Dora’s Fantastic Gymnastic Adventure: A Lesson in Mediocrity in a Hedonistic Society


(Scene from movie) 

Dora’s Fantastic Gymnastic Adventure brings little to the table, making the 20 minute TV special is aggressively unexciting. The mediocre movie offers no new insight into the world of Dora the Explorer, a world which has been milked dry by constant reboots, recasts, and reruns. Sticking with the old and tired formula of shows past; the episode falls flat on its face.

The show follows Dora and Boots in their seventh season acting alongside each other, despite this both actors lack onscreen chemistry. They seem stale and awkward when interacting and despite their history together, including Dora’s Christmas Special and Dora’s School Science Fair, the duo seem like strangers to one another. Leading to a nearly unwatchable scene where the duo is forced to give exposition (another sign of the decline in writing) and interact alone on screen. 

The entire episode is made worthy of a singular star solely due to the fantastic performance of the mischievous Swiper. Swiper controls the scene with his methodical approach to his art. From his theft of Dora’s ribbon to his hilarious catchphrase “Aww man,” Swiper’s use of method acting by actually becoming an athrpromothic fox ensures this episode is at the very least watchable, but an actor is nothing without a script. 

The episode follows Dora and Boot’s search for the stolen ribbon before the gymnastic show that evening. It has a very tired use of Tarkovsky’s montage theory of “time-pressure,” the episode offers no suspense or stakes. The show keeps the same boring energy from start to finish. The same basic story outline is followed and the same formula unfolds for the seventh straight season, with even less emotion and grit than the previous seasons. 

This special encapsulates the slow death of children’s animation. The constant need to satisfy the insatiable core audience of preschoolers has led to a sharp decline in quality for the show and others like it. The masses no longer desire true art, true emotion, and true gymnastics- all they desire is more, as a result talented actors of our generation such as Swiper are forced to play roles far below their ability. 

The goal of the Dora industry is no longer to create riveting half hour melodramas full of suspense, character, and the power of friendship, it is now to pump out as many mediocre formulaic episodes as possible in order to reach a deadline. To fill the unifiable void of popular demand. To please a world full of hedonism where “Meh,” Dora specials that don’t tantalize the intellect are all that’s needed to fill 18 minutes plus ad time. The Dora art medium is dead, and it will take a miracle to revive it. 

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