First Lady Michelle Obama is joining forces with Disney’s animated young children’s program about a veterinarian for toys, “Doc McStuffins.”The first lady’s appearance will coincide with Child Health Day as she invites Doc and her friends to the White House.
This special episode of “Doc McStuffins” premieres Monday, October 5 (9:00 a.m., ET/PT). During Doc’s visit, Obama appoints her the official toy doctor of the White House. To see a clip, watch below:
Jade Goss, age 2, looks as if she just stepped out of the wildly popular “Doc McStuffins” cartoon. “She has the Doc McStuffins sheets. She has the Doc McStuffins doll. She has the Doc McStuffins purse. She has Doc McStuffins clothes,” said Jade’s mother, Melissa Woods, of Lynwood, Calif.
“I think what attracts her is, ‘Hey, I look like her, and she looks like me,’ ” Ms. Woods said of the character, an African-American child who acts as a doctor to her stuffed animals.
With about $500 million in sales last year, Doc McStuffins merchandise seems to be setting a record as the best-selling toy line based on an African-American character, industry experts say. Its blockbuster success reflects, in part, the country’s changing consumer demographics, experts say, with more children from minority backgrounds providing an expanding, less segregated marketplace for shoppers and toymakers.
But what also differentiates Doc — and Dora the Explorer, an exceptionally popular Latina character whose toy line has sold $12 billion worth of merchandise over the years, Nickelodeon executives say — is her crossover appeal. “The kids who are of color see her as an African-American girl, and that’s really big for them,” said Chris Nee, the creator of Doc McStuffins. “And I think a lot of other kids don’t see her color, and that’s wonderful as well.”
Nancy Kanter, general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide, which developed “Doc McStuffins” — and who suggested the character be African-American in the first place — said Doc’s wide-ranging fan base could be gleaned from a spreadsheet. “If you look at the numbers on the toy sales, it’s pretty obvious that this isn’t just African-American families buying these toys,” Ms. Kanter said. “It’s the broadest demographics possible.”
Dr. Aletha Maybank examines patient (photo: Disney Junior)
In celebration of Black History Month, Disney Junior will debut “We Are Doc McStuffins” interstitials featuring Doc McStuffins, a young African-American girl who aspires to be a doctor like her mom, alongside three real life female African-American physicians sharing what their jobs entail, and saluting their heroes.
The interstitials will begin airing on Disney Channel and Disney Junior on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1 (10:25 a.m. ET/PT and 4:25 p.m. ET/PT, respectively) following a new “Doc McStuffins” Valentine’s Day themed episode. Additional interstitials featuring the three doctors will begin rolling out in the spring and will air regularly on both platforms.
Since its March 2012 premiere, “Doc McStuffins” has garnered worldwide attention for its portrayal of a young girl who runs a clinic for her stuffed animals and toys out of her backyard playhouse. Additionally, the series inspired a group of female African-American physicians to begin a “movement” they coined, “We Are Doc McStuffins.” Seeing a reflection of themselves in the Doc character and the opportunity to inspire young girls, the group grew to form the Artemis Medical Society, an organization of over 2500 female African-American physicians and medical students from around the world.
The interstitials feature three of the founding members of the “We Are Doc McStuffins” movement – Dr. Myiesha Taylor, an emergency doctor based in Dallas; Dr. Aletha Maybank, a pediatrician in New York City; and Dr. Naeemah Ghafur, a family doctor in Los Angeles who provides specialized care for the underserved, including the elderly and patients with high-risk illnesses.
Doc McStuffins, the star of this year’s breakout children’s show, has been officially dubbed the most sought-after gift this holiday season. The new doll has even unseated Elmo as this year’s must-have holiday toy. The Disney series was introduced in March and has surpassed Dora the Explorer as the top-rated cable TV show for kids, reports the New York Daily News.
Doc McStuffins is a 6-year-old African-American girl who treats sick toys.