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Posts Tagged ‘Dora The Explorer’

It’s not enough these days to simply have Harry Potter books, movies and merchandise. They have to be cross-bred with Lego so there’s Harry Potter Lego and then they get in bed with Nintendo so there can be a Harry Potter Lego Wii game. It’s like one big cross-promotional orgy.

And then there are the “brand extensions” where marketing people push brands in new (and often unexpected) directions.

Just the other day, when we were stuck in a Canberra motel with nothing but the Disney Channel for the kids to watch, we saw an ad for My Little Pony Mermaids. Yes, My Little Pony Mermaids. Apparently (according to the ad) whenever the My Little Ponies visit the sea, they magically turn into beautiful mermaids – or rather, pony mermaids. I mean, I was still getting over the Barbie film The Pixie made me watch, where the Barbie character found out she was half-human half-mermaid. What that actually meant in reproductive terms was disturbing enough, but a stallion getting it on with a trout’? That’s more ‘sick-as-fuck’ than “magical”, people.

“Who comes up with this sh…” I started to say, but then I saw the look of wonder on my daughter’s face. It was like that commercial had spoken directly to her soul.

“…imply fantashtic shtuff!” I concluded, brightly.

“Oh, I want a My Little Pony Mermaid Castle for my birthday, Mama,” The Pixie said. “Oh, please can I have one. Please??”

So I did what any parent would do. And no, I didn’t refuse to buy it. That’s what an ‘ethical’ or perhaps even ‘sane’ parent would do. Instead, I delegated the purchase of said My Little Pony Mermaid Castle to my father.

A few days later, my dad rang me from Target. He sounded in shock. A seasoned-father of three daughters, there was nothing in his nearly 40 years of parenting that had prepared him for the My Little Pony Mermaid range.

“There’s a My Little Mermaid Pony dolphin carriage here,” he said. “But no castle…”

Of course, there is a My Little Pony Dolphin Carriage, I thought to myself. Because if a mermaid pony wanted to get around under the sea, they’d totally make the dolphins their bitches rather than do any actual swimming themselves. You know it makes sense.

I considered for a moment letting him off the hook and telling him to get her the dolphin carriage but I knew, in my heart of hearts, that it was the My Little Pony Mermaid Castle she wanted.

Sure enough, a few days later, my decision to bully my father into searching until he’d found the castle was vindicated. After her party, I asked The Pixie if she’d liked the presents she’d received.

“They’re great!” she said, and then her bottom lip started to tremble. “But I’m a little sad because… because… I didn’t get the present of my dreams!”

And she burst into tears.

“Nobody gave me the My Little Mermaid Pony Castle!” she wailed. “And… and… nobody gave me the Dora Mermaid that [Baby C] got for Christmas!”

Dora the Mermaid Explorer? Oh. My. Sweet. Fuck. Is there no end to this madness?

Apparently not.

 

Just waiting for Lego to come to the party...

 

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Darling Pixie: Happy 6th Birthday for yesterday. Remember, your mummy loves you so much that she bought you a Dora The Mermaid Explorer (after she worked out that it wasn’t a talking or singing toy, that is. Small mercies, people. SMALL MERCIES.)

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It’s been said that nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Especially when it is sprung upon you by small children holding a “Dora The Explorer’s Christmas” DVD in their little hands saying “Pleeeeeassse can we borrow this? Please please please please pleeeeeeaassssse????“. 

Amidst the ensuing surge of outrage that such a DVD could a) exist; b) be on the shelves of my local library; and c) be in the hands of my precious children, I kind of lost control of the situation and found myself saying “Okay”. And once that’s out there, there’s no taking it back…

As I handed our selections over to the librarian, I remarked: “I’m not a friend of Dora’s. Nor am I a fan of watching Christmas-themed episodes in July. But a combination of the two? Well, that could take a grown woman into a very dark place indeed…”

It was at this point that the librarian laughed nervously and took a little step back. So I did the decent thing and finished my little rant in my head. It went something like this:

Stupid Christmas Dora. Who comes up with this shit? It’s enough to push an NDM over the edge. 

But sheesh, if I’m already close that edge, Dora’s even closer. She delivers every line at fever pitch, like she’s about to have a breakdown at any moment. Who can blame her when she’s never able to look at The Map herself, she has to rely on a bunch of three year olds to look at it for her every single time. 

And that Swiper The Fox, boy has he got a problem. Not only is he a kleptomaniac, but he’s a piss-poor kleptomaniac who is sprung-bad by a bunch of three year olds Every Single Time. 

