Dec 192013
 

Doc McStuffinsMerry Christmas, everyone!

This year, I thought I’d look at how various minority characters I’ve written about have “saved Christmas.” It seems to be mandatory for cartoon characters to save said holiday, which is more endangered than every other holiday for some reason. So, let’s look at how our heroes and heroines have saved the 25th of December.

Doc McStuffins

Doc has her own Christmas special, “A Very McStuffins Christmas.” There, she visits Santa’s workshop to fix a broken Christmas present.

Go, Diego, Go!

In “Diego Saves Christmas,” Santa’s sleigh is stuck under a snow hill, requiring Diego to find a very strong llama to help pull St. Nick free.

Handy Manny

In the episode “Flicker Saves Christmas,” a fierce snowstorm forces Santa to land in Sheetrock Hills, where Manny and the tools help Santa make his deliveries and save the holiday.

Cyberchase

While Cyberspace doesn’t have Christmas (or it’s only a minor holiday at best—Hacker mentions something being “lit up like a Christmas tree” in one episode), it does have an analogue, “Starlight Night” (Christmas and New Year’s combined). And yes, you guessed it, Starlight Night saved on two occasions by Jackie, Inez, and Matt.

Dora the Explorer

Not to be outdone by her cousin Diego, Dora saves two holidays from ruin. In “Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure,” Dora tries to get Swiper off Santa’s naughty list…and learns (via time-travel) that if Swiper doesn’t get off the list, he’ll apparently turn bitter and be destined to ruin future Christmases by stealing enough stuff to make Batman’s rogues gallery look like amateurs. Then in “Dora Saves Three Kings Day,” Dora saves the holiday of, well, Three Kings Day (or “Epiphany” as it’s known as in some countries).

Ron Stoppable

Ron Stoppable of “Kim Possible” tries in one episode (“A Very Possible Christmas”) to save the world single-handedly from being attacked at Christmas by Drakken. This was meant to be Ron’s “gift” to Kim, a day off from heroics. With both Ron and Drakken prone to bumbling, however, things didn’t go as planned for either character. The Possible family end up uniting at Christmas to find, and save, Ron.

 

Mar 072013
 

Doc McStuffinsThis week’s minorities in cartoons entry is “Doc McStuffins,” the lead character of an eponymously named series on Disney Junior (in the US). Disney Junior is a recently-started cable channel aimed at preschoolers, with both original shows and the former “Playhouse Disney” block from the Disney Channel’s morning lineup.

The show centers around a six-year-old girl named Dottie McStuffins (nicknamed “Doc” by everyone), who like other little kids likes to play doctor to her stuffed animals. Unlike other kids, Doc has a magic stethoscope that (when others aren’t around) brings toys to life, akin to “Toy Story.” Episodes usually involve Doc and the toys learning simple life lessons and/or Doc diagnosing various toys’ “medical” problems (such as a lack of Velcro on a toy opossum). The latter, of course, is meant to help kids in real life learn to deal with doctor’s visits.

Doc is voiced by teenaged actress Kiara Muhammad. Another voice on the series (a stuffed snowman) is by Jess Harnell, familiar to older viewers as Wakko Warner on 90s series “Animaniacs.”

The show is one of Disney Junior’s biggest hits, and has gotten much praise for featuring an African-American female lead character. It’s also one of the few preschool shows these days that doesn’t talk down to its target audience via obnoxious “Dora the Explorer”-style “questioning” of the viewer.

Here’s an interview with the show’s creator.