When Dora the Explorer started airing on Nickelodeon in 2000, it was pretty groundbreaking. An interactive children's show that also teaches kids Spanish: What's not to love? Dora kept young kids engaged and learning — instead of passively zoning out in front of a TV screen — and parents could finally get a moment to themselves. It was a win-win.
The early episodes of Dora the Explorer resembled a computer game, complete with a cursor and clicking sound effects whenever Dora would prompt viewers to help her locate something on the screen. "It's right there!" kids would shout at their televisions at a concerning frequency.
Dora has evolved a ton over the years. The bilingual explorer even appeared in a number of spinoffs, including helping her cousin in Go, Diego, Go! and starring as a more grown-up version of herself in Dora and Friends: Into the City!
Through it all, Dora's overly dramatic antics and utter inability to see objects 2 feet from her face have remained the same — and she's managed to get under many people's skin. Because seriously, why does she have such a difficult time noticing giant mountains, or buildings, or Swiper the Fox when they're literally right in front of her?
Is Dora the Explorer visually impaired?
The obvious answer is no, Dora the Explorer is not visually impaired. (How could such an iconic character go this long without addressing the fact that she doesn't see well, or at all?) Nickelodeon would have dropped the ball big time when it comes to inclusivity / educating kids about people who are differently-abled if Dora really has been visually impaired for all these years.
With that said, a TikTok user posted a video in February 2021 that makes a strong argument for the idea that Dora the Explorer is, in fact, visually impaired.
"My wife asked if Dora was visually impaired. Now I can't unsee it," the video began as scenes of Dora the Explorer played. The user also pointed out an "obvious assistance animal" when Boots the monkey popped on the screen and helped Dora locate various landmarks.
"Why won't she look at the coins?" the TikToker wondered during a scene of Dora and Boots counting money while Dora's eyes remained unfocused at the task at hand.
"Do you see the mud?" Dora asked in another scene, also asking, "Do you see a bridge? Do you see the volcano?"
She had a particularly difficult time finding Swiper in this episode, too.
"Do you see Swiper the fox?" she asked while looking in the completely wrong direction. "Where? I don't see him? Where is he? Behind the bush?"
The OP also pointed out, "This is just from the first episode."
TikTokers took to the comments section in droves to share their reactions.
"And I spent all these years yelling at her?? Now I feed bad lmfao," one person wrote.
"She's clearly begging for help and we all thought it was a game," another TikTok user commented.
Yet another person commented, "Imagine this entire time she's just been exploring her house and back yard, that's why her parents don't say anything about her going on adventures."
Twitter users were pretty shook about the possibility of Dora the Explorer having a visual impairment this whole time, as well.
It’s 3:26am and i just found out that Dora the explorer was visually impaired. Boots was her “service animal” and that’s why she asked so many times if we saw specific things because she couldn’t. 🤯— ryanaarontroy ☽ (@_ryanaarontroy) February 8, 2021
Someone on Tik Tok said Dora The Explorer was Visually impaired and now it all makes sense 🤯— Xavia 🇬🇹♋️✨222 (@_StealingBeauty) February 9, 2021
I feel so bad because I literally would scream at the Tv 😬😭😅 pic.twitter.com/9HyQjo2mRC
A quick search on Twitter revealed this isn't the first time viewers have questioned whether Dora has some sort of visual impairment; the theory has existed for years, actually.
What if Dora the explorer was just blind and no one will tell her where the map is?— Mike Lundquist (@muffquist) September 3, 2015
"Plot twist. Dora the Explorer is actually legally blind." -my brother— Claire Andres (@crazyclaire_21) March 19, 2016
Suddenly, it all makes complete sense. It's no wonder Dora was constantly asking, "Where are we going?"
What do you think about the theory? Do you think Nickelodeon should once again reinvent the character — but this time address her obvious visual impairment? Or should people remember this is a show for preschoolers and just let it go?