Follow TV Tropes

Following

Western Animation / Dora the Explorer

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_3unnamed.png
¡Vámonos, amigos!
Dora the Explorer is a long-running animated television series produced and aired by Nickelodeon, as part of Nick Jr.. Produced in the style of a mid-1990s CD-ROM game made by Humongous Entertainment, the show follows Dora, a cute 7-year-old explorer girl, and her monkey friend, Boots, as they teach young viewers, in both English and Spanish, how to observe situations and solve problems.
Advertisement:

Lasting for a nearly fifteen-year run (from 2000 to 2015), Dora overtook Blue's Clues's throne as Nick Jr.'s longest-running series, and is one of Nickelodeon's most heavily merchandised characters after SpongeBob SquarePants, before being overtaken by PAW Patrol. In March 2009, Mattel raised a minor furor with its new "Tween Dora" doll, mentioned below.

A feature film set after the show's events was released on August 9, 2019, directed by James Bobin and starring Isabela Merced as a teenage Dora. The final six unaired episodes were released in July-August 2019 to commemorate the release of the movie.

Spinoff series include Go, Diego, Go!, which centers around Dora's titular cousin, and Dora and Friends: Into the City!, a Slice of Life sequel series. A live-action reboot and a CG-animated series are currently in development for Paramount+.

Advertisement:

