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Dora the Explorer

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Dora the Explorer
Dora-logo
Genre: Adventure

Family
Fantasy

Created by: Chris Gifford
Valerie Walsh
Eric Weiner
# of episodes: 178
Running time: 30 minutes
Original run: Pilot: August 17, 1999

Series: August 14, 2000 - present

Dora the Explorer is an animated television series that is broadcast on Nickelodeon in the United States. A pilot episode for the series aired in 1999, and Dora the Explorer became a regular series in 2000. The show was created by Chris Gifford, Valerie Wash, and Eric Weiner. The series also airs on Nick Jr. The show had aired on CBS until September of 2006.

Dora the Explorer has been extremely successful commercially, generating over $3 billion in retail sales of associated licensed products since 2000, including $1 billion in 2004 alone.

Characters

Dora the Explorer

Seven-year-old Dora The Explorer is voiced by Kathleen Herles in the original English version. Dora's name is taken from the Spanish word Exploradora, which means "female explorer." It is also said that her namesake is Dora Barlaz, a science teacher at New York City's Horace Mann School, who was the fiancée of the show's creator when he was designing it. They did not marry.

In every episode, Dora goes on a quest, usually to help someone in trouble or otherwise do a good deed for someone. Her quests often involve gathering key objects and/or surmounting obstacles, and are usually done in three stages. Dora always asks the viewers at home to help her do things or to tell her things she needs to know. She can think of a way out of any trouble she or her friends come across. Her love for exploring seems to run in the family. Her Abuela (grandmother) was an explorer just like Dora when she was her age.

Dora also enjoys sports as she is on a baseball team with her best friend Boots and her other friends and coached by her father. She loves soccer.

Boots the Monkey

Boots the Monkey is Dora's best friend on the show. He was originally voiced by Harrison Chad in the original English version, and is currently voiced by Regan Mizrahi . Boots is friendly and enthusiastic, and usually wears nothing but his beloved red boots, hence his name, Boots.

Boots is present with Dora on her adventures, and he helps Dora to solve clues and puzzles. He also loves baseball and is on a team with Dora as shown in one episode.

Diego the Animal Rescuer

Some more recently produced episodes have introduced Dora's cousin Diego, originally voiced by Felipe Dieppa. Diego is an intrepid young animal rescue worker and sometimes partners with Dora in her adventures. He proved to be popular enough for Nickelodeon to introduce a separate Diego series entitled Go, Diego, Go! in 2005. Just like Dora, Diego has a best friend who travels with him: Baby Jaguar, who started to talk in the Go Diego Go! series. Diego is able to speak to animals.

Swiper the Fox

Swiper is a sneaky Fox, clad in a blue mask and gloves, who appears in nearly every episode; he's voiced by Marc Weiner. It would appear that Swiper is based largely on Zorro both in appearance. As his name implies, Swiper steals or attempts to steal key items that help Dora on her adventures. Swiper never appears without sufficient notice; an ominous "whisking" sound is heard by both the audience and the characters on screen prior to the moment when items are at risk of theft.

To prevent Swiper from success, Dora would need to repeat the phrase, "Swiper, no swiping!" three times. Usually she prevails, and Swiper slinks away, snapping his fingers and saying, "Oh, mannn!" However, sometimes Swiper gets to the item before Dora has a chance to repeat the phrase. He takes away the item and then angrily says, "You're too late!" (and frequently "You'll never find it now!"). He never seems to actually want the object he takes, since he almost immediately throws it away to hide it from Dora (prompting her to ask the viewers of the show to help her find it). He swipes merely for the joy of swiping. However, if given the right reason — e.g., the item in question is a present for Dora's puppy — he'll return the item, no matter how much effort he went through to get it. It is also shown that he rarely knows the full importance of what he's taken; e.g. he had no idea the aforementioned gift was for Dora's puppy. He lives in a burrow on top of Blueberry Hill. Swiper is very fast and agile, and something of a master of disguise. He seems to have a great deal of technical knowledge, as he's built a variety of vehicles and gadgets to help him swipe things. Most of the time, however, he simply relies on his natural stalking abilities — sometimes with the aid of a costume — to sneak up on Dora. In the early episodes he often "hid" by curling up into a ball, which neither Dora nor Boots ever recognized as Swiper; he apparently doesn't do this anymore.

