It may be too much to ask that fictional cartoon characters behave rationally. From what I remember, though, the extreme possibilities available in cartoons were so outlandish and fantastic that they were beyond the scope of believable. Bugs Bunny did things I wanted to do, such as tormenting Canadians, but knew I really couldn’t. So I didn’t really draw any life lessons or anything else of value from the rabbit other than a few comebacks that could net me a fist in my face.
I became most troubled by what saw the other day on a show about a bilingual kid who travels the world carrying a backpack that has a map of every place I’ve never been and takes with her a pink-booted monkey.
Because we have a television and aren’t afraid to employ it as an occasional baby sitter, Apollo has developed a love for Nick Jr.’s Marina of the Fresh Beat Band, Max & Ruby, Diego, the Backyardigans, Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, and the show that gets today’s study,Dora the Explorer.
It’s a show I’ve seen a lot. Dora speaks Spanish and English, which is all good. She asks questions and waits for answers. Not once have I seen any of my kids answer out loud. By the time they’re old enough to figure out that Dora wants a response, they’ve outgrown her. Recently Dora’s mother had twins, which they didn’t realize until they were born, something that just doesn’t happen anymore, but I won’t quibble with that detail. The other day the twins escaped the house, crawl into a stroller, which makes it start rolling out of the yard on a path that will eventually lead them to a geyser, the Gooey Geyser, to be precise.
Aside from your standard negligence, so far it’s all good. Before the geyser is a farm and a garden. The parents have joined in the chase and when they all get to the farm they split up on three different paths. In the barn Dora and Boots meet a horse who tells them that he has hunger. “Tengo hambre,” he says, wanting three apples.
You know, it’s fine that the horse wants some apples and that he wants help from Dora and Boots, because I’m certain he didn’t understand that Dora’s little siblings were on their way to a boiling death in the Gooey Geyser. But I think the hungry horse would have been content going hungry a little while longer had Dora explained that she was trying to save a couple of lives. But no. Dora wants to please eveyrone and asks for our help in finding apples, then carrots. So now if those babies get cooked, we’re accomplices, unless we yell at Dora to have the sense to get going, which I have a hunch she wouldn’t have heard, despite the pretense that we’re along on this trip.
Later the group is heading through the garden and the flowers in the garden decide they won’t let anyone pass without A. Being woken up, or B. doing a funny dance, or C. making a funny face. Knowing what these babies are headed toward, I’m thinking Dora should be pulling out the weed whacker and telling the flowers to back the #$%&! off. But no, they all do their dances and faces and other unreasonable things. They end up getting to the kids just in time, but it’s all so unnecessary if they had hurried a little more, or not left the gate unlocked, or the stroller in the yard or the babies’ window open.
I’ve been watching too many of these shows.
If you’ve ever seen Dora, you’ll love this video: