After 10 years on Nickelodeon, it’s time to take stock of ‘Dora the Explorer,’ starting with the adventurous lass’ appearance Monday afternoon at the New York Stock Exchange, where she rang the closing bell at 4 p.m. along with producers and Nickelodeon execs.
Dora is a bona fide phenomenon with young fans who speak dozens of languages throughout the world, but she originally broke new ground as a pioneer in multicultural kids’ TV with her Latin lineage.
Like other kids’ TV superstars, ‘Dora’ toys and other products are a ubiquitous presence in millions of households. Her show has so far spawned one Nick spinoff, ‘Go Diego Go!’ featuring her cousin.
“Dora became a pop-culture superstar, a lucrative franchise and a force that helped shift the globalized juvenile television landscape that has become increasingly multicultural and bilingual,” wrote the L.A. Times in a definitive profile of this globe-trotting seven-year-old.
Dora is considered the first kids’ show character to truly speak to bilingual kids in the U.S. – the ones growing up in households where both Spanish and English are spoken. But her appeal has turned out to be universal with English-speaking children picking up Spanish phrases and words in each episode of ‘Dora the Explorer’ (seen weekdays at 8 am/7c on Nick). Dora applies the day’s words and phrases to solving a puzzle or problem – a process in which kid viewers are encouraged to participate.
The character has been voiced for the last two years by 10-year-old New Jersey native Caitlin Sanchez. “My experience so far has been amazing,” the young actress told the San Antonio Express-News. “I love voicing the character! The best part is dressing up and going to events and seeing how much kids love her. I never realized how much they loved her until I started going out to events.”
Dora is such a huge icon that scores of parodies have turned up on YouTube, including a spoof of the trailer for the Leonardo DiCaprio film ‘Inception’ that has been viewed by more than 1.2 million people. Watch it here, and enjoy tenfold if you’re a parent:
This Sunday night, Nick will mark Dora’s 10th anniversary with a special prime-time movie, ‘Dora’s Big Birthday Adventure’ (airing 8/7c) followed by a documentary on the history and production of her show. Rosie Perez, Hector Elizondo and John Leguizamo are among the guest voices in the movie.
“My kids grew up with that chica,” Leguizamo told the L.A. Times, which noted that he guest-starred in a 2005 episode as Capt. Pirate Piggy. “I’m probably helping my career having my name associated with hers!”
And with that, we all say “Gracias!” and “Felicidades!” (that’s “Congratulations” in Spanish) to Dora for 10 great years. Muy bueno!