He has only been seen once without his mask (in the episode "Dora's Got a Puppy"), when the robot butterfly he built to swipe from Dora and Boots apparently malfunctioned; after they stopped it, it swiped his mask and gloves and kept them from him for a few humorous seconds.

None of Swiper's relatives have ever been seen, but his grandmother has been mentioned in two episodes : "A Letter For Swiper" and "Swiper the Explorer."

Over the course of the series, it's shown that there's more to Swiper's character than an urge to swipe things. In one episode it was revealed that Swiper has a soft spot for puppies, and in another that he likes Cowboy cookies. In the episode "A Letter For Swiper," Dora filled in for a delivery bird who was injured; Dora delivered stickers to Swiper (which were sent by his grandmother), and he thanked her for it without trying to swipe anything. In the episode "Swiper the Explorer," Swiper helps Dora on her quest to help Baby Fox find its mommy, and Swiper carries the baby fox almost all through the episode.

The interaction between Dora and the antagonistic fox also reveals the kindness and grace of Dora's character. In several episodes, Swiper finds himself captured, trapped or in some sort of trouble. Despite his history of mean-spiritedness toward Dora, she considers the fox her friend (which he doesn't find out until "Dora's World Adventure") and will always unquestioningly help Swiper just as she would her other friends, Benny, Isa, Boots and Tico. If Dora needs his help he'll come to her aid in the same manner.

Swiper is far from being unable to feel guilty for his actions. In "Dora's World Adventure," Swiper helps Dora return thefriendship bracelets he'd swiped all over the world, and was shown to feel guilty once he discovered the magnitude of what he'd done and what he'd stolen. During this time Swiper gets a taste of his own medicine, so to speak, as each country they visit has its own "Swiper," only of different species, who tries to steal the bracelets ; they are Fifi the skunk in France, Sami the hyena in Tanzania, Fom-kah the bear in Russia, and Ying Yang the weasel in China. All of them act and dress nearly identical to Swiper and are stopped in the same way he is ; by saying their name, followed by "no swiping" three times. Then they run off, saying Swiper's catch phrase, "Ohh, man," in the local language ; this was also their only line. Their entrances are also preluded by a sound, only with local music; e.g. Ying Yang has a chau gong playing.

Fiesta Trio

Whenever Dora and Boots are successful in a given portion of their quest (quests are usually divided into three portions), the Fiesta Trio appears from seemingly nowhere to congratulate Dora and celebrate for a brief few seconds with music. The Fiesta Trio is a group of three small animals: a grasshopper, a snail, and a frog.

Backpack

Dora's purple Backpack (voiced by Sasha Tora), which provides whatever Dora needs to complete her quests. The backpack is a magic satchel, which has been known to produce large items, including multiple ladders, two complete space suits — one each for Dora and Boots — and other items that simply could not fit inside it. Backpack seems to have much too much space within her fabric to be held in such a small area. It was given to Dora as a present by her mother and father. To make the Backpack open up, Dora asks the viewers at home to say "Backpack." The Backpack then sings a little introduction and asks the viewers at home to choose what Dora needs from among her contents. Afterwards, the remaining contents go back into Backpack. then she says, "Yum yum yum yum yum, ¡delicioso!" ("Delicious!")

Map

The Map (also voiced by Marc Weiner) provides travel guidance and advice. When not being consulted, the rolled-up Map resides in a side pocket on the Backpack; to make the Map come out, Dora asks the viewers at home to say "Map." This is the Map's cue to introduce himself to the audience with a repetitive song, which is short in some episodes and longer in others, and describe the path Dora has to take on her quest.

Usually the Map doesn't do anything more than the actions described above, but in a few episodes he plays a more active role, especially in the episode "Super Map"; the Map finds a small red cape that gives him Superman like powers, and he uses them to help Dora on her current quest.