And the Back Pack? He must be pissed off that Dora won’t ever speak to him personally. Instead she gets her three year old minions to do all the negotiations, and yet he still delivers exactly what she needs to complete her mission Every. Single. Time.

And those songs? They slip into my head like tanbark in my goddamn shoes at the park and stick there for days like a cooked rice underfoot. EVERY… SINGLE…TIME…

As you can imagine, this inner rant continued on and on until suddenly I realised that the librarian had laughed nervously because he knows that valuable tax payers’ money has been used to purchase the Dora’s Christmas DVD for his library’s collection. He knows What Evil he unleashes on the community whenever that DVD is loaned out. He knows and yet… he does nothing. 

My prediction is that one day, in the not too distant future, he’ll be set upon by a whole gaggle of NDMs who have said “Back Pack!” one too many times and they’ll stand in front of him and shout “Say ‘Map’! SAY ‘MAP’!!!” again, and again, and again. Until finally, his spirit will break clean in two and he’ll put that Dora Christmas DVD in the bin where it belongs.

Now say ‘Bin’.

Bin!

LOUDER!

BINNNNNNN!!!!!

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Forgive me if I seem a little edgy today. I’m still getting over the Thomas Take-Along “Thomas and Percy’s Carnival Adventure” set that I recently got at my friend MGK’s garage sale. 

“What’s to get over?” those people uninitiated in All Things Thomas might ask. 

“What’s not to get over,” would be my immediate response. After all, anyone who read my previous Thomas The Tank Engine rant “Tanks for Nothing” may recall that I have a few “issues” with the underlying messages of the Rev. Awdry’s classic children’s books. 

And yet, this time my beef was with something much more specific. Some might suspect it was with the half an hour I spent trying to put the Carnival Adventure together before discovering the instructions. Or with the fact that every second piece I laid out was instantly removed and hidden by small hands. Or even that I’d had Dora The Explorer’s “We did it! We did it! We did it! Yeah!” song on permanent loop in my head for the entire time (I’ll save my Dora rant for another day). 

But no, it was my discovery that there were New Generation Tracks in the Thomas Take-Along series which were completely incompatible with the old-style Take-Along tracks, of which we already have ample sufficiency, thank you kind sir. And it would appear that the only thing that might join the New with the Old was this small, unassuming and imminently losable connector piece:

gauge_thomas

And the more I looked at that piece, the more that I realised I should just Throw It Away Now and pretend that the Carnival Adventure was part of a “different” Thomas set altogether rather than waste the rest of my freakin’ life looking everywhere for it while small people looked on with Great Expectations. 

“Now, what’s all this about ‘different’ Thomas sets, NDM?” those same people from before are probably asking now, making me realise how truly blessed these people’s lives must be to not already know the depressing answer to this question. 

Why, they’re probably thinking it would be enough for the Estate of Rev. J. Awdry to whore the rights to the Thomas franchise to one toy manufacturing company. After all, there are well over 50 different engines to collect, not to mention Special Edition engines, such as “Thomas covered in paint” and “9 1/2 Weeks Percy dipped in chocolate” (there really is a chocolate covered Percy – I don’t make this shit up, you know).

But no, there are at least five different varieties of Thomas engines and tracks on the market: “Thomas Motor’n’Rail”, “Thomas Take-Along”, “Thomas Wooden Railway”, “Thomas Lego” and the “Thomas Electric Trainset” … and ne’er the twain shall meet.

So if you thought you could bung a Take-Along Annabel to a Wooden Railway Gordon, you would be wrong. Or that a Lego James might be able to go for a wee spin on the Motor’n’Rail tracks – but no. And you might even toy with the idea of putting an Electric Train Edward in a Take-Along roundhouse but THINK AGAIN, BUB.

But try explain that to an angry two year old boy who is at the throwing-die-cast-tender-engines-at-his-mother’s-head stage of frustration. “Sorry, darling. Skarloey won’t fit in the Sodor Saw Mill because there are GREEDY EVIL PEOPLE IN THE WORLD WHO HATE ME AND WISH TO MAKE MY LIFE A LIVING HELL.”

It’s a wonder that I haven’t banned Thomas outright from this household, like I did “Barney & Friends” where just the words “Super Dee Dooper!” can send me into a muderous rage. Super Dee Dooper? Why, I’ll Super Dee Dooper your purple padded arse…

And yes, I think I’ll take myself off for a little lie-down right now…

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