Hannah the Explorer

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IMG_0145By Hannah Paquette

Art By: Grace Monahan


Dora the Explorer was, in my opinion, one of the greatest shows I had the pleasure of watching when I was young. If the tv was on, there was a good chance my sister and I had our eyes glued to the screen, watching Dora on her adventures while snacking on some Goldfish crackers. We watched it daily, generally when we were eating our lunches at the edge of our kitchen (as close as our mom would allow us to get to the tv while we consumed our meal). My appreciation for Dora translated well beyond the screen though: I had Dora-themed everything. Toys, backpacks, clothing, DVDs, etc. One could say I was a very big fan.

During one birthday celebration when I was around four or five, I had finished opening what I thought to be all my presents when my mom told me to sit down in front of the tv. “I have another surprise,” she told me, as I scooted myself towards the screen. She placed a disc in the DVD player, and turned on the screen. The words ‘Hannah the Explorer’ flashed across the tv, and suddenly, there I was on the screen. Somewhat.

The intro sequence for Dora the Explorer began, but instead of Dora’s head on her body, it was a poorly trimmed photo of my own head. Dora was no longer herself; she was me. This did not go over well.

It took me a minute to understand what was happening. I stared at the screen, unable to move or say anything, in complete shock. I was too scared to do anything. Once I shook myself out of the shock, I began crying, and begging my mom to turn the tv off. I thought I had replaced Dora, and that she no longer existed, since I had essentially taken over her body. What would all the other kids out there think? Would the new episodes focus on me? I thought to myself. As a shy, very reserved child, I became incredibly stressed at the idea that I could be starring in the series now. I couldn’t fully process what was actually happening, being too young to understand that I had not, in fact, replaced Dora entirely. My mom was distraught; she thought I would love the customized episode since I was such a big fan. My parents scrambled to turn it off and calm me down, while my older sister watched from the other side of the room, also struggling to process what was happening. My parent’s whisked away the DVD as one of them sat with me, asking me to take deep breaths and relax. That was the last time I saw the disc.

Somewhere within my house my mom has the DVD hidden, and refuses to get rid of it. “We have to watch it one day,” she always says to me when it’s brought up, “We never even got past the first five minutes!” She even refuses to let me know where she’s put it, since her and I both know that if I was able to find it, I’d destroy it. I will never agree to watch it though; at this point, I’d prefer to leave that hilarious trauma in the past.

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