Dora the Explorer (seasons 1-4)
Dora the Explorer is an American interactive educational animated TV series created by Chris Gifford, Valerie Walsh Valdes and Eric Weiner. It became a regular series in 2000. The show is carried on the Nickelodeon cable television network, including the associated Nick Jr. channel.
The show features the adventures of young Dora, her monkey Boots, Backpack and other animated friends. In each episode, viewers join Dora on an adventure in an animated world set inside a computer. The titular character seeks viewers' help in solving a puzzle or mystery she faces in each episode.
Why We Can Explore In These Seasons
- Cute characters, such as the protagonist Dora and her helper, Boots the Monkey, and wonderful animation to make them. There are multiple secondary characters, who are often good models like the animal helper Diego.
- Fun and interesting stories with a decent variety of plot types that are always educational such as helping someone returning home to his relatives, aiding someone in finding his true potential and bringing back an object to his owner, along with a few episodes based on characters' backstories such as Dora telling how she had her backpack in the first place.
- Swiper is a well characterized and not obnoxious villain, since while he almost always is the antagonist of Dora and her friends, he sometimes helps them, resulting in being a not stereotypical villain, averting the usual characterization of villains in preschool kids shows.
- It was the first bilingual children's cartoon to reach mainstream success, as it teaches us how to speak Spanish. In fact, in foreign countries, Dora teaches English!
- Catchy songs like the theme song, "Come on, Vamonos," "Backpack Song," and "We Did It!"
- A wide variety of scenarios depending on the episode, resulting in episodes being adventurous (like searching for a pirate's treasure), fairy (like travelling to a fairy tale world) or based on simpler activities like getting an ice cream.
- Relies a lot on fourth wall breaking when Dora needs to find a particular object or a part of the environment, providing great amounts of interactions for the viewer. Even the show's END CREDITS have the same "fake interactivity" concept.
- It earned an amazing, self-aware movie in 2019.
- Had a crossover with its spin off show, Go, Diego, Go!.
- Some iconic catchphrases, such as "SWIPER, NO SWIPING!"
- Season 3 of the show introduced Star Catching, which was a nice addition to the show.
- This show first aired when Hispanophobia was much more common, and Hispanic people were almost nonexistent in animated television aside from villains and side characters, so a Hispanic protagonist was a very refreshing change.
- There are a handful of amazing/decent episodes, such as:
- "The Big Red Chicken" (which started the show on a high note)
- "Treasure Island"
- "Three Little Piggies"
- "Berry Hunt"
- "Little Star"
- "Rojo, The Fire Truck"
- "The Golden Explorers"
- "The Happy Old Troll"
- "Meet Diego!"
- "Stuck Truck"
- "The Fix-It Machine"
- "Baby Dino"
- "Journey to the Purple Planet"
- "Dora's Pirate Adventure"
- "ABC Animals" (which ended Season 3 on a high note)
- "Star Catcher"
- "The Shy Rainbow"
- "Big Sister Dora"
- "Super Babies"
- "Catch the Babies"
- "Dora's Dance to the Rescue"
- "Save Diego"
- "Dora's World Adventure"
- "Baby Crab"
- The show slowly declined in quality during the remainder of its initial run.
- Seasons 3 & 4, while not terrible, are the seasons that began the series decline in quality as the show would start to jump the shark as it would no longer take place inside a computer (despite this, there were still visual elements like the computer mouse to imply the game setting was still in effect).
- The seasonal rot would then kick in Seasons 5-8.
- Even before Seasons 5-8, Dora's constant fourth wall breaking has always been considered annoying by some older kids and adults, since she often stays silent for several seconds in order to leave time to the kid viewer to reply. This was mocked in an episode of Drake & Josh, where "Crazy" Steve screams at Dora for asking him for help, saying that she's the one with the map, and questioning why she even calls herself an explorer to begin with. In another parody, the Saturday Night Live TV Funhouse segment "Maraka", the titular character stays silent for longer than is comfortable, eliciting a big reaction from the audience.
- The show can get formulaic and repetitive at times, after all, each episode is based on a series of cyclical events that occur along the way during Dora's travels, along with obstacles she and Boots are forced to overcome or puzzles they need to solve (with "help" from the audience) related to riddles, the Spanish language or count
- The songs, while decent, it can get repetitive at times, especially when they are repeated whenever the next episode occurs.
- While not that bad compared to Seasons 5-8 of the show, the slow voice acting that the show has can sometimes be very boring to listen to, as Dora tends to teach the Spanish language in a rather slow manner that over the years, it can become forgettable for many people.
- Quantity over quality: If we use the UK & Canada airdates + DVD release of the last few episodes of the show in 2015, and not their eventual US airdates in 2019, then the show ran for almost 15 years, which is an over-the-top rush for a show like this, and the show jumped the shark a few times because of it.
- Similar to other shows like SpongeBob SquarePants, the animation in Season 1 was a little poor, and some characters are off-model at times. Justified, since it was the first season, and improved later on in subsequent episodes.
- The show can sometimes leave the characters with almost no personality or leave them Gary Stu or Mary Sue, Dora herself is a pretty notable example of this.
- These seasons are full of quite notable errors in the production of several episodes, as in the beginning of the credits of "Treasure Island", the map is blue and coincidentally also occurred in "Little Star" and "Te Amo".
- The way that they defeat Swiper is rather cheesy and not a good lesson in real life, as they simply tell him to not steal and he regresses off. In real life, robbers will refuse to leave you alone if you tell them not to steal your belongings, and are more likely to try to hurt or even KILL you. The many parodies of the series have noted this, with Swiper either getting beaten up or killed (for example, in MeatCanyon's parody, Swiper has his arms and tongue ripped out by Boots, and then his body is dissolved in a barrel of acid) or Swiper using more-aggressive means of getting what he wants, such as shooting Dora's head off with a sniper rifle.
- At the same time, Swiper is a rather-lame villain. Anytime he actually DOES manage to swipe something, what does he do? He tosses it offscreen, making him a mere obstacle instead of a legitimate threat (in fact, whenever he does do something truly reprehensible, he immediately regrets it and drops everything to make things right). This usually happens when an episode needs to fill some time.
- Many scenes exist purely for filler. For example, in one episode, Dora saves a firefly, and its relatives all thank her. ONE AT A TIME. It quickly gets grating. In another example, whenever they encounter a certain obstacle (usually a body of some liquid), Boots will say "Can't go around it, can't go through it", even though there is nothing to indicate that they couldn't go around it. In fact, many of the obstacles in the series could easily be avoided by going around them, but then the series would have little purpose.
- This show is the longest running series to air on Nick Jr. (excluding Max & Ruby, Blue's Clues, and Paw Patrol).
- On Columbus Day 2001, 2002, and 2003, this show did a marathon.
- There was a parody called “Dora No More” created in 2012, which focused on Dora dying due to many things, including being pushed into quicksand, falling into a canyon or drinking poison. It racked up 6 million views.