Minorities in comics and animation: “Maya & Miguel”

This week’s entry is “Maya & Miguel,” a mid-2000s PBS Kids series about a grade-school-aged pair of Latino fraternal twins.

Background

The series, like “Arthur,” doesn’t have a specific educational goal, but is more about promoting general life lessons for children. Plots tended to revolve around Maya attempting to resolve a problem or deal with a situation, recruiting the help of her brother and their friends to do so.

Maya had an energetic, excitable and impulsive personality, versus Miguel’s more down-to-earth personality. Miguel would often be reluctant to go along with most of Maya’s ideas. Of course, things usually worked out in the end.

When coming up with an idea, Maya’s hair bow would light up (akin to the traditional “light bulb over a character’s head” in cartoons), and she’d say “¡Éso es!,” Spanish for “that’s it!” (The show would make use of occasional Spanish words.)

Other supporting characters included the twins’ grandmother (“abuela“), their parents, their group of friends, and their younger cousin Tito, who idolized Miguel.

Rounding out the cast was the twins’ pet parrot, Paco, who’d occasionally utter random phrases in Spanish relevant to the situation.

On TV/home video

The series ended production in 2007. It’s still airing on some PBS stations, usually on a digital subchannel dedicated to PBS Kids programming.

A few DVDs were produced, though like other PBS Kids shows, there’s no season box sets. However, the entire series is available on digital video (iTunes, Amazon Video).

Additionally, an all-Spanish language version (“Maya y Miguel”) airs on Univision in the United States.

Voice actors

Candi Milo voiced Maya, while Nika Futterman voiced Miguel.

(Updated 11/14/16)

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