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Case Number 01650

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Bear In The Big Blue House: Visiting The Doctor With Bear

Sony // 2001 // 75 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dezhda Mountz (Retired) // January 24th, 2002

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All Rise...

The Charge

Making doctors' visits a little more "Bear"-able…

Opening Statement

My boyfriend's nephew is a whirling dervish of activity; an exuberant, intelligent child, he has an amazing amount of energy. Turn on his favorite videos, however, and he's quiet as a mouse. Those programs are godsends for many parents, but they need to be educational and entertaining—a good view even for the parents, since kids tend to watch the same stuff over and over. The popular Disney Channel series "Bear in the Big Blue House" fits the bill. This DVD contains three episodes regarding doctor's visits and personal health. Bear's friends and housemates run into various snafus about their health: fear of doctor's visits, fear of pain, and running themselves ragged (those Muppets; for God's sake, when will they take a break?). Brian Henson, spawn of the Muppet-meister Jim, has brought Bear In The Big Blue House to the small screen since 1997; they appear on DVD in collections of three episodes apiece. How do they rate on DVD? Can parents enjoy these episodes nearly as much as the kids?

Facts of the Case

• Episode #1: "Picture of Health"
As Bear's friends play doctor, Bear explains health and what it entails: getting rest, eating the right foods, and exercise. The animals are adorable and the clarity with which Bear explains everything makes this a good choice for kids who may not want to go to bed when they're supposed to. Like Bear says, rest is good for you! (I wish he'd tell my boss that. It' be great to saunter into work at 10 AM…)

• Episode #2: "That Healing Feeling"
Tutter the mouse hurts his tail. No, it doesn't look broken, but the way he acts resembles any normal male with the common cold—lots of moaning and groaning like it's the end of the world. The cameras are close on Tutter, a very small puppet, and there's not a wire or hand-hole to be spotted—Jim Hansen's legacy of puppetry elegance is evident here.

Real-life kids are interviewed about visits to the doctor—check ups, stitches, and the like. Bear gets Tutter to quit harping about his tail and calmly shows how being hurt really isn't the end of the world—pain is temporary. In fact, I'm planning to watch this episode before my next visit to the dentist. Seriously!

• Episode #3: "The Big Blue Housecall"
Apparently, Bear has a great HMO 'cause they get Ol' Doc Hog to make a house call and check everyone out. This allows Bear to show his audience the specifics beyond every visit, and clearly explains further that seeing the doctor isn't scary—it's a necessity, and rarely a painful experience. Like other episodes, key words are spelled clearly on the screen. An awareness of reading comprehension and basic visual understanding make Bear in the Big Blue House: Visiting the Doctor with Bear great learning tools.

That doesn't explain why my doctor doesn't give me a lollypop at the end of every visit.

The Evidence

All episodes feature crisp, sharp colors, typical of live-to-tape productions. The DVD has very little to no edge enhancement. The picture isn't widescreen, but I don't think the kids that would gripe about that would be watching Bear in the Big Blue House anyways.

The Dolby Stereo is in English only, and is as clear and crisp as the picture, which is important since the DVD has interactive sing-alongs featured apart of the episodes in which they appear. Speaking of special features, other than the sing-alongs, there really aren't any. Again, I don't think little Bobby is praying for incisive director's commentary on these discs. Also included are English and Spanish subtitles.

Overall, the episodes are reassuring, full of various facets of entertainment—comedy, real-life interviews, sing-alongs—and bearable for parents, too.

Closing Statement

Bear in the Big Blue House is sweet, playful, and endearing—and definitely enough to shut up little Timmy for some good-old-fashioned educational viewing. I even enjoyed it. Why, when I stubbed my toe the other day, I thought of little Tutter's tail and I…well, never mind.

The Verdict

Quality children's entertainment, decent transfer to DVD. Free to go!

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Scales of Justice

Video: 88
Audio: 90
Extras: 80
Acting: 90
Story: 90
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile

Studio: Sony
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English
Running Time: 75 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• All Ages

Distinguishing Marks

• Interactive Sing-a-Longs


• IMDb

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