We Bare Bears (Cartoon Network)
We Bare Bears airs on Cartoon Network, a channel I abandoned when I turned twelve and Disney brought in live action shows such as That So Raven, Lizzie McGuire, etc. It was a 9 year old friend of mine who recommended this show to me. While his personal favorite cartoon was Motu Patlu, a show I personally find unbearable, he could relate to and identify with the characters in We Bare Bears a lot more. I randomly checked out 4 episodes and was so impressed with the originality and wit and humor within the show that I binge-watched all 26 episodes (of 11 minute each) of Season 1 during Diwali Break. The show’s main characters include Grizzly, Panda (fondly called ‘Pam-Pam’, and Ice Bear, three brothers with distinct personalities of their own. Grizzly, the oldest, is more extroverted and jaunty, and leads the pack (often into the worst of situations). Panda is more bashful by nature, but also the most active on social networking sites. Ice Bear, the youngest, is the most sedate and the most talented of the lot, self-trained in martial arts, origami, world cuisines, French etc. The episodes follow the three talking bears as they attempt to assimilate with humans, who in most cases do not take kindly to their presence.
The best part about We Bare Bears is that neither the plot nor the characterization feels stuck in a rut, a common problem among many Indian and Japanese (and some American, especially the Superhero-based) cartoons. Although the overarching themes of unity and companionship are emphasized in every episode, there is a constant change in situations. In episode 2 ‘Viral Video’, in an attempt to make tons of new friends, Grizzly and his brothers try to become famous on social media after becoming inspired by Nom-Nom, a celebrity Koala whose cute-videos go viral; in the end, however, they realize that the millions of followers on social media are no comparison to true friendship and relationships formed in the real world. Later, in the much lauded Episode 7 ‘Burrito’, Panda and Ice Bear attempt to put an end to Grizzly’s unhealthy fascination with a giant burrito. Both (and many other) episodes girdle the bond between the three brothers, but you can see that they are vastly different in their storylines. This along with the crackerjack humor is We Bare Bears biggest strength. Recurrent characters, including the 6 year old Korean-American child prodigy Chloe and obnoxious yet well meaning Bigfoot Charlie, add a great dynamic to the show.
The reason why I connected with We Bare Bears so much is that it is a show about outsiders, who may be the most amazing and warm and benevolent of creatures, but are often misunderstood by the world and kept at a distance. The show encourages viewers to be more accepting of diversity, and one thing that I especially love about the show is that it nicely captures the multiethnic climate of Bay Area, San Francisco where it’s set. Although I wish it is able to highlight the peculiarities of various cultures and their customs in coming seasons.
Overall, We Bare Bears is definitely a must watch both for children and adults. It refreshes your mood and makes you fall in love with cartoons again.
Other Plus Points!
- Excellent voiceover
- A very catchy and hummable Theme Song I’d love to keep as my ringtone
- Practical and realistic use of gadgets on the show. The bears using laptops, gaming devices and mobile phones for purposes including finding a date, uploading videos, finding a location, taking selfies, etc. In one episode, a photo taken on the mobile phone plays a vital role in saving the bears’ home. The show rarely features fantastical gadgets like those on Doraemon