There’s a new trend in cartoons this generation, and it kind of freaks me out.

Attempted Interactivity.

I say attempted because half the time I can barely get my toddler to interact with me while she’s watching TV, let alone the TV itself.

Dora does it. Handy Manny does it. Even Mickey Mouse has come on board with animated interactivity.

But I personally find it unnerving.

Dora, like any normal toddler, never shuts up. Jabber, jabber jabber. But then all of a sudden, she’ll turn, look piercingly through the screen straight at us, and say, “Do YOU see the forest??”

Then she stares blankly in long seconds of awkward silence and, making it even worse, blinks.
Dora 2




Of course, even though the Forest is lighting up and then getting pointed to by an arrow to make SURE that you can help Dora with her mission, Ali just stares blankly in awkward silence back at Dora.




It’s weird. It’s not at all like the manic slapstick cartoons we had as kids, and so I decided that Ali needed to experience a REAL cartoon.

So I Netflixed Looney Toons.

It was a collection of Daffy Duck shorts, circa 1976, and we snuggled up on the couch to experience cartoons done right.

And I sat there, completely shocked, unable to do anything but blink.




In the first ten minutes of the cartoon, Daffy…

  • Tried to sell used cars by throwing in a six pack of beer,
  • Had a whole collection of scary looking monsters in a bar acting drunk and drinking various alcoholic drinks while Daffy entertained them by singing a song about Monsters pulling out entrails and eating human’s remains,
  • Smoked a Cigarette,
  • Smoked a Cigar,
  • Drank Wine and a Cocktail,
  • Used the word “Stupid” in a very angry manner,
  • and sang a song about greediness and deception, and how he could totally get away with it because the dead guy (that made him promise to be good) would never know, and did indeed get away with it in the end, which was the “happy” ending.

When my shock at what us kids were being taught by our classic and “innocent” cartoons passed, I amused myself by imagining Dora, Cigarette hanging from her toddler lips while she gulped down a bottle of wine, stumbling around drunk and calling Boots the Monkey stupid (while he smoked a cigar and drank a cocktail) and then talking about pulling out little children’s entrails and eating their remains.

And all of a sudden, today’s cartoons didn’t seem so bad after all.

Dora, I pledge my eternal devotion to your awkward silences.

19 thoughts on “Dora, The Saint.

  1. Yeah, we bought the kids a Tom and Jerry cartoon dvd. It has several on it. The kids turn it on and completely zone out.
    Then I sat down to watch, to see what they were so zoned into, and Oh my!
    We are sticking with Dora.

  2. I've thought the same thing! We saw some old Bugs Bunny the other day and I was shocked at the violence etc., etc., that I would NEVER let my kids watch! Funny that the adults never thought anything of it when we were watching it as children. They were just the good ole' Saturday morning cartoons!

    Although I totally agree with the awkwardness of the interactive TV thing. I've never seen a kid actually interacting. I used to try to get the kids I nannied to do it and they would look at me like I was crazy and then sit back and watch in silence. At least it's better than smoking and drinking. Haha. :)

  3. I guess my kids are the lone 2 in the world that actually talk back to the TV. They both always answer Dora. Actually, as I type this, Grayson is talking to Joe on Blue's Clues.

  4. I watched all the old catoons, never even thinking of the violence like Popeye and Bluto fighting, Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry,and all the rest.They never made me think violence was right or made me think of doing such a thing. I was raised right and knew right from wrong. These were just silly fun fights, me knowing it was not real. I do not see all the problem if children are raised correctly. All this said, I did grow up when children respected everything an adult said and teachers were repected like parents. However, were were not allowed to watch the Three Stooges because to many children tried to do what they did. Maybe it was beacause they were human and not cartoons.

  5. It helps that most of us realize those old cartoons were satire or fiction. Give your kids some credit. You know they're smart. Bubble kids never do well and they're certainly not happy. Let them experience life while you backseat drive.

  6. I was the wierd kid that wasn't allowed to watch Looney Toons and most other cartoons in the 80's. My friends all thought my parents were horrible. I watched them a few times when I was older and understood, lol!

    And my kids do talk and interract with the TV, especially Dora. They love that show and I can usually hear them yellng map or backpack as requested :)

  7. We discovered the same thing, too, one Spring Break when we sat down with a Looney Toons DVD…funny thing is, I never even picked up on it as a kid.

  8. MY BIGGEST PET PEEVE!!! Sorry, but I can not stand the pauses! The pauses drive me crazy! I'm so glad it's not just me though. The only cartoon I let my daughter watch that has the pauses is Blue's Clues because at least they aren't obnoxious with it. Normally we stick to Wonder Pets though. It's like the shrek of nick jr. Totally has potty humour that only adults get at moments, plus ming ming is adorable.

