This series, created by producer Chris Nee and CGI animated by Brown Bag films, is so lushly sleek-looking, an adult might be skeptical that there is good stuff here — after all, slickness = emptiness, right? Not so fast. The title character is a little girl, Dottie, whose mom is a pediatrician (Dad, as far as I’ve been able to tell, is the stay-at-home, good-cook kind).
Dottie emulates Mom’s profession in her fantasy life: She’s gathered her toys, which include a stuffed lamb, a rubbery-looking dinosaur, and a jack-in-the-box, and — wearing a white lab coat and her ”magic” stethoscope around her neck, she solves minor medical mysteries, applies bandages to toy cuts and scrapes, and sings an original pop-rock song every so often. The look of Doc McStuffins is blindingly bright, dominated by pinks and purples, and Dottie has the big wide eyes that prevail in so much animation and on toys, since it’s the eyes that little kids fix on most readily in a toy or visual object. The look of the show is sumptuous; its animation seems to pick up the texture of, say, the knitted fabric of the lamb, or the dragon’s hard, plasticky scales.
There are subtexts running through Doc McStuffins. Dottie is black, one of the few such main characters on a major cable outlet like Disney Junior. And the mix of toys adds subtly to the notion of inclusiveness. Since Dottie conducts a lot of medical examinations on her toys, one result of the show might be fewer fears when a child goes to see a real doctor — after all, after seeing Dottie check a heartbeat with her stethoscope or look into her toy patients’ ears and eyes with her various tools, these intrusions don’t seem very intimidating.