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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that We Bare Bears is a funny and heartwarming story about three brothers of the bear persuasion who lean on each other as they try to fit in among the human population. Their attempts sometimes poke gentle fun at hallmarks of modern society (reliance on technology, Internet memes, and the like) and usually result in some sort of chaos brought on by the bears' utter unsuitability for the people world. Even so, what stands out is how the characters' uniqueness serves them well as a group and how they're reminded time and again that they're stronger as a group than they are individually. The show's content is fine for kids, but teens and adults might have a better understanding of the humor, since it relates to the stereotypes it raises about our technologically driven society.
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What's the story?
WE BARE BEARS follows brothers Grizzly (voiced by Eric Edelstein), Panda (Bobby Moynihan), and Ice Bear (Demetri Martin) as they attempt to assimilate into the people world in the San Francisco area. Following the lead of those they see around them, they spend their time snapping selfies, creating viral videos, and even testing the entrepreneurial waters with a food truck business of their own. But even with the help of their lone human friend, Chloe (Charlyne Yi), the bears find that there's more to being hip than just doing what the next guy does, and they have a lot to learn about blending into the masses.
Is it any good?
This cartoon is rich in its simplicity, both visually and with respect to the endearing characters' actions, follies, and lessons learned. With every hilarious mishap that comes from the brothers' attempts to be something they're not (and there are many), they're reminded of the value of being themselves. It's a good thing, too, because try as they might, they never quite manage to get the whole human thing right.
Much credit is due to We Bare Bears' talented voice cast, who assign comically distinct personalities to the bears. There's the ever-optimistic oldest brother, Grizz; chronically insecure Panda; and Ice, whose über-chill demeanor is a good match for his name. A simple plot and basic animation style lay the groundwork for this likable series, but it's the voices that give the bears real pizzazz.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the ups and downs of being a sibling. Kids: Do you usually get along with your brother(s) and/or sister(s)? What kinds of things do you enjoy doing together? What are the more difficult aspects of having siblings? How do the siblings on We Bare Bears get along?
Why do the bears want to be part of a society that's not their natural one? How does it feel to be excluded from something? Why is it important to be mindful in including others in what you're doing?
This show implies that it's simple to generalize about today's society and its population. Are people as easy to stereotype as this? Is it offensive to make this kind of statement about "everyone"? Does the fact that it's made in jest change how it's received?
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