We Bare Bears

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We Bare Bears
We Bare Bears wordmark.svg
Genre
Created byDaniel Chong
Based onThe Three Bare Bears
by Daniel Chong
Directed by
  • Art Director:
  • Tony Puham
  • Supervising Director:
  • Manny Hernandez
Creative directorLauren Sassen
Voices of
Theme music composerIvan Barias
Opening theme"We'll Be There"
by Estelle
ComposerBrad Breeck
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes140 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Producers
Running time
  • 11 minutes
  • 22 minutes (specials)
Production companyCartoon Network Studios
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Distribution
Release
Original networkCartoon Network
Picture formatHDTV 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseJuly 27, 2015 (2015-07-27) –
May 27, 2019 (2019-05-27)

We Bare Bears is an American animated television series created by Daniel Chong for Cartoon Network. The show follows three bears, Grizzly, Panda, and Ice Bear (respectively voiced by Eric Edelstein, Bobby Moynihan, and Demetri Martin), and their awkward attempts at integrating with the human world in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The series was based on Chong's webcomic The Three Bare Bears, and the pilot episode made its world premiere at the KLIK! Amsterdam Animation Festival, where it won in the "Young Amsterdam Audience" category. The show premiered on July 27, 2015 and ended on May 27, 2019 and ran for four seasons and 140 episodes.[1][2]

A film adaptation, We Bare Bears: The Movie was released digitally on June 30, 2020[3] and later aired on Cartoon Network on September 7, 2020; it served as a conclusion to the narrative of the series.[2] A television spin-off, entitled We Baby Bears and focusing on the three bears when they were cubs, was announced in May 2019 to be in development and will premiere on January 1, 2022. The France Truc Upcoming Series from May 3, 2022.[4][5]

Plot[edit]

We Bare Bears follows three adoptive brother bears: Grizzly (often called Grizz), Panda (often called Pan-Pan), and Ice Bear. The bears attempt to integrate with human society, such as by purchasing food, making human companions or trying to become famous on the Internet, although these attempts see the bears struggle to do so due to the civilized nature of humans and their own animal instincts.[6] However, in the end, they figure out that they have each other for support.[7]

The Bears often form a "bear stack", which they use to get around the city, and has become perhaps the most recognizable image from the show.[6] Occasionally, the bears share adventures with their friends, such as child prodigy Chloe Park, bigfoot Charlie, internet sensation koala Nom Nom, park ranger Tabes, and produce saleswoman Lucy. Some flashback episodes chronicle the adventures of the bears as cubs trying to find a home.

Production[edit]

(From top to bottom) Grizzly, Panda and Ice Bear (pictured left) forming their "bear stack".[6]

The show was created by cartoonist Daniel Chong, who had previously worked as a story artist for Pixar and Illumination Entertainment. The show is based on his webcomic The Three Bare Bears, which features the same characters.[8] This webcomic was uploaded online from 2010 to 2011,[9] running for ten strips. Chong has said he first drew the bears, including drawing them in a stack, in an attempt to make his girlfriend's niece laugh.[10] Chong also said that, after a different pilot he was working on did not get picked up, he wanted to pitch something else, "and this was just the closest thing near me!" Chong said that doing the comic helped a lot with the show, especially in providing the dynamic between the three main characters, though the characters have also evolved a lot from the comic.[11]

Billed as a comedy, the show is a production of Cartoon Network Studios, which developed the program with Chong as part of their shorts development program. It was announced during the network's 2014 upfront.[7] According to Chong, much of the pilot was done with traditional watercolors, then digitally altered, to give "a naturalistic feel", but traditional work was not possible for a full show so he and the art director found a digital way to produce a "painterly feel", using references such as Peanuts cartoons, children's book illustrators like Tomi Ungerer and E. H. Shepard, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.[11][12]

Nom Nom and Charlie were initially voiced by Ken Jeong and Tom Arnold, respectively, before getting recast sometime before airing. Episodes, other than specials and shorts, were 11 minutes long.

Broadcast[edit]

The pilot episode made its world premiere at the KLIK! Amsterdam Animation Festival at the EYE Film Institute Netherlands in 2014.[13] The short won the KLIK! Young Amsterdam Audience Award.[14]

We Bare Bears promotional event at Victoria Square, Birmingham

We Bare Bears premiered on Cartoon Network in the US and Canada on July 27, 2015.[1][15] A total of 140 episodes, 15 shorts have been made, as well as a film.

