When you look into the eyes of an animated character you may sometimes experience the sense of the ultimate blankness of the human. That we can be so easily fooled into respecting the verisimilitude of these dead-eyed renderings is evidence of our total inability to claim an intelligence beyond nature. The suffering of a drawing is silent. The suffering of a drawing is immense. In no other two-dimensional character’s eyes is the suffering felt with more intensity than in those of Dora the Explorer.
Like her predecessor and spiritual kinsman Cortés, Dora is merciless in her exploration, hacking a hopeless path through the malaise of our modern existence. As I watch Dora, each week set in motion by the winds of chaos and school attendance, I am filled with the assurance of the fruitlessness of all attempts at human progress in the onslaught of nature.
The truth of these “mere episodes” of television from Nickelodeon (whose Spongebob is likewise finally about a submerged or utterly drowned existence) is that Dora does not explore an undiscovered world. Instead, she is hopelessly lost in a jungle of mankind’s making, a modern world in which the will to throw off the chaos of nature is felt most keenly, and a will which is still shown to be ultimately useless.
Boots, her monkey companion, is a delight.
But his ultimate use is not as relief from the horrifying onslaught of a child seeking to understand the horrors of her world, but rather as a temporary palate cleanser. Boots, whose red boots recall the bloodied boots of the conquistador, is not a relief from the terrors of existence—instead he merely allows us to taste the salt of suffering anew.
The special features include nothing of interest for the seasoned Dora viewer. Ignore them.