Little girls across the land can give their stuffed bears a big ole’ hug of happiness and a high-five for good health because their favorite female Doc is coming back to Disney Junior for a second season!
Disney Junior’s “Doc McStuffins,” an imaginative animated series about a six-year-old girl who runs a clinic for stuffed animals and broken toys out of her backyard playhouse, was the #1 most-watched preschool series launch in cable TV history in Adults 18-49, which means moms and dads were tuning in and making sure their kids got to see the little female African-American doctor who was helping her stuff animals feel better about visiting their physician.
And the fact is, the show is as cute as can be. And as a mom of little girls myself it truly warmed my heart and almost brought tears to my eyes when my 8-year-old Mikaela saw Doc McStuffins for the first time and said, “Wow mommy, she’s brown.”
During the Disney Social Media Moms Event in April, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Nee, the creator and executive producer of Doc McStuffins because I wanted to know what inspired her to create such an adorable character.
“Doc was a real labor of love,” Nee said. Nee said she spent 15 years writing for Kids TV for popular show like the Wonder Pets and Little Bill. Writing for these shows as a parent without children soon changed once she became a mom herself. Nee said her son had asthma and that meant a lot of trips to the doctor’s office and it was always a trying process. Nee thought, “Why doesn’t someone do a show that will demystify this process for kids, she said.”
I agree. Like Nee, I’m the mom of a child with asthma. My 9-year-old daughter Kaitlin was diagnosed in 2006 after she just kept breathing hard and couldn’t seem to catch her breathe. We rushed her to the ER and when they took her vitals, the nurse just grabbed her and ran and rushed her into a room and the doctors worked urgently hooking her up to IVs and all kind of medical equipment. I had no idea what was going on and was clueless about asthma. The ordeal was scary for me, let alone Kaitlin who was four at the time. She stayed in the hospital for 3 days.
So Chris Nee, THANK YOU for creating a family friendly show centered around helping kids have a better medical experience! It’s a show that’s a must-need. And Michele Jabloner-Weiss, Executive Director, Original Programming for Disney Junior said creating this show was an easy decision. “Disney embraced the diversity,” Michele said. “I’m thrilled Disney brought this opportunity. We knew making it it was going to allow boys and girls to see themselves in a way they haven’t.” Not only that but this show has created an overwhelming response from African American physicians and women of color across the country who identify with little Doc McStuffins so much so that this image has gone viral. “We want all children to aspire to be a doctor,” Michele said.
Says Nee, “There are so many shows about first days of school, all hoping to ease kids through that trauma, but long before backpacks and cubbyholes, every kid faces the doctor. And shots. And scrapes, and sniffles and splinters.”
Nee had experience frequent return trips to the doctor after her son was diagnosed with asthma. Time and time again she said she watched her son experience fear and pain. All a mom wants to do is help their kid and for Nee, she took it a step further to help all kids by creating this show.
And kids, get your pennies from your piggy-bank piled up because there will be some new Doc McStuffins party supplies, books, toys, dolls and other accessories hitting store shelves between now and early 2013. Many of these items should be here just in time to hit kid’s Christmas wish lists this year! There’s also a Doc McStuffins DVD coming being released on August 21st, if you want to add it to your child’s DVD collection.
Here’s the 6 year old “Doc” as a doll from Just Play – she’ll be available for Holiday 2012 at $34.99.
An accomplished children’s television writer, Nee has also managed to juggle a successful career as a documentary and reality TV producer. Nee has received multiple Emmy Award nominations for writing and won an Emmy in 2002 for her work on “Little Bill,” the Peabody Award-winning series based on the children’s books by Bill Cosby. Her additional writing credits include Sesame Street, the Disney Channel series “American Dragon: Jake Long,” Playhouse Disney series “Johnny and the Sprites” and “Higglytown Heroes,” and Nickelodeon series “The Backyardigans” and “Olivia.”
And kudos to Disney for vowing to remove junk food ads from their Disney Junior programming! I try very hard to teach my kids about healthy food habits and I pack healthy lunches for them. I’m so glad now they won’t be enticed by ads on their favorite Disney Channel!
The Huffington Post contributed to this report