This series provides examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The entire program is possibly computer-animated, at least in its later seasons, but the Backpack and Map segments stand out with both as conspicuously CG elements. True also for the updated opening sequence used beginning around 2013.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version uses "Sound Space Scope" as its ending theme song. It also uses a remixed version of the opening.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Despite it being framed as a mythical creature, the coquí is a real species of frog with major cultural significance to Puerto Rico, and its singing is based on a legend surrounding its mating call. Granted, real coquís don't carry guitars, and they're significantly smaller than shown on the show, but the point stands.
  • Animal Lover:
    • Most of Dora's friends are talking animals and she's pretty good with regular animals.
    • Advertisement:
    • Diego loves animals and devotes his time to helping (sometimes as in "rescuing", sometimes more as in "assisting") them.
  • Arc Words: "Yes, we can!" from "To the Monkey Bars".
  • The Artifact:
    • The idea of the events of the series being a CD-ROM game. The computer and the other CD-ROM-like elements were dropped from the opening of the program around the time that the Explorer Stars first showed up. As such, the only remnant of this idea is the click/beep mouse arrow that is used to indicate the Fake Interactivity aspect of the program.
    • As of 2013, the click/beep mouse arrow seems to have been abandoned as well. The things that the show wants kids to pay attention to simply light up, with an accompanying musical chime, but the mouse arrow is gone. The only time the arrow shows up is during the "Backpack" segments and when it clicks on Dora near the end, though the arrow has showed up a few times in "Dora's Moonlight Adventure".
  • Art Evolution: As already mentioned, the program was designed originally to mimic the feel of mid-90s CD-ROM game and it looked like it. As the program has moved away from this, the overall look of the program has improved with more vibrant colors, better animation quality overall and eventually episodes presented in widescreen HD with CGI elements. Although, the character animation was starting to get stiffer, making them stuck in 3/4 view, similar to Family Guy.
  • Bad Future: Seen in Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure. Due to getting put on the naughty list and seemingly never getting off it again, Swiper becomes so embittered over not getting presents and watching everyone else enjoy theirs that completely stops caring about others at all and becomes a true thief, stealing so much stuff that the future Dora outright tells the present Swiper, in a rather bitter fashion, there's nothing left for him to steal and he's ruined Christmas. Thankfully, this future is changed at the end of the episode.
  • Bag of Holding: Dora's appropriately named sentient Backpack carries anything Dora might need for the current adventure, and she means anything. At one point, she was even shown to have bear milk inside her.
  • Balloonacy: In at least one episode they ride in a hot air balloon not powered by fire. So how does it fly? Why, they pump it up with a bicycle pump before taking off of course!
  • Bedsheet Ghost: In the picture book Dora's Halloween Adventure, Dora and Boots encounter one of these in a "haunted house," but it turns out to actually be Swiper in costume.
  • Beam-O-War: Done in the climax of "Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom" when Dora faces off against the Greedy King.
  • Bears Are Bad News:
    • In the climax of "Berry Hunt", Dora and Boots encounter a bear on Blueberry Hill who chases after their blueberries, sending them all the way back the way they came.
    • In "The Chocolate Tree", Dora and Boots reach the bear's cave where they encounter a bear whom they sing to sleep with Abuela's chocolate song.
    • In "Baseball Boots", a bear chases after Dora and Boots at the last gate to Pitcher's Pond.
  • Bicolor Cows, Solid Color Bulls: Benny the Bull is blue. Cows don't typically appear on the show, but the cow in "Dora Had a Little Lamb" is black-and-white.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Backpack, who can carry ladders. Lampshaded in "Baby Dino":
    Diego: Are you sure it will fit? That's a big flower.
    Dora: ¡Si! Mi mochila can carry anything. Right, Backpack?
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Dora the Explorer translated to Spanish is Dora la Exploradora, which rhymes!
    • And the theme song, which has a few words in Spanish, uses it.
  • Big Bad: While Swiper is a typical Harmless Villain, most of the double-length episodes have truer villains who are typically far more difficult to deal with.
    • The first would be the wicked witch from "Dora's Fairytale Adventure" and "Dora Saves Fairytale Land".
    • The Dancing Elf from "Dora's Dance to the Rescue".
    • The Garbage-Dumping Octopus from "Dora Saves the Mermaids".
    • The snow witch from "Dora Saves the Snow Princess".
    • The Greedy King from "Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom".
    • La Bruja from "Dora's Big Birthday Adventure".
    • Owl from "Dora Saves King Unicornio".
    • Malambruno from "Dora's Royal Rescue".
    • The Queen of Hearts from "Dora in Wonderland".
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Dora and her friends arriving at the Queen Bee's throne just in time to give the Fiesta Trio their instruments so they can perform.
    • In "Boots to the Rescue", Boots rushes into the school just in time to give Dora her song for music class.
  • Big Eater: Dora's backpack, hence her Catchphrase, "Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum! Delicioso!".
  • Birthday Episode: Happened at least once.
    • "Surprise" was the first, focusing on Boots' birthday.
    • "Daisy, La Quinceañera" focuses on Dora's cousin Daisy's 15th birthday.
    • "Super Spies 2: The Swiping Machine" features Tico's birthday.
    • "Happy Birthday Super Babies", the final episode of the Super Babies trilogy, which features the first birthday of Dora's baby brother and sister.
    • "Dora's Big Birthday Adventure" is set on — you guessed it — Dora's birthday.
    • "Verde's Birthday Party" features the birthday of Verde the recycling truck.
    • "Dora & Diego in the Time of Dinosaurs" is set on Baby Jaguar's birthday.
    • A Season 2 episode, "Whose Birthday is It?", features Dora and Boots following the Birthday Balloon to Play Park to find out the mystery birthday of one of the main characters. The birthday is revealed to be Swiper's.
  • Black Dot Pupils: Any non-human character and anyone who has Sphere Eyes has this style.
  • Bowdlerize:
    • One episode had them doing the Mambo, which in real life requires two people and is a tango-esque dance. Here, they reduced it to a kid-friendly version, which consists of mostly cha-cha esque moves.
    • In "Big Sister Dora", all mentions of Mami giving birth to the babies are only referred to vaguely as "having a baby".
    • The "Dance Fiesta" and "World Adventure" CDs, all which feature covers of various songs from different artists, had some of the lyrics changed so it can be appropriate for children.
  • Broken Record: "I'm the map! I'm the map! I'm the map! I'm the map! I'm the map! I'm the map! I'm the map! I'm the map! I'm the map!" In the newest episodes, this is dropped almost entirely.
  • But Thou Must!: The viewer cannot say no to Dora once, as the episode always proceeds as normal. After every "Will you help me?" response, Dora always replies as if the viewer said yes.
