Potty Time With Bear
Party Time With Bear
Shapes, Sounds, Colors with Bear
Created by Michael Kriegman
Starring Noel McNeal, Peter Linz, Vicki Eibner, James J. Kroupa, Tyler Bunch, Geoffrey Holder, Lynne Thigpen, and Tara Mooney
Released by: Walt Disney Video.
Rating: NR (suitable for all audiences)
Anamorphic: N/A; episodes appear in their original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Own them if you have kids
Bear (McNeal) lives in his big blue house with his friends Tutter (Linz), Treelo (Bunch), Otto (Kroupa), Ojo (Eibner), Pip (Linz), and Pop (Bunch). They are visited by several people throughout their days at the big blue house. Sometimes Ray (Holder), the sun, Luna (Thigpen), and Shadow (Mooney) stop by for a little visit. In the process, they learn all kinds of new and interesting things.
[ad#longpost]I’ve said it before, and I stand by it now: This is one of the best children’s shows to come down the pipe in a long time and it stands as one of the only good things that Brian Henson has done with his late father’s company. The puppetry is outstanding and the characters are well conceived and developed. Not only that, but they are directed in such a way to hold a child’s interest.
Every episode follows a loose format. It starts out with Bear welcoming you into the house for the day and remarking that you smell like something sweet. Then, he sings a song. He lets you know what is going on in the house that day and we meet some of the other characters and discover whatever their problem is for the day. Throughout the episode, the characters will song short little songs that shed some light on the topic for that episode. About halfway through the episode, Bear is visited by Shadow who puts on a mini-puppet show on the wall of the house. Then the problem that the characters have is resolved and then Bear visits Luna from the balcony in the attic of the house and tells her all about what happened in the house that day. After he tells her the story, they sing the Goodbye Song and the episode ends. The format is strong and it has proven to work over and over again.
The only special features there are on these discs are the sing-alongs. These are menu links directly to selected songs from each episode complete with subtitles turned on to help you karaoke to your heart’s content. There are plenty of opportunities for other features, but they are just ignored. For example, with only a little bit of effort, they could have put together some interactive games for the kids to play either from the DVD player or on the PC. There could also be some DVD-ROM links to a website that could have some other games for the kids to play and help them learn the lessons that are presented on each disc. Unfortunately, we get none of that.
The other feature that they have removed from these discs is the repeat play feature. I have always stated that this is the criterion by which all children’s DVDs should be judged. The difference between a good children’s DVD and a great children’s DVD is this feature. Well, these DVDs have taken the step back from great to good and, frankly, I’m a little disappointed.