Of all the quirks and vile innovations of the Dora the Explorer show, the worst must be the cloying call-and-response that occurs with soul-murdering regularity. It pains me to do this, but as an example, here is a brief snippet of Dora-dialogue, a written record of 2.5 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back:
00:07:37 Will you help us solve the grumpy old troll’s riddle?
00:07:43 Here’s my riddle.
00:07:45 It’s a toughie.
00:07:47 Solving riddles makes us proud.
00:07:51 How many things are very loud?
00:07:54 DORA: We have to find all the loud things.
00:08:00 Can a drum make a loud noise?
00:08:05 (drumming loudly) Right.
00:08:09 Can a fire truck make a loud noise?
00:08:15 (siren wails) Yeah.
00:08:19 Can a feather make a loud noise?
00:08:25 A feather is quiet.
00:08:27 (whooshes softly) Can a radio make a loud noise?
00:08:35 (loud music plays) Sí.
00:08:40 How many loud things did we find?
00:08:44 One, two, three.
00:08:47 Three loud things.
00:08:50 So how many loud things did you find?
00:08:57 I can’t hear you.
00:09:02 That’s right.
00:09:04 You’re really good at solving riddles.
My children like Dora, alas. And they also like Diego, though my boy calls him Dego, gleefully cursing Italians as if he were cranky old Sean Connery in the Untouchables.
But one thing I haven’t been able to understand: they like the show, which consists mostly of Dora telling you to count things or say something and then staring and blinking out at you from the TV screen, but they never answer her. They don’t count, they don’t point to things, they don’t shout ‘jump higher!’ or ‘climb, baby llama!’. They are total rejectionists, just sitting slackjawed and blinking back at little Dora.
Finally, I just had to ask. “It’s not interesting [to answer],” said the daughter, while her little brother looked confused. “I don’t know why.” I spent the next five minutes trying to get something else from either of them. No luck. They are stunned and silent about their perpetual stunned silence.
And there you have it: a TV character who talks too much, and her fans who talk too little.