  • Catchphrase: In general, the most frequent word said is..."Yay!" As a matter of fact, every time it's said, they use the same stock-sound from when the voice actors first recorded.
    • Dora:
      • "Hi, I'm/Hola, soy Dora!"
      • "I need your help."
      • "Let's stop and think."
      • "Who do we ask for help when we don't know which way to go?"
      • "Will you help me/us (insert request here)?"
      • "Do you see (place)?"
      • "Donde esta (Where is it)? Where is (location)?"
      • "Will you check the Map/Backpack (insert rest of request here)?"
      • "You have to say 'Map/Backpack/Swiper, no swiping'."
      • "Where do we go first/next?"
      • "Great!"
      • "Louder!"
      • "Vámonos (Let's go)!"
      • "Say it/sing/count with me/us."
      • "The (object)/(character) speaks Spanish."
      • "Can you say '(insert spanish word here)'?"
      • "Say '(insert spanish word here)'."
      • "(I think you have to) Say it again."
      • "(Say it) One more time!"
      • "You have to stand up to (insert action here)".
      • "Stand up, please."
      • "We had such a great/fun trip today."
      • "What was your favorite part (of the trip)?"
      • "I liked that, too."
      • "My favorite part was (insert moment here)."
      • "We couldn't have done it without you."
      • "Thanks for helping."
      • "Catch them, catch them, catch them!"
      • "Let's put them in the star pocket."
      • "Good star catching."
      • "Let's see how many stars we caught."
    • Boots:
      • "And I'm Boots!"
      • "Ooh-ooh-ah-ah!"
      • "Say 'Map', say 'Map'!"
      • "Say 'Backpack', say 'Backpack'!"
      • "Yeah, there it is!"
      • "Up, up, up! Stand up!"
      • "Where do we go next (Dora)?"
      • "My favorite part was (insert moment here)."
    • Swiper:
      • (if stopped) "Oh, maaaaan!"
      • (if failed to stop) "You're toooo late! You'll never find it/your (item) now! Ha ha ha ha!"
      • "Yip yip yippie!"
  • Captain Obvious: "The ocean is a rough sea, mates. And it's full of water!"
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • Dora seemed a bit less competitent in Season 1 than she does in the rest of the series, as she acts like the viewer has to answer her question at least twice before the blue cursor clicks on the answer ("Do you see (location)? Where?").
    • The Grumpy Old Troll in Season 1 would feel frustrated at Dora and Boots solving his riddles and vowing to stump them next time as they cross the bridge. Beginning in Season 2, he is impressed at them solving and is more calm and collected towards them.
  • Cheated Angle: Dora is constantly always shown at 3/4 angle; rarely is she ever seen from the front. This became more common in later seasons.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Swiper's new swiping technique in Swiper's Favorite Things is used to find his favorite things for his visit to his grandma and to stop a storm cloud from raining on them.
    • The Snow Princess's crystal which she passes to Dora turns out to be the Wishing Wizzle's wishing crystal in "Dora's Big Birthday Adventure".
  • Christmas Episode: Has two, "A Present for Santa" and "Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure".
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Diego had an older sister, Daisy, who completely disappeared after her quinceñera (15th birthday party) and was basically replaced with another older sister, Alicia, upon the launch of Go, Diego, Go!. Daisy does appear in a few other Dora and Diego episodes, including "The Bobo's Mother's Day!" where she looks older than Alicia and is said to be visiting from college.
  • Colorful Song: The episode "The Shy Rainbow" gives us "De Colores".
  • Competition Freak: The Ice Witch, who's convinced she's the best at skating—and steals everyone's ice skates when they can't match her.
  • Cool Old Lady: Both Dora and Swiper's grandmothers.
  • Cousin Oliver: The introduction of Dora's twin younger siblings.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Backpack always has everything Dora needs. Even bear milk.
  • Curse Escape Clause:
    • In "Te Amo", the only way to break El Mago's spell on King Popo and Queen Maria is if two true friends, two true heroes, climb to the top of the mountains and yell out to each other, "Te amo".
    • In "Dora's Fairytale Adventure", Sleeping Boots will only wake up if he gets a hug from a true princess.
  • Dance-Off: The climatic event of "Dora's Dance to the Rescue", held at King Juan el Bobo's castle. Dora and Boots enter the contest to win the grand prize — one big wish — to free Swiper from the magic bottle.
  • Delayed Reaction: In "The Big Storm":
    Boots: Hey Dora, what kind of cloud is that?
    Dora: That's a storm cloud, Boots. A big storm cloud.
    [Beat]
    Both: A big storm cloud?!
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • In later episodes, Boots seemed to be headed this way. He used to accompany Dora on all of her adventures, but in at least a couple of latter episodes, he's just someone that she's encountered along the way, like most of the other characters.
    • Dora's baby brother and sister are reduced to the background as of Season 6, no longer having a major role.
    • Also Backpack became less and less used in the newer seasons.
  • Disappeared Dad: More like a Disappeared Granddad. There is no mention or appearance of Dora’s Abuelo.
  • Disembodied Eyebrows: Both Swiper and the Map, but only when they raise them. A number of other characters as well, including one of the members of the Fiesta Trio and a talking kite that Dora gives her father as a present in "Feliz Dia de Los Padres." Additionally, any random animal seen within the series may have these.
  • Distressed Dude:
    • Map in "Lost Map" when a goofy bird mistakes him for a stick and flies him all the way to his nest on Tallest Mountain.
    • Baby Jaguar in "Meet Diego!" when he is stuck at the waterfall. Also Baby Bear in "Baby Jaguar's Roar" when he is stuck atop Big Mountain.
    • Diego in "Save Diego" when he gets trapped at Rocky Mountain when saving a baby macaw.
    • Swiper in Dance to the Rescue when a Dancing Elf tricks him into taking his place in a magic bottle.
    • Map again, along with Backpack, in "Benny's Treasure" when they are accidentally taken to the dump.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Dora's puppy is named "Perrito," which is Spanish for "puppy."
  • Don't Wake the Sleeper:
    • In "Hic-Boom-Ohh", Dora and Boots encounter a sleeping Swiper in the Quiet Forest and have to tiptoe past him without waking him up.
    • In "Te Amo" just before Dora and Boots reach the mountains, La Lechuza the owl warns them to be quiet because El Mago is taking a nap; so the two sing her quiet song as they sneak past.
    • Done again in "The Big Potato" when Dora, Boots and Benny had to sneak past a sleeping dragon.
  • Do They Know It's Christmas Time?: Boots wonders out loud whether Swiper would swipe on Christmas, and Dora doesn't put it past him.
  • Dream Episode: "Dora's Moonlight Adventure" has Dora fall asleep and dream one of Abuela's cats goes missing in a dream storybook world.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • The tween version of Dora from Dora's Explorer Girls appeared in "Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure'' four months before it was officially announced.
    • The episode "School Science Fair" introduces a young version of Emma, one of the girls who become part of Dora's Explorer Girls.
    • A young version of Kate also appeared in "Let's Go to Music School".