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
PilotMay 21, 2014 (2014-05-21)
126July 27, 2015 (2015-07-27)February 11, 2016 (2016-02-11)
226February 25, 2016 (2016-02-25)April 11, 2017 (2017-04-11)
344April 3, 2017 (2017-04-03)February 16, 2018 (2018-02-16)
444July 30, 2018 (2018-07-30)May 27, 2019 (2019-05-27)
FilmJune 30, 2020 (2020-06-30)
Shorts155July 6, 2015 (2015-07-06)December 1, 2015 (2015-12-01)
5June 30, 2016 (2016-06-30)
5April 27, 2017 (2017-04-27)

Home media[edit]

Region Title Season(s) Episodes Running time
(minutes)
Release date
1 Viral Video 1 12 ("Our Stuff" – "Panda's Date" • "Burrito" • "Jean Jacket" • "Shush Ninjas" – "Charlie" • "Occupy Bears" • "The Road") 132 October 4, 2016[16]
2 Volume 1 1 12 ("Our Stuff" – "My Clique") 132 October 7, 2019[17]
4 The Complete First Season 1 26 286 June 9, 2017[18]
Complete Seasons 1–3 1–3 96 1,056 February 14, 2019[19]

Reception[edit]

Critical[edit]

We Bare Bears has received generally positive reviews from critics. The pilot was described by the EYE Film Institute Netherlands as "hilarious and endearing",[20] and it won in the "Young Amsterdam Audience" category.[21] The show was praised by Mashable for tackling "modern millennial anxieties" and for representing racial minorities; Mashable called the show "a parable about the charms and perils of an increasingly connected society".[22] Common Sense Media described the show "a funny and heartwarming story" that "sometimes poke gentle fun at hallmarks of modern society". It said that "what stands out is how the characters' uniqueness serves them well as a group" and considered it suitable for ages 8 and up.[23] The Straits Times of Singapore noted that We Bare Bears has appealed to adults as well, and said that the series stands out "because it juxtaposes a somewhat mature sense of humour with a visual style that recalls the hand-drawn illustrations from children's books."[10]

According to Chong, fans responded positively to the human communities being ethnically diverse.[10] The Asian-American news site NextShark said that the show had gained popularity among Asian American communities because it "contains deeper messages of representation and belonging as a minority – something most Asian American children are far too familiar with." It noted that the show "unapologetically showcases and simultaneously normalizes Asian culture through their references to Panda’s love for K-pop and K-dramas, the Bears’ regular trips to their favorite boba shop, and Ice Bear's impressive ability to speak fluent Korean and cook traditional Korean dishes."[24]

A reviewer for The A.V. Club was more mixed, saying in 2015 that the show "bounc[ed] between the extraordinary and the endearing," describing typical episodes as the bears "find[ing] themselves in some sort of bizarre yet generic conflict...with little background music, a more muted color palette, and a simpler vibe." Overall, The A.V. Club said it was "not a must-watch show by any means, but it’s charming and breezy enough to enjoy within its brief run-time."[8]

Den of Geek noted that the show embraced episodic storytelling, contrary to 90s and 2000s trends in kids' television, and felt that it "uses episodic storytelling to its full advantage and crafts adventures that are perfectly suited to the format." It noted that the show did have some light elements of serialization, including character growth.[25] Screen Rant said that the show was known for its 1990s pop culture references, such as depicting Charles Barkley magically appearing from a trading card.[26]

Ratings[edit]

The first episode of We Bare Bears had 2.05 million views on its first showing.[27] Ratings generally fell with time, with the final episode receiving 0.45 million viewers.[28] The first season topped US TV ratings for children aged 2 –11 in July 2015.[10]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
2016 Annie Awards Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Madeline Sharafian, Manny Hernandez, and Bert Youn (for "Burrito") Nominated
BAFTA Children's Awards International We Bare Bears Won
2017 17th Kidscreen Awards Best Animated Series We Bare Bears Won
Best Writing We Bare Bears Won
24th International Trickfilm Festival Stuttgart Best International Animation Series For Kids We Bare Bears Won [29]
Kids' Choice Awards Mexico Favorite Cartoon We Bare Bears Nominated [30]
2018 Annie Awards Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production For Children "Episode: Panda's Art" Won
Annecy Festival Jury Award for a TV Series "Episode: Panda's Art" Won
Prix Jeunesse International Festival and Competition Best Fictional Show for 11- to 15-year-olds We Bare Bears Nominated [31]
70th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Short Form Animated Program "Hurricane Hal" Nominated
2019 Annie Awards Outstanding Achievement for Writing in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production "Hurricane Hal" Nominated

