The Care Bears

The Care Bears
Syndicated - Premiered September 1985

Care Bears Adults who were children in the 1980's vividly remember the Care Bears - often with a sigh of wistfulness, but usually with an annoyed groan.

The Care Bears are/were basically a group of ultra-cute characters used for marketing purposes. They were originally created in 1981 by American Greetings to be used on that company's lines of greeting cards. The line proved successful enough that two years latter Mattel licensed the characters to be used as plush toys (they were, after all, bears) and the mania began. Soon there was a Saturday morning cartoon and even - heavens! - an animated feature film. The insufferably lovable critters are still a going concern for all corporations involved.

What made the Care Bears so unbearable was... well, there were several things. Each of the Bears was a different color, and sported a different sort of logo (a comet, a lightning bolt) on his/her/its belly. Which is fine, but the bears are so obviously (a) concocted by a committee to maximize the generic, non-offensive aspects, and (b) so saccharine-sweet that they do not even resemble any semblance of reality. Children's characters, whether originating on television or as toys, have always been friendly, safe, lovable, etc., but the 1980's characters such as the Care Bears, My Little Pony, Monchichis, ShirtTales, ad nauseum, take the concept to absolutely new lows of pandering and ridiculousness. Every tiny detail had to drip with sweetness and politically-correct huggability: the creatures were given such names as Tenderheart Bear and Love-A-Lot Bear, and hailed from places such as the Kingdom of Caring and the Forest of Feelings. What is this, toys or therapy?

In any case, this 1985 series lasted for one season, with a more successful run beginning in 1988 as well as a spinoff, The Care Bears Family.

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