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The first two episodes had a more cruder art style than the rest of the season, and following a "stand up" activity, Dora says "you can sit down now," which is never acknowledged in the series. Also, all of the items go back into Backpack at the end of her segment, while in the rest of the series beginning with "Beaches", the correct item remains. The instrumental of the theme song is also heard in the final scene, wheras it is replaced with an instrumental cue in the rest of the show.
    • In the first episode, the item chosen from Backpack flies out of her for Dora to catch; in later episodes, the chosen item now just falls out of the sky.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Dora and Swiper have to work their asses off to help him get off the naughty list in Christmas Carol Adventure.
  • Easter Bunny: In "Dora's Easter Adventure," the characters meet the "Hip-Hop Bunny," who actually wants to be a rapper, but is filling in for his brother, the Easter Bunny.
  • Easter Special: Has two, "Egg Hunt" and "Dora's Easter Adventure".
  • Eat the Camera: When Map is finished explaining the route for the day and saying the destination the last time, he jumps at the camera so his open mouth fills the screen. This later dissolves to Dora. Following the Art Shift for the final seasons, it was later dropped, and used a wipe scene transition instead.
  • Emotional Powers: In "Dora Saves the Snow Princess", the magic crystal's powers can activate based on what mood the welder is in when looking into it. Smiling makes it snow, while making a mean face causes the snow to melt.
  • Endless Winter:
    • Winter Valley from "Dora's Fairytale Adventure", which was originally Spring Valley until the Witch cast a spell on it. One of Dora's tests is to undo the spell.
    • An episode had Dora and her friends trying to find Mother Nature and end winter.
    • The Snowy Forest is a good example of this, as it was originally a perpetual winter until the witch cast a spell to make the snow melt. To make it snow and break the spell, one who is brave, kind, and helps others must smile into the magic crystal.
  • Episode Tagline: In one episode, Boots keeps mentioning that he'll be getting his "first hit ever" at baseball.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Swiper's conscience often gets the better of him. He won't swipe gifts for people he cares about. If he swipes something and then learns it's for somebody, like Santa or a Puppy, he'll immediately give it back, no strings attached.
    • He also has a moment of this when he sees what he's like in a Bad Future, where he stopped caring about others at all. Even he's disgusted by his future self.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The music teacher from "La Maestra de Musica" is always called "La Maestra".
  • Everybody Do the Endless Loop: Subverted with the We Did It song for the first season, as the same moves can be used across multiple episodes but otherwise have different moves as well. A straighter example would be the "Good Luck" song from "Dora's Big Birthday Adventure", where the gang's dances seem a bit repetitive.
  • Everyone Meets Everyone: Dora, Boots, Tico, Isa, Benny, and Swiper all met in one episode. Which is strange, as in Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure, it's shown that they had known each other since they were babies.
  • Every Episode Ending: The last scene of every episode is Dora, Boots and sometimes someone else who was involved telling what their favorite parts of the adventure were.
  • Evolving Credits: The theme song changes after Season 2 in favor of a new one where Dora and Boots go swinging around the forest, meeting their animal friends, and showing clips from a few episodes. It changes again in the fifth season, removing all "star catching" elements (since that was dropped from this season onward) and having the Nickelodeon logo appear over the show's logo at the end. Season 7 introduces a new theme song that uses CGI.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
    • Guess what the Big Red Chicken is.
    • Guess what Boots wears.
    • Guess what Dora does.
    • Guess what Benny The Bull eats.
    • Guess what Isa The Iguana plants.
    • Guess what Tico The Squirrel drives.
    • Swiper, well...
    • There are a number of episodes titled "Dora Saves..." Guess what happens in the end.
  • Fantasy Helmet Enforcement: Dora is a spokesperson for a St. Jude's program promoting bike safety. Additionally, she is always shown buckling up in the car.
  • Fairy Tale Free-for-All: The episode "Dora Had A Little Lamb" has Dora and Boots encountering numerous characters of beloved Nursery Rhymes (such as Peter Picker, three men in a tub from "Rub-a-dub-dub", and Humpty Dumpty) as they help Little Lamb find Mary. Little Lamb would introduce Dora and Boots to some of the Nursery Rhyme characters and would recite them.
  • First Day of School Episode: The episode "First Day of School", where Dora takes Boots and Tico on an adventure to their first day of school.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: When Swiper appears and is intent on swiping whatever possession Dora and Boots have, there is a way to tell if he's going to be stopped. If Swiper appears and Dora asks the viewer for help, he will be stopped. If she does not ask the viewer when he appears, he will swipe the object.
  • Forced Sleep: Boots falls into one in "Dora's Fairytale Adventure" after eating an enchanted banana conjured up by the Wicked Witch, thus turning him into Sleeping Boots.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Implied. Dora meets her animal friends at their current ages as shown in "Dora's First Trip", but in "Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure" when traveling to the time the animals were kids, Dora was amongst them.
  • Forgotten Framing Device:
    • The episode "Backpack" has Dora recall the day she first got backpack, with the rest of the episode continuing into the flashback and never leaving it.
    • Done again with the special "Dora's Dance to the Rescue". The events of the episode are a flashback to a past event told by Dora, with the episode continuing into the flashback through the end and never returning to the present. The books and CD-ROM game avert this, however.
  • Framing Device: Some of the episodes ("What Happens Next?", "Dora's Dance to the Rescue", "Dora's First Trip", the "Super Babies" trilogy, "Catch The Babies", "Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure"); are framed by Dora telling the events of it (Santa tells the last of these). The interaction even takes place in the story.
  • Free-Range Children: Most of the time, Dora, Boots, and all the other child characters are shown being in the rainforest with no parental supervision. Believe it or not, they do have parents, but they usually only appear when the plot calls for it.
  • Gentle Giant: The Giant-Giant from “What Happens Next”, “Dora’s Fairytale Adventure”, "Dora Saves the Three Little Pigs", and “The Super Babies Dream Adventure”. He started out mean in the former, but Dora and Boots used their minds to change his attitude to happy and positive. He remained completely friendly in the latter three episodes.
  • Girliness Upgrade:
    • Tween Dora has longer hair and wears less unisex clothes.
    • Dora almost never wore dresses or skirts in early seasons but it's become more common.
    • The franchise itself has gotten more feminine compared to the early days. This is most noticeable in merchandise.
  • Girls Love Chocolate: It is mentioned throughout the series Dora loves chocolate; she orders a chocolate ice cream cone, and Boots brings her a bowl of chocolate on Best Friends Day.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Dora and Boots have a sleepover with Swiper at the end of Swiper's Favorite Things.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Generally Spanish is the main theme of the show, and the goal is to teach it to the viewer.
