Dora the Explorer and the Dump of Gold
Dora the Explorer looks for toys in the trash.
I'm all for cartoons that celebrate other cultures, but is Dora the Explorer putting a positive spin on being Hispanic or perpetuating a stereotype? Let's explore...
This particular episode started with Dora's parents taking out the trash. That seems normal enough. But then Dora, Benny the Bull (who is blue) and Boots the Monkey (who has a LA Dodgers tattoo under his fur) started digging through the garbage to look for "treasure". You read that right. This episode of Dora the Explorer was about digging through trash to find stuff of value.
How did that writer's meeting go?
"Let's emphasize the hispanic culture."
"Great idea, perhaps we can have them go to a bull fight!"
"No, that's inhumane, how about Dora's quinciniera?"
"I got it. We'll have Dora and her friends scavenge through other people's garbage to find things they can pawn to get their electricity turned back on!"
The only thing missing was Dora spray painting the junk she found purple and orange and then giving it to her Mom for Mother's Day.
One of the great finds in the trash heap is a used and tattered sauce pan, which Benny the Bull puts directly on his head. That's right, he pulls a pan out of the garbage, doesn't wash it, and places it on his head. And you thought "Jackass" did some crazy stunts.
While Benny is getting a Viral infection and possibly lock jaw, Boots the Monkey finds a horn and starts playing it. Let me reiterate that. HE PULLS A HORN OUT OF THE TRASH AND PUTS HIS LIPS ON IT. Fast Forward 10 years to Boots' after prom party:
"I swear I've never been with anyone but you. I got it from blowing a horn I found in the trash. Swear to God!"
Good luck Boots. I believe Valtrax was tested on lab monkeys anyway though, so you may be able to get that cleared up.
The show culminates when Dora and her scavenger friends arrive at the dump. Normally they go to places like Candy Island but because of the economy Candy Island was seized by the government and handed over to Bank of America in a fire sale, so they had to go to the dump instead. I guess we are all feeling the pinch!
When the three amigos open the pearly gates leading to the dump it is drastically different than what you would expect. When I think of a dump I think of Tijuana. When the animators of Dora the Explorer think of a dump they think of mountains of pristine trash that literally sparkles like gold. The cartoon dump was nicer than my house. I wanted to get a sled and ride down the rolling hills of debris and frolic in its treasures. It was so shiny I didn't even care it was filled with urine soaked couches and typhoid.
As Dora and her friends root through the garbage (without gloves) they find more of their friends who are already at the dump. Backpack and Map have been there all day and have had so much fun they are singing. Have you ever been to a dump? Did it make you want to sing? Do you know any songs about medical waste and rat shit?
"We did it" sings Dora at the end of the show. We managed to take the already dismal perception of Hispanic Americans in the United States and make it a little bit worse. Congratulations!
Future Episodes of Dora the Explorer Include:
*Dora spends an afternoon in the Home Depot parking lot.
*Dora picks oranges for 25 cents a day.
*Dora goes "Around the World" for $18 and half a bag of chips.
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