The Bear Family
First appearance: The Big Honey Hunt
- Big Eater: He is very fond of eating.
- Bumbling Dad: Sometimes, but he has been shown to be the voice of reason just as frequently.
- Butt-Monkey: If a laugh happens at someone else's expense in the franchise, it'll usually be Papa Bear's (in the 2003 episode, "Visit Fun Park", Papa gets stuck riding the Thunderbolt when the cubs bail out).
- Characterization Marches On: In earlier books, Papa Bear was more of a blowhard and an Idiot Hero. In later books, Papa became more of a genuinely wise, if flawed, patriarch.
- Good Parents: Despite his flaws (he has a tendency to boast and can be a greedy eater), he is a loving, wise and respected father nonetheless. Papa's good dad traits are especially emphasized in the 2003 series.
- Handy Man: Papa's profession is woodcarving and he sometimes does repairs around the treehouse.
- Happily Married: To Mama.
- Hot-Blooded: Papa can be stubborn and hotblooded, particularly in the books.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's egotistic and a bit naughty at times, but he is a very good, affectionate father. The 2003 series downplays the "jerk" part and makes him a straight-up Nice Guy most of the time.
- Manchild: Papa shows shades of this; depending on the story, he's just as susceptible to frivolous addictions as his children, and hard-headed to the point of suicide.
- Nice Hat: Papa Bear's signature brown hat
- Small Name, Big Ego: Of the more well-meaning variety.
First appearance: The Big Honey Hunt
- Deadpan Snarker: Sometimes to Papa Bear's silly behavior.
- Good Parents: She is a kind and loving mother to her cubs.
- Happily Married: To Papa.
- Housewife: Until "Mama's New Job", when she opened up her own quilt-making business.
- Only Sane Man: Quite often.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Mama is normally the level-headed one in the family, which becomes shocking in "Too Much Pressure" when she breaks down in tears due to being overwhelmed with taking Brother and Sister to their activities and the car breaking down.
- Parents as People: Papa and Mama Bear are not without their flaws. Papa can be oafish and Mama can be somewhat righteous. And both of them have been shown to lose their temper at times (e.g. Papa in "Trouble with Money" or Mama in "The Messy Room"). Also, "The Trouble with Grownups" is a virtual lampshading of part of this trope, although it examines the parent-child relationship from both sides of the fence.
- Static Character: Mama has far less flaws than her husband or her cubs, and thus is the family member who develops the least in the franchise.
- Women Are Wiser: She is often much more levelheaded than her husband and the wisest member of the family.
Small Bear / Brother Bear
The firstborn cub in the family. Originally named Small Bear in the earliest books, his name changed following Sister's birth.First appearance: The Big Honey Hunt
- Big Brother Instinct: He stood up to Too-Tall when the latter took Sister's jump rope. This behavior continues throughout the rest of the various books and eventually extends to anyone being bullied.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: His poor grades in "Trouble In School" and "The Homework Hassle" was really due to him slacking off and procrastinating since he's shown many times that he's much smarter than his work showed.
- Compressed Vice: And how!
- Cool Big Bro: Brother becomes this to Sister in "The Birthday Boy".
- The Everyman: He does not have a whole lot of traits other than being just the main character.
- Fatal Flaw: Several books and TV episodes are dedicated to Brother's laziness.
- The Hero / The Leader: In the Scout books mostly though he will occasionally play this role in the main books and the chapter books.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Fred.
- Kid Detective: Brother and Sister dabble in mystery-solving during the big chapter books.
- Laser-Guided Karma: In the 2003 series, whenever Brother starts to become too self-involved his friend Lenny has a habit of (unintentionally) giving him his just deserts ("Hug And Make Up", "Catch The Bus").
- Lovable Jock: Brother is proficient in multiple sports (soccer, basketball, baseball, football) and is one of the friendliest cubs in Bear County.
- Platonic Life Partners: With Sister.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The introverted Blue Oni to his outgoing sister's Red Oni.