    • Inverted in both Spanish dubs (Latin and European), and most other dubs, where Dora teaches English.
    "Dora, Boots, come quick!" les dijo Conejo a sus amigos. — Dora Salva el Bosque Encantado (Dora Saves the Enchanted Forest)
  • Guest-Star Party Member: From time to time characters will join Dora on her quest, from random characters to even Swiper. In Catch The Babies though, Dora's entire family joins in.
  • Halloween Episode: Has two, "Boo!" and "Halloween Parade".
  • Hammerspace: Backpack seems to be bottomless, and can hold even really big things.
  • Happy Birthday to You!: Due to the song being copyrighted by the time the series premiered, either the song was not sung at all during a Birthday Episode, or in the case of Boots' birthday in "Surprise", a Spanish birthday song was sung. Averted in "Whose Birthday is It?" when the traditional song was sung word-per-word.
  • Harmless Villain:
    • Swiper the Fox does want to steal from them, but can be stopped if you chant "Swiper, no swiping!" three times fast enough. On occasion, he actually does manage to grab stuff before you can. (Or, he's been known to say that "you're too late.") What does he do with it? He doesn't keep it. No, he chucks it into the bushes, chuckles about how you'll never find it, and runs off. Dora manages to spot it within three guesses from the various MacGuffin lookalikes in the bushes, and they're back in business. And thanks to Take Your Time, they don't even lose ground in their quest.
    • He once did take a stolen item to his home, the Blueberry Bush. Dora did manage to retrieve it.
    • In Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure, they try "Swiper, no swiping!" on the elderly Swiper when they travel to the future. He states that that doesn't work on him anymore and steals the object anyway. He also keeps everything he swipes in his new castle home. This is explained that, because he ended up on the Naughty List and apparently never got off, he just stopped caring about others.
    • And in one of the specials, he actually ends up going on a globetrotting trip with Dora to return friendship bracelets he stole, fending off various other animals with his own sticky fingered traits.
  • Hiccup Hijinks: The episode "Hic-Boom-Ohhh" has Dora and Boots investigate a mysterious sound at Yellow Valley; the sound is revealed to come from Benny, who has really loud hiccups.
  • "I Am Great!" Song: The Ice Witch sings this kind of song.
  • I Know Your True Name: Saying "Swiper, no swiping" enough times prevents Swiper from stealing objects. In a few episodes there's also an asshole rain cloud who is forcefully repelled by singing the "Rain, Rain, Go Away" song.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Swiper is obviously the show's main antagonist. While he steals from people, it rarely does any harm to them, and even though he's stolen from everyone for years, they still see him as a friend. This often comes in handy for Swiper's sake, as there are a few cases where he ends up in trouble and needs help himself. As of now, Swiper's probably teetering on the line of Anti-Villain, or he's turning into a Heel–Face Revolving Door.
  • Instant Costume Change: In Dora's World Adventure, Dora seems to magically change into the clothing that suits each country that she visits in an instant. We don't see it happening - she just passes behind things and emerges in the new outfit, even though she couldn't possibly have had time to change into it. Averted, however, in the computer game version, in which dressing Dora for the countries is part of the tasks.
  • It Only Works Once: In "Dora's Fairytale Adventure", the artifacts Dora is given to pass the remaining three tests (magic music box, bag of sunshine, magic hairbrush) can only be used once, so she can't use them until she needs them.
  • It Was with You All Along: In A Crown for King Juan El Bobo, the titular king forgets how to do things right on his way to the swing to get his crown (such as opening the door, scaring the cocodrilos, doing when someone tells you "corran", what shape you step on to open the gate, and making the turkeys laugh). At the end of the episode, he realizes that he remember everything and he can get back home.
  • I Will Show You X!: In "Star Catcher" when Dora tries to get the Cloud Prince to give her star pocket back because he's not a real star catcher like her, he says to her, "I'll show you that I'm a real star catcher!"
  • Keep It Foreign: The Spanish dub reverses the languages.
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • The film's Big Bads are normally, if not genuinely evil, at least far more threatening than the villains in a typical episode. Several are truly evil.
    • Future!Swiper in the Bad Future in the Christmas Special. Unlike the present Swiper, he really steals from people and the Swiper, no swiping trick doesn't work on him anymore. The moment he shows up the tone suddenly becomes a good bit more serious as well.
  • Language Barrier:
    • Certain characters, such as Tico, Señor Tucán and Baby Blue Bird, can only speak Spanish, leaving Dora to ask the viewer to say a specific word or phrase in their language so they understand them.
    • Lampshaded in "Swiper the Explorer" where the baby fox can only speak Spanish and Swiper can't understand him. So when the baby fox starts saying "Tengo sed! note " nonstop, Swiper has to ask Dora, the only one who understands him, for help deciphering. Dora quickly translates for him.
  • Later Installment Weirdness:
    • Season 3 introduces the "Star Catching" format, which is later abandoned after Season 4. Season 4 also abandons the "Three Picture Pop Up" sequence and carried the destination recap over to Map.
    • From Season 5, in some episodes, Backpack is never asked.
    • Season 7 saw a lot of changes for the show, most notably a new theme song, updated animation (with some CGI elements added in, most noticeable with Map and Backpack), and emulating a mobile game on a touchscreen device, like a tablet, rather than a '90s PC game like the first six seasons.
    • The click/beep mouse arrow is nearly gone completely since the Art Evolution; the highlighted objects now simply glow with a musical chime. The only times the arrow does appear is during the Backpack segments and when it clicks on Dora before the final scene.
  • Latin Land: The rainforest where the Marquez family lives isn't meant to be set in any particular region, or any specific country in Latin America for that matter. Likewise, Dora (and family) is labelled as "pan-Latina", meaning she can be from anywhere in Latin America.
  • Limited Wardrobe: In early seasons Dora wore the same clothes near constantly. In newer seasons her wardrobe has more variety though.
  • MacGuffin: Multiple episodes feature an artifact that becomes crucial to the plot.
    • Boots' fire truck in "Rapido, Tico!".
    • Daisy's crown and shoes in "Daisy, La Quinceanera".
    • Perrito's present in "Dora's Got a Puppy".
    • The one big wish in "Dora's Dance to the Rescue".
    • The magic crystal (aka the wishing crystal) from the Magic Storybook Trilogy.
  • Misplaced Vegetation: As the example noted below, Dora and Boots sometimes picks wild blueberries. But this show is implied to take place in Mexico, where blueberries never grow.