Book adaptations[edit]

Penguin Random House announced in 2014 that it would publish books based on various programs for Cartoon Network, including We Bare Bears. The books were produced out of the company's Cartoon Network Books imprint, a division of the Penguin Young Readers Group, and is based on a partnership with the network that started in 2013.[32] Books based on We Bare Bears are:

  • We Bare Bears: We Go Everywhere Handbook by Molly Reisner (2017)[33]
  • We Bare Bears Mad Libs by Hannah S. Campbell (2017)[34]
  • We Bare Bears Jumbo Coloring And Activity Book by Sofia Young (2020)[35]

Film adaptation[edit]

On May 30, 2019, Cartoon Network announced that We Bare Bears: The Movie would be released in mid-2020.[4] On May 21, 2020, the film was announced to be released digitally on June 30, 2020 and on Cartoon Network on September 7, 2020; it served as a conclusion to the narrative of the series.[2] The movie was directed by Daniel Chong and features the same main voice actors as the TV show. The plot follows the three bear brothers Grizzly, Panda, and Ice Bear having to flee a wildlife control agent by leaving the Bay Area and seeking refuge to Canada. Along the way, the Bears endure hardships while staying true to their promise of being "bros for life".

Covering the film for SF Weekly, Grace Li summarized the film as "sweet and fun" and a perfect summation for four seasons of adventures. Though expressing regret over the series' unresolved story lines, she complimented its zany sense of humor and its ultimate message, which to her was that "you can always choose your family".[36] Shamus Kelley of Den of Geek gave the film a five out-of five star rating and praised it as an excellent film; one that feels relevant without losing the fun that made the show a fan favorite. Commending the relationship of its main characters, whose fight against intolerance he said infuses every moment of the film with more power and relevance than any other story the show has done before.[37] Rollin Bishop of ComicBook.com awarded the film a four out of five-star rating. Though describing it as poorly paced, he praised its decision to include the heavy themes, which were exacerbated by current events.[38]

Prequel[edit]

