Recommends: We Bare Bears (Cartoon Network)

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!  

  1. Excellent voiceover
  2. A very catchy and hummable Theme Song I’d love to keep as my ringtone
  3. 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

Reviewing British Tele-Movie ‘The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister’

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Summary: As The Television Film Focuses on Only One Particular Instance of Great Importance in Anne’s Life Than the Contents of Her Diaries, Its Should’ve Had A Different Title 

Love is all the more precious when the chance of finding a replacement is low; therefore, in the case of same sex relationships, finding and keeping love intact is all the more important because there are fewer chances of getting another suitable substitute, especially if such relationships existed in early nineteenth century. Even in the world today, homosexuals have to take extra precaution while searching for their soul partner, because making a move with the wrong person (a straight person) can ruin well-developed relationships. Movies, television shows, books and experiences have shown that in many cases, it is the relationship between two people of the same sex that is more mature and more intimate in its understanding of the true importance of love.

Anne Lister cherished the love she had for Mariana because she could not find a suitable substitute for Mariana, while Tib could only think of Anne as her suitable partner. Mariana on the other hand had options with her, most probably because she was bisexual. Some reviewers who are calling Anne’s relationship ‘prurient’ only because of the open manner in which she displays her affection towards Mariana (and sexual desires towards other lesbians) forget that she did not have a wide range of options for whom she could display either her love or affection. Anne basically has greater masculine tendencies such as constant craving for love and affection, and does not really care much what the people around her would say when she eyes/stares/holds hands with her object of affection. I’m telling you, had this involved a straight couple, people wouldn’t have labeled the intimate scenes between the couple as ‘prurient’. Yes, Anne didn’t hesitate in openly showing her desperation in holding the relationship together because it would be difficult to part with someone whom she had found presumably after years of fruitless searching.

English: Portrait of Anne Lister (1791-1840), ...

English: Anne Lister Lead A Scandalous Life, Being One of the First Women To Openly Show Affection Towards The Fairer Sex (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maxine Peake does a fine job channeling the essence of Anne’s character, and the job is especially hard because we see Anne for almost the entire time on screen. She makes Anne’s character unique from the other lesbian characters in the movie, which is very crucial for understanding how each character differs in her thinking. While Anne would be the suitable ‘husband’ for Mariana, she would be more of a ‘wife’ had she married an more boisterous Tib; maybe that is the reason why Anne could not see herself with someone like Tib – she wanted to play the man. Mariana had to keep a balance between her masculine ambitions and feminine tenderness, and she does it very well. But it is Susan Lynch who is even more impressive in her short role as Tib, especially in the dinner scene where she starts an inappropriate conversation out of jealousy and dejection. Even Anna Madeley is interesting as the delicate Mariana who while cherishing Anne’s affection, cannot think of sacrificing her position in the society for her. Ann Walker is also good as the shy, suppressed and introverted woman who holds a secret with her.

I have always been quite impressed by the production design in British films – the movies really seem to color and deck their movies very well. The period costumes are fabulous, giving each character a unique personality; even the hats are carefully chosen according to what is most appropriate for a character. The television film should have been named something else, only because we hardly find much time devoted to Anne’s secret diaries leaving out the central theme of the title itself. It could have been named ‘The Forbidden Love of Anne and Mariana’ or something of that sort.

Grade: BB