  • MST3K Mantra: Invoked in Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure when the current Dora travels into the future and meets her tween counterpart.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Swiper, unless it's an episode where he's set as an actual protagonist, always gets this treatment. If Dora has to help him along with her other friends, he'll always come last. A good example is in the episode The Lost City, where Dora needs to find everyone's lost possessions. Swiper's the last person to be helped. Unless you count Boots finding his lost blankie, but he didn't actually need help.
  • Never Learned to Read: The villain in "Dora's Royal Rescue" never learned to read and thus is trying to stop everyone else from reading. In the end, Don Quixote agrees to teach him. See "Reading Is Cool" Aesop below.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Every single trailer and description for "Dora's Dance to the Rescue" doesn't mention the Framing Device at the beginning.
  • New Baby Episode: "Big Sister Dora" in the fourth season, which introduces Dora's twin siblings.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: In "Baby Dino", Dora and the gang had to sneak past a mommy T-rex so she can sing her baby to sleep; whenever she looks, they have to freeze and stand still like statues so she doesn't see them.
  • No Fourth Wall:
    • Done regularly whenever she addresses the viewer, though it's justified as the show originally was supposed to be set in a computer game. This then leads into a ten second pause during which she stares directly at you waiting for a "response from the viewer."
  • No Indoor Voice: Dora's voice is probably better known than she is. Then again, she does spend a lot of time outdoors.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Boots the monkey.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: For any of Swiper's gadgets in "Dora's Got a Puppy".
  • No-Sell:
    • In the Bad Future in "Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure", Swiper has swiped on Christmas so many times that "Swiper, No Swiping!" doesn't work anymore.
    • In "Dora's Big Birthday Adventure", Dora and Boots cannot jump out of the Magic Storybook when in Wizzle World; the only way out from there is to see the Wishing Wizzle who can wish them home.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now!: After demonstrating his Super-Fast Swiping Machine in "Super Spies 2: The Swiping Machine", Swiper proclaims, "Nothing can stop me from swiping!" Cut to Dora and Boots, who WILL stop him.
  • Oddball in the Series:
    • Season 3 is the only season to feature the "star catching" gimmick, though it gets carried into a few episodes of Season 4 as well.
    • Season 4 is the only season with no picture pop-up sequence every time Dora passes a location. Instead, she checks Map who checks off the places visited.
  • Off-Model:
    • In the first season, most prominent in the first two episodes, the characters look way off from how they do in promotional art, especially seen in Dora's face and Boots' animation. Also Dora's face designs change constantly in a few episodes of Season 2, resembling how she looked in Season 1, as well as a few in Season 4.
    • In the star catching episodes, the star pocket constantly disappears and reappears whether Dora mentions it, and constantly changes direction based on what side she is facing when the stars go in or come out (it's especially noticeable in the Season 3-4 intro). This was corrected in Season 4 where the pocket is always visible whenever she is facing left (the pocket was also attached to Backpack during her segments), but it was done at a poor timing since the star catching has been reduced that season.
  • One-Word Vocabulary: The baby dragon in "The Secret of Atlantis" only knows the word "Mama".
  • Origins Episode: The episode "Backpack" has Dora flashbacking to the day she first got Backpack. A later episode "Dora's First Trip" tells the story of her very first adventure and how she first met Boots, Benny, Isa, Tico, Swiper and the Fiesta Trio.
  • Outdoorsy Gal: Dora the Explorer embarks on a trip in every episode, where she uses her map to travel anywhere from through the jungle to over a mountain.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • On rare occasions when Swiper swipes something, just before he could chuck it away Dora and Boots remind him of said object's importance and who it's for, prompting Swiper to hand the item back while uttering a solemn "Oh, man!".
    • In "The Lost City" when Dora is moping over her missing teddy bear, Swiper honestly tells her he didn't swipe it.
  • Pirate: Pirate Pig and the Pirate Piggies. Also Pirate Parrot.
  • Phrase Catcher:
    • Map's segments are initiated by Dora asking, "Who do we ask for help when we don't know which way to go?"
    • Once Swiper is heard, Boots often says, "That sneaky fox is always trying to swipe our stuff!"
  • Plot-Induced Stupidity: Why doesn't Dora simply go around the obstacles her Map shows her, instead of wasting time moving through them? Simple answer: Because then, the writers wouldn't have a show.
    • Justified with bridges and rivers, since you can't exactly go around them. Also justified with large obstacles. In reality, it would take twice as long to go around something like a lake, rather than just go across it.
  • Pokémon Speak:
    • The ants and spiders say what they are, as do the crabs in "Beaches" and "Best Friends Day", and the snowmen, snowballs, and storm clouds in the fairy tale episode. Almost everything in the show that doesn't speak says their names.
    • Zig-zagged with Woo-Hoo. Sometimes, he just says "Woo-hoo!" but other times, he talks.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot:
    • "Meet Diego!" was meant to launch the Go, Diego, Go! series.
    • Three episodes were this for Dora and Friends: Into the City!:
      • The first was a brief scene in "Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure", which featured a scene with tween Dora meeting a younger Dora.
      • The second, "School Science Fair", has Dora introduce us to her friend Emma, who would become one of the Explorer Girls.
      • "Let's Go To Music School" has a heavy focus on the characters of Emma and Kate from Dora and Friends. Oddly enough, this episode premiered in most parts of the world after the series it was a pilot for had already premiered.
  • The Power of Friendship:
    • Pops up every now and then, but becomes a part of the main plot in Dora's World Adventure.
    • Becomes a Deus ex Machina in "Dora's Big Birthday Adventure". When the wishing crystal is cracked by La Bruja, the Wishing Wizzle reveals Dora had the ability to go home all along if she remembers her friends. By thinking of her friends and wishing to go home, this recharges the crystal, allowing all her friends to wish her home.
  • The Power of Love: The focus of the episode "Te Amo". The Evil Sorcerer El Mago casts a spell on King Popo and Queen Maria which turns them into mountains so he can keep them apart; to break the spell, two true friends, two true heroes, have to climb up the mountains and say "Te amo" to each other. Dora and Boots managed to break the spell.
  • Precious Puppies: Dora's puppy, Perrito. Even Swiper has a weakness for puppies and won't keep a gift once he learns that it's for Perrito. Swiper also has a book about puppies that his Grandmother reads to him whenever he sleeps at her house.
  • Race Against the Clock: Used on occasion.
    • In "We're a Team", Dora and friends literally have until the timer runs out to finish the Super Adventure Race.
    • In "Dora's Fairytale Adventure", Dora has only until the last rainbow leaf falls off the stone wall should she become a true princess to wake up Sleeping Boots.
    • In "Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom", Dora and Boots have to find all four crystals to restore Crystal Kingdom before it loses all its color; the countdown timer isn't a clock, it's Dora's magic crystal necklace.
