The grandchild of a friend of mine recently faced a terrible crisis, one that caused a massive tantrum.
He'd failed Dora.
Some background is in order if you, like me, are not acquainted with the genre: Apparently in the course of an episode of Nick Jr.'s Dora the Explorer, Dora has some puzzles to solve. Toward that end, she requires the help of the children in the TV audience who, if I know anything about children, gleefully scream the answers out to Dora, even more loudly if Daddy has a hangover.
|Dora the Dictator, shown here with Boots the monkey, |
because she can't do a freaking thing on her own.
The young preschool grandson of my buddy had a complete meltdown the other morning because he had been unable to solve one of Dora's puzzles for her in time. He'd let Dora down. He'd failed. The episode ended, and he knew he would have to endure the shame and dishonor of being a Dora Failer.
He couldn't bear the disgrace.
Fortunately his mom convinced him that Nick Jr. would rerun the episode later in the day, and that Dora would be just as happy if he helped her when he watched it later. And he'd be better prepared!
My question is: Since when do we let TV characters dictate to our kids what they should be doing? I asked my friend if Howdy Doody was giving him orders when he was a boy, and he said no. Cookie Monster wasn't telling me what to do. I know that Steve of Blue's Clues wanted help to solve his dog's puzzles, but I don't think kids were hysterical about letting down the Steve side.
Then again, there was this:
So like Dora, Little Orphan Annie inspired slavish devotion in her audience.
Dora may even be worse, though. Apparently Dora is blamed for bullying a teenager into vaping. How much lower will she sink? And what's Boots's responsibility? Is he the brains of the outfit? Maybe Boots is getting kids to drink liquor and commit crimes!
I'm just saying, if your kids are hooked on Dora, keep an ear open to any untoward orders being issued. Words like "heist," "money," "riot," "revolución," and/or "blood in the streets" are red flags.