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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

TV Potpourri: Dora, Obama and Tyra, oh my!

What have they done to Dora?: In possibly the biggest cartoon controversy since Scrooge McDuck received that huge government bailout, parents are up in arms over a makeover for kiddie TV superstar Dora the Explorer. The Nickelodeon show is so popular that when the network announced plans for a spinoff — imagining Dora as a mystery-solving tween — all they had to do was release Dora's new look in silhouette and people went ballistic. According to this Reuter's article, parents on an online petition voiced their opposition thusly: "What next? Dora the cheerleader? Dora the fashionista with stylist purse and stilettos?"

The uproar led Nickelodean — and marketing partner Mattell — to debut Tween Dora's look months ahead of schedule, and I gotta say, wow ... what a slut. Maybe they should name the new show "Whora the Explorer."

Look, I've never watched "Dora," because I'm not three years old. I'm sure it's a lovely show full of adventure and life lessons and I think a monkey. But is it just me or is this outrage a bit goofy? So they want to make a new Dora show for older kids starring an older Dora. So what? Nickelodeon has been defending the move, saying it won't tarnish the explorer's role model status for young girls, and that a 10-year-old Dora will give girls a chance to grow with the character.

When Nick comes out with "Dora and the City," then there'll be cause for concern.

The audacity of jokes: Speaking of concern, I'm a little worried for President Obama, now that it's been announced he's going to be on Leno Thursday night. For one thing, he'll be the first sitting president to ever appear on a late-night talk show. (There was that one time Bill Clinton called in to MTV's "Loveline" under an alias, but that doesn't count.) But doesn't the most powerful man in the world have more important things to worry about, say like keeping America from reverting to a bartering system? It's not like Obama's touting a new movie — he's going on "The Tonight Show" to better explain his economic plan to Leno's five million viewers, who are probably just tuning in for that idiotic Jaywalking bit Leno seems to do every night.

Pundits are decrying Obama's move as erasing the line between news and entertainment. But that's assuming Leno counts as entertainment. I just think Obama needs to be careful. His approval ratings are starting to sag, and he's taking a big risk here.

America's Next Tough Model: And speaking of risks, who knew auditioning for "America's Next Top Model" could be so dangerous? A casting call in Manhattan on Saturday for the Tyra Banks-hosted reality show turned into what I'm assuming was a catfight, as six people were injured and three arrested. (Is Naomi Campbell guest judging this season or something?)

According to this New York Times article, police don't know what sent the fur flying, but would-be contestants "blamed a lack of organization, frayed nerves and a brief panic that erupted when someone screamed that a smoking, overheated car was on fire and about to explode." C'mon, ladies, in the modeling world you have to learn to roll with the punches. You think Cindy Crawford never had to deal with an exploding car? It's called professionalism.

The Times reported today that Banks says casting will resume, saying that she's going to try to see all the girls who wanted to try out, but gave no dates for when that would happen.

Adam Reinhard,



Whora the Explorer. Snicker, snicker.

By Anonymous Anonymous, At March 17, 2009 at 8:26 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At March 18, 2009 at 7:02 PM  

The Dora controversy just goes to show that tolerating AIG and Gannett bonuses in a tanking economy is one thing, BUT DON'T YOU DARE MESS WITH OUR BELOVED CARTOON CHARACTERS! I think we all remember what happened when Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm grew up and started dating at Bedrock High ... or whatever the heck that spinoff was. Man, that was a disaster the Great Gazoo couldn't even fix.

-- Tom

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At March 18, 2009 at 7:03 PM  

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