Hello. My name is Kimberly Wolf. As a mom, I am really careful of what my children watch. I have two little girls, Gabi is four and Josie is eighteen months. Before I had Josie, I banned Dora in my house. This might sound silly, because you might be telling yourself, "Isn't Dora the Explorer supposed to be a kid's show?" Yes, it is, but I banned it from an experience I will never forget.
It was around Christmas of 2013, and Gabi was two years old. She usually liked Disney Junior, which had Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First, her two favorite shows. Almost every day though, she would turn to Nick Jr. and watch Dora when her favorite shows weren't on. Since she watched Dora on a daily basis, I probably thought she would like a Dora DVD. Since my husband was home and I wanted to be quick, I decided to go to Cumberland Farms. If you don't know about this chain, it's like a convenience store, and the one nearest to me, has a DVD rack. I filed through the DVDs until I finally found one. It had a normal cover, which said, "Dora the Explorer: Map Adventures". What I learned was that the cover was normal, but the DVD wasn't.
On Christmas Eve, we had our Christmas party we have every year. When we opened our presents, Gabi got that Dora DVD I got for her. She thanked me for it. But she didn't watch it until Christmas day.
So now Gabi has all her presents from Santa Claus opened. I think it was before dinner she watched it. She had her own DVD player for her TV, so I popped the DVD in the player and left her to watch it. When she came out of her room, she said, "Mommy, Daddy, Dora is scary, I don't wanna see her."
As my husband always has to assume everything he says is right, he unsurprisingly said, "Honey, it was probably nothing."
But I could see it in her eyes. She looked pale like snow, her eyes were very tired, her lips were dry, she looked exactly like she had a fever. I told her, "Don't worry, Gabi. There is nothing to be scared about. Lay in bed and rest for a while." But there WAS something to be scared about, Dora's real life.
I took the DVD out of the DVD player and sent Gabi to bed. "Hmm..." I wondered," What is so bad about a DVD that says Map Adventures?" Well I was about to find out.
At 10:00 pm, It came to my conclusion to test the video, even though I considered smashing it into bits for a while. But anyway, I found a portable DVD player I got on eBay and put the DVD in there. But before I actually did, I examined the DVD. It was a DVD that you use to record things with or burn other videos on. Written on the DVD it said "Dora's Real Life" in red marker. "Why is this not a Dora DVD?" I whispered to myself. Anyway, I put it in the player.
The DVD started, and showed the Paramount logo. The difference was, it had that fanfare instead of being silent, as the DVD logo was. I liked to hum the fanfare, so I did. But it seemed to get off key at the end. "Ugh, that was creepy," I thought. Anyway, it had a Nick Jr. logo which made me jump. Guess what it was, the orange "Nick" beating the blue "Jr." mercilessly. Who in their dirty minds would do this? Did they think this, as in child abuse, was a joke?
The theme song started. It was the theme in the earlier episodes, but with many changes. The song sounded perfectly fine, but here are all the changes. The french doors were brown and opened with a creaking noise, the arts and crafts table had a sign saying,"No tengo a nadie con quien hablar, que me ayude (I have no one to talk to, help me)" the room was dimly lighted, the orange cushion was replaced with, some kind of dark shadow, and lastly a the computer was an old white 1990s computer instead of a green one. The Dora computer game had nobody except Dora, which made me feel uneasy, then when it showed the logo, Dora looked depressed, she pretended to smile, but her eyes told everything, almost like the expression of someone about to hang his/herself.
The episode started with a text saying," Margarita Maza de Juarez, Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Mexico" It featured an orange, Mediterranean looking home, which I assumed was Dora's. It seemed rusty and boarded up, it had toys scattered all over. It zoomed into a front window that featured a messy bedroom with chipped wallpaper. The bed had an unkempt Dora with ratty hair. She woke up and said," Hola, soy Dora," then she pulled out a stuffed monkey resembling Boots and said, "And I'm Boots!" Boots was actually a stuffed animal?
Dora continued on," I need your help. Will you help me find something to do?........You will? Come on, vamanos! Let's go!" Then after she got downstairs, she told her parents she was exploring, but they weren't answering. Dora just continued and said," I think I know where we can go Boots! Where? To the big city! But Dora, how do we get to the big city? Let's stop and think...Who do we ask for help, when we don't know which way to go?.......Say map! Say map!"
Dora pulled out a scribbled on piece of paper, and Dora imitated Map saying we have to cross the the troll bridge, go in the spooky forest, and then to the big city. Then as usual, "Map" told me to say it with him, just like regularly. Dora then repeated the destinations, and when she said vamanos, she also whispered," Señor, por favor ayúdame a cambiar este mundo , Amén (Lord, please help me change this world, Amen.)."
