Dora the Musician-Explorer

For those musically-obsessed families out there who are also Nick Jr.-obsessed, the next four weeks promises to be particularly good (or tunefully repetitive) as the channel will air five music-themed shows, one a day, for four of its shows. Starting tomorrow (Monday, July 23rd) and for the next four weeks, Dora the Explorer, The Wonder Pets!, Blue's Clues, and The Backyardigans will each get their turn in the musical sun with a week apiece of music-themed episodes. The channel will also be premiering Yo Gabba Gabba! videos. Anyway, you get the idea -- lots of music.

Dora the Explorer gets the biggest PR push as it's the one show getting a new episode premiere, "La Maestra de Musica." It debuts on Monday, July 23rd. What's this episode all about? Well, let's go to the press release...

Dora-Maestra De Musica low res.jpg"Boots and Dora walk to school and bump into Boots’ music teacher, La Maestra de Música, who is singing Boots’ favorite song, “Hola, Hola.” When the chain breaks on La Maestra’s bicycle, she needs Dora, Boots and the preschoolers at home to help her figure out the quickest way to get to school..."

Anything more would just spoil the fun, now wouldn't it? (Although I will say, that the episode features the slowest schoolkids I have ever seen. They get to school a good 20 minutes late. Oh, and those snakes are so not scary.)

We've given a screener of the episode of few spins, and it was popular with the younguns. It follows the same template as every other Dora episode, so it's not like this breaks any new ground. In fact, the most fun is Swiper's appearance, in which he doesn't swipe the valuable can't-be-named-here-object, but in which he handles his rejection is with more style and grace than he typically does.

The music itself is perfectly competent, with the "Wheels on the Bus" getting a slight linguistic and contextual makeover. It's not exactly Raffi, though. In fact, what struck me in watching the episode is what nice little songs the hyper theme song and the closing "We Did It!" song are. The opening track in particular is ear-wormy the way few TV theme songs are nowadays. On the other hand, unlike those songs, the songs in this episode actually encourage the kids to sing along. That, by itself, is a good thing.

One final note -- that is not, as I'd first wildly thought (and hoped) upon seeing the image, Laurie Berkner. (Unless she's credited here under a fake name and using an archly stylized singing style.) So I'm just throwing that out there, Viacom, a Dora/Laurie Berkner crossover. It'd be huge.

(Illustration courtesy Nick Jr.)