Monday, March 16, 2009

Well enough, the old adage tells us, should be left alone. I would have thought that corporate America would have learned that lesson from the "New Coke" fiasco a few years ago. You remember that? Coca Cola unveiled a "new" version of the sacred beverage only to find that the tide of public approval can be pretty nasty when it turns against you. For those of you who can't remember, think of your cola addicted friends clutching their cans of Coke Classic and muttering that old NRA bumper sticker about taking away guns when they are pried from their cold, dead hands. Well put "Coke" in place of the word "gun" and you get the general idea of how cola drinkers felt about "new" Coke.
Now Mattel and Nickelodeon have announced that "Dora the Explorer" is going to be allowed to grow up. Blasphemy! Heresy! How could they?? Visions of Dora with a pack of Jolly Ranchers, a cell phone and one streak of white blonde hair calling "Aye Papi, What'sup?" to Boots the monkey dance through the mind. Dora can't grow up, can't turn into a tween then teenaged bimbet. She is and always will be an adorable preschool, sweet and inquisitive. Dora growing up would be like Charlie Brown growing up, (although Charlie Brown would probably make a sensitive caring adult man, one we would all like to know despite his need for years of therapy. Actually Linus would make one heck of a guy to know, grounded and spiritual) it just isn't supposed to happen.
Dora and Charlie Brown are cartoons. Part of their charm is that they don't age. What would happen if Blondie and Dagwood aged? By this time Mr Dithers and Cora would be dead and the kids would no doubt have Blondie in a home, Dagwood having long ago died from heart problems from all those years of fatty foods.
Mattel promises us that we will like the grown up Dora. I hope so. I don't want to see Dora get mouthy, join the Crips or whatever else some corporate exec decides she might need to do to stay "relevant". Dora will always have a new generation of little girls who will find her relevant .
They will love her for a time and then when they are ready, move on to the next phase. It's what we do. Growing up means putting aside some of our old friends. What they leave with us is the lessons we learn from them.

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