"Boy, you smell good!"
I don't much care for kids; they're loud, rude, and usually obnoxious. It's safe to say that if I have a parental bone in my body, I haven't found it. Can you tell I don't have any kids? Can you tell I don't want to have any kids? So, before I watched this little disc, I lent it to a friend so I could get his two-year old son's opinion on the disc. His thoughts? "He liked it."
With intense dread, I popped the disc in and prepared myself for Armageddon. Would my ears start bleeding? Would my eyes explode out of their sockets? Fortunately, neither happened. It wasn't as hideous as Barney or Teletubbies, yet it wasn't as much fun as Sesame Street. I survived the incident, and I'm here to share my harrowing experience with you.
Facts of the Case
Currently, four Bear DVDs have been released, and Judge Mancini has previously reviewed Tidy Time with Bear!. Check out his review for his opinion on the series.
Everybody's Special! contains three episodes from the Bear series. There is a connecting theme amongst the episodes, which in this case is, obviously, cherish everyone's uniqueness, for everyone is special. The three episodes are:
"As Different as Night and Day": Bear and his friends realize that the big blue house is full of opposites: night and day, on and off, up and down, and so on. With all the opposites in the house, Bear and his friends come to realize that it's all those opposites that make the world and everyone a fun and exciting place.
"Bats Are People Too": A surprise visitor at the otter pond frightens all of Bear's friends. Bear investigates and finds Benny the Bat. Everyone dislikes Benny because he is so different, but Bear teaches everyone that being different is fun. We should be open to the differences because the world would be boring if everyone was the same. Soon, Benny is everyone's friend and teaches the house the "bat dance" (which is clearly not as cool as the Batusi).
"The Yard Sale": A flood has struck the neighborhood and the muskrats need help. Doc Hogg is collecting money for a relief fund, but there's no money in the house. Thus, because everyone wants to help, a yard sale is put on and lots of money is raised to help the muskrats. With everyone working together, the true meaning of giving and charity is learned.
Being kiddie fare, I was bored out of my mind; however, I can take a step back and see that this is a decent show for kids. I'm not sure what the appropriate age range is for the show. Initially, I thought ages two through six would be a good target, but kids obviously older than that are briefly interviewed in one of the segments. But, really, what do I know? Parents will know best.
What I do appreciate with the disc, and probably would with the series as a whole, is the underlying message in each show. They take very important issues and make them easy for children to understand. They don't pound the issue, but make it simple and relevant to children. The few episodes I watched tackled important issues of differences among people and taught them everyone is unique and important.
Not being an authority of children's television, I'm not sure how Bear ranks in the grand scheme. Who's better? Barney? Big Bird? Bear? I'm sure each has their own respective strengths, and each teaches children important lessons in life. I would say that Bear is easy viewing with quality messages that parents can enjoy watching with their children.
Overall, the transfer to DVD is adequate and kids will have no qualms. The picture is sharp and clear with rich and bright colors. It's a bit soft, but this is just a kiddie show. The audio is occasionally a bit thin and hollow, but, again, kids won't know the difference. It serves the episodes well.
There are some extra features that will strongly appeal to children: four sing-along songs from the episodes and a continuous "play-all" feature for hours of enjoyment. In addition, there are some trailers for other children's movies included to entice parents to buy them too for their kids.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
There's just way too much singing and happy, fuzzy animals in this show. It's all just too cute. And, I really don't feel comfortable with some big, strange bear trying to sniff me.
As much as I did not enjoy watching the disc, I truly realize that I am not the intended audience. Kids would do well to watch the series, with its important messages and easy-to-relate to characters. Knowing that kids are as fickle as adults, I don't know how long Bear will interest them. But, as long as they are engrossed, give them the Bear in the Big Blue House. Buy the disc. Kids will watch it twenty million times and enjoy every minute of it.
I love you; you love me…oops, wrong show. The Bear is free to go on his own recognizance, but will be remanded if he starts to sing any silly love songs. Case adjourned.
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Scales of Justice
• Continuous "Play-All"
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