move, guys.

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