A prequel series titled We Baby Bears was announced on May 30, 2019, which was slated to premiere on Cartoon Network in spring 2021 but has been delayed to January 2022.[39][40] The show will focus on the three bears when they were cubs. The series will be rendered in an anime-esque style and will feature the bears going on various adventures in their magic box. Manny Hernandez, who served as supervising director on the previous series, will serve as the showrunner while Daniel Chong will be involved as an executive producer.[41] A trailer was released on November 25, 2021.[42] The series stars Connor Andrade as Grizz, Amari McCoy as Panda and Max Mitchell as Ice Bear, and will premiere on January 1, 2022.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "CartoonNetworkPR on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved July 13, 2015.[non-primary source needed][self-published]
  2. ^ a b c Yu, Brandon (2020-05-21). "Bay Area creator of 'We Bare Bears' marks end of series with new movie". Datebook. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  3. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (2020-05-21). "Cartoon Network's 'We Bare Bears The Movie' Stacks Up for Digital Debut". Animation Magazine. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Hipes, Patrick (2019-05-30). "'We Bare Bears' Getting TV Movie Treatment, Potential Spinoff At Cartoon Network". Deadline. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Milligan, Mercedes (December 1, 2021). "Watch: 'We Baby Bears' Embark on a Magical Adventure January 1". Animation Magazine. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c "Annecy: Daniel Chong on Cartoon Network's Big New Play, 'We Bare Bears' (EXCLUSIVE)".
  7. ^ a b "Cartoon Network Unveils Upfront Slate For 2014–15". Deadline Hollywood. March 10, 2014. Archived from the original on December 5, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  8. ^ a b Johnson, Kevin (July 31, 2015). "We Bare Bears: "Everyday Bears"". TV Club. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  9. ^ Chong, Daniel. The Three Bare Bears (Online comic). Blogger. Archived from the original on June 4, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d de Souza, Alison de (2015-11-16). "Bears for adults and kids". The Straits Times. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  11. ^ a b Carande, Adrian. "Interview with Daniel Chong, creator of We Bare Bears — Animac". www.animac.cat. Animac Magazine. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  12. ^ "We Bare Bears – Interview with Daniel Chong, the Show Creator". Cartoon Network Australia. November 9, 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2017 – via YouTube.
  13. ^ "KLIK! Festival: Animated Shorts for Kids (9–12)". EYE Film Institute Netherlands. 2014. Archived from the original on August 6, 2017. Retrieved November 10, 2014 – via archive.today(subscription may be required or content may be available in libraries).
  14. ^ "KLIK! - We Bare Bears". Eye. 2015-09-25. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  15. ^ Cartoon Network Canada (July 27, 2015). "Don't miss the NEW series, WE BARE BEARS, premiering tonight at 7 pm et/pt!". Facebook.[self-published]
  16. ^ "We Bare Bears DVD news: Box Art for Volume 1: Viral Video". TVShowsOnDVD.com. July 28, 2016. Archived from the original on September 1, 2016. Retrieved August 27, 2016.
  17. ^ "WE BARE BEARS". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  18. ^ "We Bare Bears: Season 1". Madman Entertainment. June 9, 2017. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  19. ^ "We Bare Bears: Seasons 1–3". Madman Entertainment. February 14, 2019. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  20. ^ "KLIK! Festival: Cartoon Network: Next Generation". EYE Film Institute Netherlands. November 6, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2014 – via archive.today(subscription may be required or content may be available in libraries).
  21. ^ "We Bare Bears wint 'Young Amsterdam Audience Award 2014'" [We Bare Bears wins 'Young Amsterdam Audience Award 2014']. TV-Visie (in Dutch). Exsite. November 13, 2014. Archived from the original on December 4, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  22. ^ Ng, Yi Shu. "'We Bare Bears' is a kids' show tackling modern millennial anxieties". Mashable. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  23. ^ "We Bare Bears - TV Review". www.commonsensemedia.org. 2015-07-31. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  24. ^ Hyun, Jin (2019-01-18). "From Boba to K-Pop: Why 'We Bare Bears' is So Relatable to Asians". NextShark. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  25. ^ Kelley, Shamus (2017-08-25). "We Bare Bears Does Episodic Cartoons Right". Den of Geek. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  26. ^ Armitage, Helen (2019-08-30). "We Bare Bears Season 3 Finale Explained". ScreenRant. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  27. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (July 28, 2015). "Top 100 Monday Cable Originals (& Network Update): July 27, 2015". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on August 6, 2015. Retrieved August 15, 2015.
  28. ^ "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 5.27.2019 - Showbuzz Daily". www.showbuzzdaily.com. Archived from the original on May 29, 2019. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  29. ^ "We Bare Bears Wins Best International Animation Series For Kids at 24th International Trickfilm Festival Stuttgart – RegularCapital". May 11, 2017. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  30. ^ "We Bare Bears Nomination Finalist Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards Mexico 2017 – RegularCapital". August 6, 2017. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  31. ^ "Finalists". prixjeunesse.de. Archived from the original on January 3, 2019. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  32. ^ Cartoon Network Partners with Penguin Young Readers Group on New Book Imprint. Children's Book Council. September 22, 2014. Archived from the original on December 22, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  33. ^ Reisner, Molly (2017). We go every where handbook. New York, New York. ISBN 978-1-101-99614-0. OCLC 954224166.
  34. ^ Campbell, Hannah S. (2017). We bare bears mad libs. [Place of publication not identified]: Price Stern Sloan. ISBN 978-0-451-53303-6. OCLC 951070681.
  35. ^ Young, Sofia (18 August 2020). We Bare Bears Jumbo Coloring And Activity Book. ISBN 9798676451615.
  36. ^ Li, Grace Z. (2020-07-03). "'We Bare Bears' Says Goodbye". SF Weekly. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  37. ^ Kelley, Shamus (2020-06-30). "We Bare Bears The Movie Reminds Us Of The Series' True Message". Den of Geek. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  38. ^ Bishop, Rollin (June 29, 2020). "We Bare Bears: The Movie Review: Home Sweet Bears". Movies. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  39. ^ @Mannymator (May 30, 2021). "Sorry, the release is taking a bit longer than anticipated. But I 💯 % guarantee it'll be worth the wait!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  40. ^ https://worldscreenevents.com/festivals/keynote-warnermedias-tom-ascheim/
  41. ^ Mulligan, Mercedea (October 6, 2020). "Li'l Bros Return in Magical New CN Series 'We Baby Bears'". Animation Magazine. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  42. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3qoY533JrU

External links[edit]