Other characters

  • Dora's father (Papi).
  • Dora's mother (Mami).
  • Dora's grandmother (Abuela).
  • Dora's cousins (Diego, Alicia and Daisy).
  • Dora's brother and sister (Guillermo and Isabella)

There are a number of minor, recurring animal characters such as:

  • Señor Toucan, this character only speaks Spanish.
  • Isa the Iguana (voiced by Ashley Flemming), who has a crush on Boots.
  • Benny the Bull (voiced by Jake Burbage), who loves to eat, and often rides in a hot air balloon.
  • The Big Red Chicken.
  • Baby Jaguar, who doesn't speak (in this series) but seems to be just as intelligent as the other characters.
  • Tico the Squirel (who's been voiced by Muhammed Cunningham and Jose Zelaya), who only speaks Spanish, wears a colorful striped vest, and is usually seen driving his little yellow car.
  • The Grumpy Old Troll (pictured).

Additionally, the show features a number of anthropomorphic objects, such as locomotives, boats, and others with speaking roles. In addition, some episodes include talking trees, gates and walls.

Newer episodes feature flying stars, which Dora and Boots catch and put into the star pocket on Backpack. The stars are always excited about going into the star pocket, which was shown in one episode to have much more space inside that one would think, similar to Backpack herself. Normally among these stars are one or more Explorer Stars, which have special powers that Dora uses to overcome obstacles.

Episode list

Main article: Dora the Explorer episode list

Plot

The episodes of Dora the Explorer almost always follow a regular pattern, breaking the fourth wall:

  • Dora has something she wants to do or somewhere she needs to go.
  • Dora has three places to go, with the third place as the destination.
  • Dora and Boots meet Swiper somewhere along the way, sometimes succeed at saying 'Swiper no Swiping' three times; sometimes Swiper successfully swipes Dora's item(s) and hides it. Dora and Boots (or anyone) always find the hidden item(s).
  • Dora will meet one of her friends at each of the locations detailed by the Map.
  • Dora always succeeds in passing the obstacles.
  • In the English version, Dora will ask the viewers to help her by giving advice (jump, run etc.), locating items (especially those stolen by Swiper) and often shouting commands to the characters in Spanish (especially Tico and Sr. Tucan, who can only speak Spanish).
  • Every character that appeared on the episode(s) sings 'We did it' at the end except for Swiper (unless Swiper has taken some positive role in the episode, such as the episode where he rescues a lost baby fox).
  • Dora asks viewers what their favorite part was. She (and usually Boots) then proceed to tell the viewer which part of the adventure she most enjoyed. Any other major character can also be included in this section.
  • During the closing Credits, viewers are either asked to find a character, hiding in a location, or follow instructions to achieve an objective.

Foreign language versions of Dora the Explorer

As with many animated series made in the U.S., Dora the Explorer has been dubbed into many languages all over the world. The simplicity and repetitious nature of the episodes make this series especially well-suited for learning important phrases in a foreign language.

