Minorities in cartoons: “Doc McStuffins”

Doc McStuffins

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is “Doc McStuffins,” the lead character of an eponymous 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.

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