    • In "Pirate Treasure Hunt", Dora, Boots, Little Pig and Pirate Pig have to retrieve the Monkey's Treasure before the sun goes down, otherwise it sinks under the water and disappears forever.
    • In "Dora and Perrito to the Rescue", Dora has to save Boots from Big River before he goes over the waterfall.
  • Raised by Grandparents:
    • Benny the Bull is raised by his grandma and grandpa bull. His grandma is seen more often.
    • Roberto the Robot is raised by his inventor grandfather.
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: Used in "Dora's Royal Rescue," which is essentially a Whole Plot Reference of Don Quixote, save the more adult bits about Quixote being crazy. At one point, after Swiper is stopped, he sees some books, including one about puppies that he'd like to read, and Dora's steed tells him "No one can be all bad if he likes to read." Oh, and by the way, the love of reading is ultimately what defeats the villain, making his magic wand go away as the characters declare "I love to read!" and encouraging the viewers to do so also. It turns out that the reason he wants to stop everyone from reading is because he himself can't read. He never learned. In the end, Don Quixote agrees to teach him to read, at Dora's suggestion.
  • Repeat After Me: A standard Fake Interactivity prompt from Dora, but done more literally with the Echo Bush from "El Coquí", as the bush says everything Dora and Boots say.
  • Replaced the Theme Tune: Season 3 saw the show get a new opening sequence, although the theme song was still more-or-less the same. It was slightly updated in Season 5 before it was replaced again in Season 7, this time with a new theme song.
  • Retcon: The episode "Dora's First Trip", which is an Origins Episode of Dora's very first adventure, shows her and her friends at present age when they first meet; however in "Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure" when we see the animals as little kids, Dora is amongst them.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Santa, all the time, and Elf and Cane in Dance To The Rescue. Also the Hip-Hop Bunny in Dora's Easter Adventure.
  • Rule of Three:
    • In each episode, there are three places that Dora and Boots have to go to, with the exceptions of some double-length episodes which have four.
    • To stop Swiper from Swiping, Dora and Boots or another character has to say "Swiper, no swiping!" three times.
  • Russian Bear: As shown in "Dora's World Adventure", Russia has its own version of Swiper, a bear named Fomkah.
  • Save the Villain: The plot of "Dora's Dance to the Rescue" has Swiper get locked in a magic bottle and Dora and Boots have to go to King Juan el Bobo's dance contest to win one big wish and free him.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Map knows where everything is even before it gets there.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Dancing Elf in the magic bottle, before tricking Swiper and placing him in there in his place.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: A hyena is Swiper's Tanzanian counterpart in the World Adventure special.
  • Sequel Episode:
    • In one episode, Boots retrieves his favorite toy for a sleepover with Dora. The next episode has Dora and Boots helping a little rooster to wake up the sun the next morning.
    • "Super Spies" had "Super Spies 2: The Swiping Machine".
  • Shaped Like Itself: Phrases like "Stormy Storm" are not uncommon here.
  • She's a Man in Japan: In the Japanese dub, Backpack is a boy.
  • She's All Grown Up: Well, not quite, but the toy maker is producing a 'Tween Dora' to appeal to older kids. Parents were expecting Bratz Dora. And they got it. And on August 7, 2011, the first episode of Tween Dora aired.
  • Signing Off Catchphrase: Dora ends every episode by saying, "We couldn't have done it without you. Thanks for helping, gracias!note "
  • Single-Season Country: In "Dora's World Adventure", Russia is snowy while it's warm everywhere else.
  • Similar Squad: As Dora and Swiper travel to France, Tanzania, Russia and China in Dora's World Adventure, they discover equivalents of themselves in each country. They also meet a cranky troll in Russia.
  • Smelly Skunk:
    • In "Dora's Got A Puppy", Dora and Boots come across one and wisely leave it alone. However, Swiper's attempt to steal from them results in him grabbing it. He doesn't get skunked, but it still sends him running.
    • Fifi the Skunk from "Dora's World Adventure" averts this. She doesn't stink, they just don't want her to swipe from them.
  • Special Guest: Some specials have them.
    • Howie Dorough of Backstreet Boys as Santa Claus in "A Present for Santa", and as the Singing Bridge in "Dora's Pirate Adventure".
    • Chita Rivera as the Witch in "Dora's Fairytale Adventure".
    • Susie Essmen as the Queen Bee in "Dora's First Trip".
    • Vanessa Aspillaga as the Witch in "Dora Saves the Snow Princess".
    • Richard Kind as the Greedy King in "Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom".
    • Rosie Perez as La Bruja and Hector Elizondo as the Wishing Wizzle in "Dora's Big Birthday Adventure".
    • Jason Alexander as Owl in the "Enchanted Forest" trilogy.
    • Sarah Ramirez as the Queen of Hearts in "Dora in Wonderland".
    • Thaila as the Mother Mermaid in "Dora's Rescue in Mermaid Kingdom".
  • Spin-Off: Go, Diego, Go! and Dora and Friends: Into the City!.
  • Spinoff Sendoff: The final episode, "Let's Go To Music School", stars characters from Dora And Friends: Into The City!. Unfortunately, it aired in most places after said spin-off premiered, with the United States getting the episode long after Dora and Friends had ended.
  • Spoiler Title: A few episodes follow the pattern "Dora Saves (noun)", which apparently, spoils what happens in the episode.
  • Strictly Formula: Every episode tends to follow the same format:
    • At the start, Dora and Boots do something which sets up the plot.
    • Map will be asked, who shows the route of the adventure.
    • Every route has three (or four in one-hour specials) places, with the last place as the destination.
    • After asking Map and passing a place, Dora shows the places they went via a picture pop-up sequence. In the fourth season this was ditched, with Map keeping track instead, adding red checkmarks to the places visited. This returned in the fifth season, with Dora adding the checks.
    • Sometimes Dora will have the viewer check Backpack for something they need.
    • Dora will explain a Spanish word that the viewers will learn.
    • Swiper will show up randomly, attempting to swipe something important. To stop him, Dora and Boots have the viewer say "Swiper, no swiping!". If succeeded, Swiper will run off; if failed, Swiper will take the item and hide it; Dora will have the viewer find it afterward.
    • After the adventure, Dora and Boots celebrate with their "We did it" song and dance.
    • In the last scene, Dora and Boots talk about their favorite parts.
    • Around the third season and some of the fourth, Dora and Boots would catch stars, one of them with a talent that will help them, called an "Explorer star". At the end of the episode after explaining their favorite parts, the star amount is counted. The least amount of stars caught is three to four, while the most stars caught is twelve.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: The witch in Dora's Fairytale Adventure. Her minions don't seem to be capable of doing anything quite right and at one point actually get so caught up in one of Dora's accomplishments on her path to becoming a true princess that they cheer for her.
