If you’re not familiar with Doc McStuffins — it’s more than likely your children are.
That’s because Doc McStuffins has taken Disney by storm and become one of TV’s most popular cartoon characters.
While she’s not a real licensed doctor, the show’s protagonist is a pre-schooler who takes on the role of a health care professional and provides resources for her clinic of friendly stuffed animals and toys.
McStuffins is also African-American and a female — a decision made in part by the show’s creator, Chris Nee, who joined Melissa Harris-Perry on her show this Sunday.
“Why is Doc McStuffins black?” Harris-Perry asked, after admitting that she was a big fan of the show.
“It really was a very early discussion with Disney, I think it was the very first discussion when they bought the show,” Nee said. “They said look we’re looking for a property that we can have that has someone of a different race and I said you know what, that sounds great.”
“And I think my lesson to everybody else is that it’s such a simple decision to make, we don’t think about it anymore after that. We created a great character, we made this decision and now we see how that impact has sort of trickled out into the world to make sure we have representations of all different kinds of kids so that kids can look at TV and see themselves on TV, which is so important.”
The show, in fact, has become cable TV’s top-rated pre-school series within its first year on air. The second season began earlier this month and was eagerly welcomed back by the show’s fanbase.
It’s popularity could possibly be credited to delivering more diversity to TV and fills a void in popular culture as it reflects a small demographic – only 4 percent of doctors are black and even fewer, 1.9 percent, are black women.
Meanwhile, the show also has a depth that many children – and their parents – have learned to appreciate.
Aside from Doc McStuffins’ and her character traits, her mother is also a doctor – to be clear, an official one at that – while her father is a stay-at home dad and together, they create a family dynamic that is not often portrayed on TV.
Harris-Perry talked to Nee about some of the decision-making that went into the creation of the show and they discuss how it has had a strong impact among its viewers.
To watch the full interview, click here.