Minorities in comics and animation: Dora the Explorer

iPad and newspaper

Updated on December 10, 2021

Continuing from last week’s “edutainment” theme is the highly popular (among preschoolers) show “Dora the Explorer.” Debuting on Nickelodeon in 2000, Dora’s gone on to become the channel’s second most popular show (after “SpongeBob SquarePants”).


The show’s premise usually involves Dora, a young Latina girl, going on various adventures with her friend, Boots the monkey. Being aimed at preschoolers, the adventures are quite tame. The main challenges are along the lines of “getting over a mountain” and “getting through the woods to reach a park.”

Occasionally, Dora deals with the show’s main villain/antagonist, Swiper the Fox. Swiper’s a thief, but can be easily stopped by Dora and Boots (and the viewers) chanting three times: “Swiper, no swiping!”

One legacy of “Dora” is popularizing the unfortunate preschool TV trend of the characters stopping for long pauses to “interact” with the young viewers. (Example: “Do you think we should cross the bridge?” (10-second pause) “We should? Great!”) In comparison, PBS’ children’s lineup seems to have skipped this trend.

On TV/home video

Dora, of course, is a merchandising phenomenon (like her Nickelodeon sibling series, SpongeBob).

The show’s also released internationally. In the US, the regular version uses English and some Spanish (spoken by Dora or a few other characters). However, a Spanish language version (“Dora la Exploradora”) is also aired on Univision (and internationally in some Spanish speaking countries), with the two languages reversed (i.e., mostly Spanish with some English).

On Canada’s French-language channels, Dora’s dubbed in English and French. In other countries, the languages usually dubbed are English and the local dominant language. The simplistic plots, of course, make it easy to dub Dora.

Dora’s popularity led to the introduction of her older cousin, Diego (an animal rescuer), who also gained his own spin-off, “Go, Diego, Go!

Photo by Free-Photos (Pixabay)

(Updated 11/14/16)

Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

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