  • Swiper, No Swiping!: As already mentioned in the show intro, the show is the trope namer for this. If Dora/friends (and the viewers) are able to successfully say "Swiper, no swiping!" three times before he's able to swipe something, then Swiper is stopped. If not, then he declares "you're too late!" Also, in "Dora's Royal Rescue," Dora is able to stop obstacles such as dragons simply by declaring "Stop! I'm a knight!"
  • Sweet Sheep: The Season 3 episode "Dora Had A Little Lamb", involves "Little Lamb" from "Mary Had A Little Lamb" jumping out of a giant book filled with Nursery Rhymes to ask Dora and Boots to help her find Mary after getting lost. Little Lamb is later seen wearing a yellow flower located on her right ear.
  • Take Your Time/Talking Is a Free Action: In "Sticky Tape", their friend Benny is being swept away in a hot air balloon, headed straight for Crocodile Lake! Oh no! They need to fix the hole in his balloon before the balloon dips so low that the crocs eat him! But c'mon, it's not like they need to hurry. They stroll along at their usual beat (to the walking song they always use), even pause to dance out the musical portions. It's only once they get very close to Crocodile Lake that they start sprinting toward their doomed friend. It's like they manufacture their own cliffhanger moments. In another episode, "We All Scream For Ice Cream", Dora and Boots really want ice cream, but they need to intercept the ice cream truck at Coney Island to get it. But even though they really want it, they have no need to hurry. They just take their time and walk slowly.
  • Tempting Fate: Invoked on several occasions, usually involving Swiper. "I hope Swiper doesn't try to swipe <object>!" *Cue Swiper's signature whisking sound* "Oh no! That sounds like Swiper!"
  • Title Theme Tune: "Dora, Dora, Dora the Explorer! (Dora!) Boots and super cool exploradora!"
  • Title Sequence Replacement: When "Super Spies" and "Whose Birthday Is It?" were remastered, they used the Season 3-4 opening in place of the Season 1-2 opening, which confuses viewers into thinking they're Season 3 episodes. Similarly, the first two episodes of Season 3 opened with the Season 1-2 intro (those versions were also seen on the DVD releases), before quickly changing to the Season 3-4 intro not long after.
  • Thanking the Viewer: Every episode ends this way.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Every single promo for the double length episodes spoils Dora's final outfit for the special, to the point of showing the final scenes.
  • Transformation Sequence: Dora experiences this in every special episode.
  • Troll Bridge: The grumpy old troll who lives under the briiiiiiidge...
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: The Big Bad of "Dora Saves The Enchanted Forest", Owl.
  • Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born: One installment is about Dora hurrying home, as her mother is about to give birth. Dora becomes a big sister to a boy and girl who are known simply as "the twins."
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: When the viewers are asked to shout commands, Dora pretends she can't hear them. "Do you see it? Where? Say arriba! Louder!" It is to the point the blue cursor has to click on what she is looking for so she notices. It becomes less frequent in newer seasons.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: A few of the villains from the specials are genuinely threatening. Of note is the witch from "Dora's Fairytale Adventure", who was not only truly evil, but had absolutely no qualms about putting Boots into a never ending sleep For the Evulz.
  • Villain Song:
    • Depends if you consider him a "villain", but the Grumpy Old Troll's song.
    • Owl, the Big Bad of "Dora Saves The Enchanted Forest", has "I've Got A Rule For That", about all the unfair rules he's put in place to make him able to do whatever he wants to.
    • The Witch from "Dora's Fairy Tale Adventure" has a short one.
    • The Ice Witch has one in "Dora's Ice Skating Spectacular."
  • Villain Opening Scene: "Super Spies 2: The Swiping Machine" begins with a segment featuring Swiper as he shows the viewer his Super Swiping Machine.
  • Vocal Dissonance: In later seasons, Backpack is voiced by Alexandria Saurez and Sofia Lopez, who were so young when they first voiced her that she sounds like a boy.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: You only have to say "Swiper, no swiping!" three times to make him go away.
    • In a Bad Future (for this show anyway), this doesn't work anymore.
  • Wedding Episode: "The Grumpy Old Troll Gets Married"
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: It's somewhere in a Spanish-speaking rainforest. Diego episodes seem to confirm that the setting is in South America, anyway.
  • Whole Episode Flashback:
    • The entire episode “Backpack” is a flashback told by Dora as she remembers how she first got her backpack.
    • “Dora’s First Trip” has Dora flash back to the day she became an explorer and met her animal friends for the first time.
    • "Dora's Dance to the Rescue" begins with Dora and Boots dancing and recalling the main plot as a flashback to an earlier time when Dora used her dancing to save Swiper, and the rest of the episode is what happened during that time.
    • "Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure" is narrated as a past event by Santa Claus.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "Berry Hunt happens to be this to the children's book We're Going on a Bear Hunt''. It features Dora and Boots hunting for blueberries and saying a rhyme similar to the poems in the book, even saying "What a beautiful day!" and "We're not scared!". When they come to the places to go, they say "Can't go over/under/around/through it," get nervous when Swiper is about to appear like when the bear arrives, and just like in the climax, a bear chases the duo all the way back the way they came.
  • Wicked Witch:
    • One serves as the main villain for "Dora Saves the Prince", who locks Prince Ramon in the High Tower and chases Dora and Boots throughout. She turns good in the end.
    • Another serves as the Big Bad for "Dora's Fairytale Adventure".
    • There's also the witch from "Dora Saves the Snow Princess", who hates snow to the point she locks Sabrina in a tower and makes the Snowy Forest melt.
    • Then there's La Bruja from "Dora's Big Birthday Adventure", who turns out to be the cause of the Magic Storybook Trilogy all together. She stole the Wishing Wizzle's wishing crystal and hid it in the Snowy Forest, where it is found by Sabrina who later passed it down to Dora.
    • Also the Ice Witch from "Dora's Ice Skating Spectacular".
  • Winter Royal Lady: The snow princess.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: Swiper is placed on Santa's naughty list in Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure. He and Dora have to travel to the past and future in order for Swiper to get off the list. Although why they would do such a thing is unclear. The answer is apparently, nobody wants to be on the naughty list at Christmas. Not even Swiper.
  • You No Take Candle: The Wizzle from “Wizzle Wishes” speaks like this.
  • Younger Than They Look: The Christmas special reveals Swiper, Boots, the Grumpy Old Troll, and a few other characters are the same age. Foxes and monkeys age at different rates - thus why Sniper is an adult while Boots isn't even a teenager - but the Grumpy Old Troll was still called that when he was a toddler.

Thanks for helping! Gracias!
Top

Now we can jump in the book

In some episodes, like "Dora Saves the Prince", they had to jump into a book to start an adventure.

How well does it match the trope?

3 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / PortalBook

Media sources:

Report