For anyone who steadfastly refutes the notion that being an adult means giving up on everything you loved as a kid, the current trend of adult animation is nothing short of Must-See TV. From shows like "South Park" to "The Simpsons" to "Rick and Morty," animated shows have become the go-to medium for not just a light-hearted viewing experience, but also pretty on-point cultural commentary.
A new entry into this genre is "We Bare Bears," which quietly ended its second season on Cartoon Network recently. At first blush, it looks like pretty standard cartoon fare about three lovable bears living in the big city trying to do all the things that humans do. The color palette is muted and soft, the music cheerfully minimal, and the overall design a sort of hybrid of an old-school PBS cartoon and Anime.
But look a little closer and you’ll begin to realize there’s a lot going on in each 12-minute episode. With its origin as a web comic and hailing from the network minds that gave us such sweetly bizarre shows as "Adventure Time," "Regular Show," and "The Amazing World of Gumball", "We Bare Bears" has many of CN’s quirky traits, and fits nicely into their lineup of shows that make adulting just a little more bear-able (Sorry. We had to!).
Here are three reasons why you need to give it a watch. Readers be warned: it’s extremely bingeable.
The Bears. Obviously.
Grizz, Panda, and Ice Bear are three different types of bears who call each other brothers. But as each 12-min episode passes by, it’s easy to see them as foils for the basic instincts in all of us: Grizz, the ringleader, is a boundless source of naive confidence looking for friendship; Panda, the lovable one, just wants to find that perfect someone (preferably via the internet); and Ice Bear just wants to be left alone in his ice box for a minute!
They each have their own motivations in life, but they also know that things are easier done together. A pretty apt lesson for anyone these days.
Also, that bear stack!
The Friendly Spoof on Hipster Culture
It’s common TV convention these days to call out ridiculous pop culture trends using overt sarcasm, but "We Bare Bears" takes such a sweet, simple high road that you can’t help but let out an “Awwwwww” at every friendly jab to current events.
In the episode “Tote Life,” after getting shamed into buying a reusable bag at an organic grocery store, the bears slide into a tote buying frenzy so as to be included in a secret society built up around it. In “Food Truck,” the bears stumble upon a food truck fair and, after having a disappointing experience, decide to start their own, accidentally turning their wildlife brethren into organic hamburger eating monsters.
And throughout the series, the bears chase the noblest of modern human pursuits - becoming internet famous and creating their own meme. THEY ARE ALL OF US.
Panda (a.k.a Bobby Moynihan)
The comedian who quietly became one of the funniest guys in the current SNL cast voices Panda. Moynahan brings such a soft-spoken and introverted lovableness to a species already known worldwide for being soft spoken and lovable that it’s hard to think he ever voiced such characters as Drunk Uncle. The episode “Panda’s Sneeze” even plays on the stereotype that panda bears have an adorable sneeze (thanks again, internet.)
Panda may be our favorite of the three bears. Shhhhhhh…..
This post also appears on the Hulu blog. Check it out for more posts on your favorite TV shows and movies.