  • French. In the French language version, Dora l'exploratrice, broadcast on TF1 in France and VRAK.TV in Canada, the bilingualism is Anglo-French, with Dora and Boots (called Babouche) speaking French and other protagonists speaking and answering in English.
  • German. In the German language version, broadcast on the recently restarted German branch of Nickelodeon, the bilingualism is Anglo-German, analogous to the French and Japanese Version.
  • Greek. In the Greek version called "Ντόρα η μικρή εξερευνήτρια" (or Dora the Little Explorer), broadcast on Channel 9, the bilingualism is Greek-English. Dora and Boots (called Botas) speak Greek and other protagonists speak and answer in English.
  • Hebrew. In the Hebrew version, broadcast on HOP channel, the bilingualism is Hebrew-English. The series is called מגלים עם דורה (or Megalim Im Dora--English: Discovering with Dora).
  • Irish. In the Irish language version, broadcast on the Irish Language station TG4, the bilingualism is Irish-Spanish, with Dora and Boots speaking in Irish and some other characters speaking Spanish as in the original. This is generally uncommon, as most foreign language versions of Dora have bilingualism between the local language and English.
  • Italian. In the Italian language version, broadcast on Italia 1, the bilingualism is Italian-English. The series is called Dora l'esploratrice ("Dora the Explorer"). Most characters speak Italian, but some characters and especially Dora's parents and backpack speak English together with Italian.
  • Japanese. In the Japanese language version, broadcast on Nick Japan, the bilingualism is Anglo-Japanese, with Dora and Boots speaking Japanese and other protagonists speaking and answering in English.
  • Portuguese. In the Portuguese language versions, Dora a Exploradora, broadcast on RTP2 and Nickelodeon Brasil, Dora and Boots (called Botas in the Portuguese version and called Boots in the Brazilian version) speak Portuguese and the other protagonists speak and answer in English. Some Portuguese episodes are available on DVD.
  • Russian. In the Russian language version, broadcast on TNT and Nickelodeon, the bilingualism is Russian-English. The series is called Dasha-sledopyt ("Dasha the Pathfinder"). Dasha is the children's name of Daria (Darya).
  • Spanish. In the Spanish language version, Dora la Exploradora, broadcast on Nickelodeon in Latin America (and until September of 2006 on Telemundo in the USA), Dora and Boots (called Botas) speak Spanish and the other protagonists speak and answer in English. Some Spanish episodes are available to US viewers on VHS, and some DVDs have a Spanish track (including Dora's Egg Hunt). This version is entirely the reverse of the original English version; Tico & Señor Tucan (called Mr. Toucan) only speak English.
  • Swedish In the Swedish language version Dora- utforskaren the characters speak mainly Swedish but will have commands and expressions in English. It is broadcast on Nickelodeon and TV4.
  • Taiwan In the Taiwan language version Dora the characters speak mainly Mandarin with limited English. It is broadcast on Yo-yo TV
  • Turkish In the Turkish language version Dora the characters speak mainly Turkish, Spanish and English but will have commands and expressions in Turkish. It is broadcast on Nickelodeon and CNBC-e.

Stage adaptations

Two stage versions of Dora the Explorer toured North America, the first being "City of Lost Toys," and the second being "Dora's Pirate Adventure." Produced by Nickelodeon and LiveNation, these productions featured live actors portraying the roles of Dora and her friends, including Boots, Diego, Isa, and the Fiesta Trio. Many of the characters wore elaborate foam costumes designed to resemble the Dora characters. Each production featured a structure similar to an episode of the television series.

City of Lost Toys featured Christina Bianco as Dora, while Dora's Pirate Adventure featured Danay Ferrer in the role, a former member of the all female American pop band innosense. Both productions featured a version of the popular Gloria Estefan song "Get On Your Feet" as the final number of the show.

Both productions were conceived by Chris Gifford, creator of the television show, and directed by Gip Hoppe.

There have been three Dora touring companies. The "City of Lost Toys" company and the "Pirate Adventure" company featured actors and crew that were members of Actor's Equity and IATSE, respectively, the unions for professional actors and stagehands in the United States. The third company performs a reduced version of "Pirate Adventure" and does not employ union personnel. This production is currently touring North America, and scheduled to travel to the United Kingdom and France.

Dora the Explorer merchandise

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Currently in Canada, Cheerios is offering free Dora the Explorer the Game CD-ROMs in specially marked packages. However, customers in Quebec will only be able to use the French version. Also, there are many action figures and playsets available in many markets, along with DVDs, toys, ride-ons, books, plush, apparel, handbags, play tents play kitchens and more.

Trivia

Parodies

  • This show was parodied on Cartoon Network series Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, when Eduardo was watching a show named "Lauren is Explorin".
  • This show was also parodied on Saturday Night Live in a "TV Funhouse" sketch entitled "Maraka". [1] The sketch made fun of the pauses in the show for the child viewer to react, the translations from Spanish to English (and Chinese, German, Portuguese, Hebrew, Swahili, Xhosa, Korean and Russian.) in Maraka's sentences and had many sporadic events. Maraka was voiced by Becca Lish.
  • This show was also parodied on Cartoon Network series The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy as "Pandora" in the episode, "Pandora's Lunch Box".
  • This show was also parodied on Futurama as "Dora the Destroyer" in the episode, "Yo Leela Leela".

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