Why Dora the Explorer's Swiper the Fox Is an Absolutely Terrifying Maniac
Once upon a time, the Daughter With One F was a firm devotee of Yo Gabba Gabba and the kind, pure lessons taught by DJ Lance Rock. We never minded when her trusting hand would seek ours and insist that we cuddle her as together we watched the gang's hijinks while Daddy got to enjoy cameos by our favorite actors and some of the best musicians around. Now, all that has changed. Now, we watch Dora the Explorer.
It's the first thing we hear when we lift her from her crib in the morning. It's the final argument before we place her back into the crib at night. The show itself is fine, we guess, though we do feel like we're being ordered around by some kind of bilingual assistant manager with a slight case of autism and a penchant for singing. Still, we can deal with that. What we can't deal with is the show's antagonist, Swiper the Fox, who we are coming to see in our deepest nightmares.
In case you don't watch the show, Swiper's primary role is to ambush Dora and Boots as they make their way through whatever adventure they may be adventuring through and attempt to steal their stuff. Now that seems straightforward, but in execution it comes across as seriously disturbed. Here's why.
Swiper seems to be the only villain on any show on Nick Jr. Most of the rest of the shows prefer to have their principals play shape games or teach kids how to handle social situations. There's nothing wrong with that, but it does tend to leave some of the plots of the shows a little light on gripping drama. Not that the kids care, but for the adults being forced to watch alongside it can get monotonous.
However, Swiper is not a typical cartoon villain at all. He's some kind of hybrid between the "no bad guys" approach that other shows take and the more traditional Cobra Commander mold that you usually see in cartoons. Even though he is a constant nuisance that dogs the paths of our heroes, they continuously feel the need to invite him to every wedding, concert or ceremony that occurs. Even when he is caught red-handed trying to sabotage the situation, Dora and Boots will cheerfully encourage him to come to a party later in the episode. The same party he just tried to ruin.
Remember the last person that exact same situation happened all the time to? Odin via Loki. No matter how many times the trickster god Loki thoroughly ruins the Norse pantheon's day, even going so far as killing Odin's son for literally no reason other than it seemed like it would be funny, the Asgardian gods still invite him to every important event.
All this occurs in the name of the sworn blood-brotherhood between Odin and Loki, a bond we have never been given any reason for existing and that seems to be mirrored perfectly in Dora's inexplicable willingness to have someone who is a known criminal constantly around.