I had the munchkin this weekend, and so I've watched a few episodes of Dora the Explorer and her cousin Diego. Alex, predictably, like Diego better. But unlike Dora, who teaches Spanish words as she's going about her adventures, Diego is an Animal Rescuer... so he talks to the animals. In other words, instead of teaching actual words, he says insane stuff like, "Can you say hello to the penguin? Say ORK ORK! ORK ORK!" Which of course has my little one yelling nonsensical animal noises at the television, rather than something useful like, you know, another actual language.
Is this teaching anything? Unless you were raising a baboon or something, I don't think so. These aren't like actual vowel sounds or something - they're just random noises. My best guess is that some marketing exec at Nickelodeon decided that they needed to sell more Dora merchandise to little boys, and thought it'd be "fun" to have Dora's cousin speaking "animal" (probably because their white suburban offspring didn't like speaking Spanish or something). Diego could have kept with the Spanish theme and taught the names of Animals in Spanish, you know: gato, perro, pajaro, etc. but no... But instead he just talks like a idiot, making the shows educationally worthless. (And by proxy, I'm a bad parent for letting my kid watch it, joy.)