Dora walks for a few yards, then stops and asks where the troll bridge is, although there is no bridge in sight. She randomly goes a path and says gracias and vamanos. She sings her " Where are we going?" song while waling down a hill. She randomly stops and says,"We made it to the troll bridge!"
Suddenly, a homeless man is on the screen with Dora. He looks in his mid-fifties, very filthy with a long, frizzy beard. He then says to Dora,"¿Tienes algo de dinero? (Do you have some money?)"
Dora then beams and says, "Hola, Grumpy Old Troll! What's your riddle?"
The man then says,"¿Qué demonios estás diciendo niña ? ¿Por qué siempre tiene que hacer esto todos los días !? (What the hell are you saying, girl? Why do you always have to do this every day!?)"
Dora is obviously confused and says," Thank you for letting me over the bridge grumpy old troll!"
The man then says, "Arde en el infierno perra. (Burn in hell, bitch.)"
Then Dora asks where the spooky forest is, thanks you, says vamanos, and then sings. This is when things get worse. The streets get more polluted and you can see more graffiti and gangs. Dora stops and says, "We made it to the spooky forest. Be careful, there can be spooky bats and witches!"
Suddenly, a man came up and said, "Salir de mi manera de mierda o te cortaré la garganta y el TUBO su familia (Get out of my fucking way or I'll cut your throat and TUBE your family!)!" Dora said very scared, "Swiper no swiping!" "Swiper" then shoved Dora and her Boots doll was sent flying. Dora's knees were gushing blood from scraping on the concrete, and Boots had a tear in him. Dora mimicked Boots saying "ouch!" and said she needed Backpack to help Boots. She got her purple backpack and said all the things Backpack would, got a bandage, and said " Yum yum yum yum yum, delicioso!"
After that little strip of conflict, Dora said, "Me siento tan solo , debería acabar con ella ? ¿Qué es la vida? (I feel so alone, should I end it? What is life?)" She started to tear up and silently cry, while walking to the "big city". When she finally got to the big city, she was extremely worn out. Her eyes were red from crying, she had blisters on her knees from Swiper's attack, and her Boots doll was dirtier. She said in a depressed voice,"We made it to the big city. We did it..." Dora tried to sing her trademark "We did it" song, but miserably failed due to depression. She said," What was your favorite part?.........I didn't like any parts." Dora then walks up to the screen and says," I need to confess, your adventures with me... were never true. Boots was my stuffed animal all my life, the troll is a homeless man who begs for money, not riddles. Swiper is a man who wants to kill me, and all the others, were never real. I never had friends, I had to make up my own, so I found you guys. We did everything, until now. I can't explore with you guys anymore. I'm sorry. I couldn't have done it, making friends, without you. Thanks for helping."
The screen stayed black for a while. I was about to eject the DVD until the screen faded white and read,"3 days later" It faded to a forest. It revealed to be that on one tree, you can clearly see a decayed Dora, with intestines dangled in a grotesquely real fashion, blue-colored fingers, gouged out eyes, and other disgustingly real features.The Boots doll was near the tree, he had many rips in his fabric and stuffing was popping out. A note on the tree read,"El Señor me ha salvado de esta mala muerte infierno de un lugar , que fue un suicidio . el suicidio es su escape. (The Lord has saved me from this bad death hell of a place, which was a suicide. Suicide is your escape.)"
The picture got more distorted until the scene changed to a news cast saying," Earlier this week, a seven-year-old girl named Dora Marquez was found on a noose in a forest in coastal Mexico, revealing to have commit suicide. Beside her was her stuffed monkey and suicide note. She was the star of the beloved children's show "Dora the Explorer". We will all miss her dearly in our hearts." The odd thing was that the news reporters, which were a man and a woman sounded just like Tom Tucker and Diane Simmons from Family Guy.
The screen then zoomed out of the beginning computer. The computer turned off by itself and the camera panned and revealed a coffin behind the computer. The camera zoomed out. Where the earlier shadow was is now where the Boots doll is. A bony hand grabbed the sign from earlier and took it off the screen. the doors then closed and the hand with the sign came back. the sign now said,"suicide is your escape."
The words echoed in my mind.
There were no credits. The screen faded to black and that was it. I kept the DVD in my closet and still keep it in there today so my two children don't see it. But anyway, I burnt the video onto my computer and emailed Viacom, saying how inhumane to make an animation like that out of a children's cartoon. I also attached the video to the email. They actually told me that they made it in 2003 because they were having secret plans to make it into an adult party cartoon, like Ren and Stimpy's fate was, but it got canceled due to negative response from test viewers. That made me ban Dora from my children.
So, now you know. I banned Dora the Explorer in my house, all because of Dora's Real Life.