  9. Hello, to one of my favorite "Rach" girls! :)
    Regarding Dora…

    Precious Emma from Asia watched Dora almost nonstop when she lived in America and stayed at Mimi and G's house. She, seriously, learned so much and so we sent them back to Asia with many episodes she could watch on her DVD player.

    Then, they got the "Asia" version over there. Had to tell you that "Swiper" the fox is translated..Hellraiser. When Josh, who is our resident linguist and adored son-in-law, shared this..we just cracked up. I'm sure our Rachel can tell you the story much better. When they come home, we will be teaching Abbycadabra about Dora.

    Loved this story. Dora can be..kind of a calm girl who just goes over and over things..but, she is a SAINT!

    I haven't gotten to read much lately, so I hope and "pray" you are feeling better. I'm so excited for Ali to get to be a big sister. As we have 4..and our Rachel will be on #4 come September..I can tell you..I wouldn't do anything different except have 2,3,4, or more. I was forced by my body to stop..or I'd have kept going for one more. Every child is so unique..and now that we have graduated #4 from College..I'd have to add "rewarding" to the list.

    P.S. Rach loved Animal Antics as a child..try to find it. All we have is the VHS..still working!;)
    Love you, beautiful Rachel from Alabama!
    2 weeks until my beautiful Rachel gets back HOME!!!!!!!!!

  10. I take Nathan to get haircuts at a place where they have little TV screens and a selection of DVDs for the kids to watch while being shorn. (By the way, SUCH a good idea. Keeps that head still and facing forward!)

    The other day, Nathan picked a Tom and Jerry. I thought, "Hey, cool! It's something other than Lightning McQueen!" But man, Nathan was so confused by Tom and Jerry! He was asking me why they were fighting, and why the cat was getting thrown off the cruise ship, and why he was on fire, and all sorts of stuff. OH, boy.

  11. I hate the awkward silence as well.
    Tom & Jerry and The Road Runner and Coyote are noteably violent too, but my kids find it on Cartoon Network on occasion. I figure if we survived those shows and didn't turn into deranged monsters, my kids won't either. They are more likely to go nuts from the times they yelled into the tv that they already answered the question so why won't it keep going?!

  12. A convo about the old cartoons came up between my friends and I not long ago and we all realized that we never noticed what was happening in the old cartoons. I mean, I can look at them now and notice the violence and racist overtones, but it didn't really matter at the time. I think one thing to remember is that originally cartoons weren't meant for children. At some point they became Saturday morning standards (which, btw, what happened to good stuff on Saturday mornings?). As society progressed Tom being chased by Mammy swinging a broom or rolling pin, Betty Boop showing her rear end and Wile E. Coyote attempting murder a bird became ok for kids. I did grow up watching these cartoons, along with Twilight Zone, The Three Stooges, Duke of Hazzard, pretty much every horror movie that came out and swinger shows (Three's Company, anyone?) and I think i turned out ok. I had pretty good parenting, growing up knowing what was right and what was wrong, what was real and what was fantasy. And really, when you think about it, a lot of cartoons made for children these days are pretty bad: shows like Avatar and Pokemon are based around the need to challenge and fight, the new Scooby Doo shows are just as bad as they were before, Spongebob (as much as I love him) has some pretty crass jokes thrown in, Jimmy Neutron has lower forms of violence, X-Men/Wolverine, etc, etc, etc…you get the picture. In the end I prefer the old, old Tom and Jerry cartoons, though because they speak an era that most of us have never known and will soon be forgotten. The jokes in those won't be understood at all.

    Anyhoo, sorry about all of that. I can tell you something more diturbing than Dora staring out at you from the TV: Steve from Blue's Clues staring out at you from the TV. Would you rather have a cartoon do it or a really creepy looking REAL dood do it? ::shivers::

  13. Laughing hysterically!!!
    1. My H was laughing his butt off once while watching the Cartoon Network. I was getting makeup and such on and he to check it out. He's never laughed like that to Dora or any other Nick/Disney show. I chuckled.
    2. Google/Bing SNL skit Maraka (SP?), TV Funhouse cartoon. Fabulous spoof of Dora, pauses, blinks and ALL!! I watched these before I had kids and laughed and then watched them after kids and laughed harder. Seriously, if you haven't yet, do so.

  14. Yeah, what's up with old cartoons. I've been amazed at rewatching some of them. Of course He-Man is supposedly gay and the Smurfs, there is a full length movie coming out by the way, have demon names. I also rented Charlie Brown at the library a while back. He's classic, right? I had to turn it off. It is just too depressing how mean everybody treats poor Charlie Brown. But then again, I survived. (:


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