- Real Men Wear Pink: In "The Berenstain Bears Gotta Dance!", Brother ends up taking ballet. He uses what he learned from it to his advantage to dump Too-Tall Grizzly into a dumpster.
- Would Not Hit a Girl: He was perfectly willing to beat up Tuffy for hurting Sister until he saw that Tuffy was female. He left without a fight because he knew that if he hit her HE'D be the bully.
First appearance: New Baby
- All Girls Like Ponies: She wishes for her own horse in the episode "The Wishing Star".
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Sometimes to Brother.
- Compressed Vice: Much like her brother, each book has them have this in order to go through An Aesop.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Sister becomes deeply jealous of her brother and dreams up an actual green-eyed monster in an episode of the 2003 series. Freakiness briefly ensues.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Lizzie.
- Kid Detective: Brother, Sister, Cousin Fred and later Lizzie Bruin form the Bear Detectives, solving mysteries from a missing pumpkin to empty jars of honey.
- Deconstructed at the end of The Drug Free Zone. The Bear Detectives expose drug dealing in Bear Country; while the police thank them for their help, they also berate the cubs for getting involved. The cubs get warned that messing with drug dealers can be dangerous and is not like finding a missing pumpkin.
- The Lancer: Most frequently in the Scout books though she sometimes does play this role in the main books and the chapter books.
- Platonic Life Partners: With Brother.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red Oni to Brother's Blue Oni.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Sister once got a swelled head when her classmates declared her the best jump-roper in Bear county ("The Jump Rope Contest"). It lasted a day before her friend Lizzie deflated it.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Sister wears a bow and loves wearing pink.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Hilary snidely asks Sister this in the PBS Kids version of "The In-Crowd". Sister has no response except an angry huff and an indignant pout.
Honey BearFirst appearance: And Baby Makes Five
- Baby Talk: Displays this with such traits as pronouncing "Amen" as "Men" and referring to parakeets as "keets". Beyond that, her main Baby Talk trait is that she displays short simple sentences and ideas.
- Cousin Oliver: A recent addition who's brought mixed responses from the fanbase and doesn't usually serve a purpose other than being cute.
- The Cutie: Quite an adorable cub.
LadyThe family's seldom-seen pet dog. First appearance: The Trouble with Pets
- Team Pet: Has played this role off and on.
Gramps and GranFirst appearance: The SitterTropes:
- Cool Old Guy: Gramps is a good-natured elder.
- Cool Old Lady: Gran is a sweet grandmother.
- Embarrassing First Name: Not really embarrassing, but in one of the Scouts books, Gramps' real name is revealed to be Ernest.
- Only Sane Man: Gramps showed this in the Scouts books. He would often be the only adult bear to see through Ralph's scams.
FreddyBrother and Sister's cousin.
Lizzy BruinSister's best friend. First appearance: The Trouble with Friends
- Friend to All Living Things: Her defining trait in the Scout books.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Sister Bear, naturally.
- Spell My Name with an "S": In a few books, her name is spelled as Lizzie.
- Alpha Bitch: But she's a very mild example.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Queenie is this to Ferdy Factual in "The Nerdy Nephew".
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Undergoes this in her first appearance, The In-Crowd, in which she is initially portrayed as a stereotypically snobby Alpha Bitch before learning to become more humble and accepting of others. She is portrayed as a much nicer character in most works since to the degree that her role was replaced with a newcomer named Hilary in the television adaptation of The In-Crowd.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Frequently.
The local bully at Bear Country Elementary. Sometimes cons Brother into helping him with his pranks.
- The Big Guy: He is much bigger than his peers- hence the name.
- Bruiser with a Soft Center: Too-Tall has moments of this, such as fawning over a kitten.
- The Bully: Too-Tall Grizzly is the thuggish leader of a gang of bullies - aptly called the Too-Tall Gang - who harass Brother and Sister Bear from time to time. During the Darker and Edgier chapter books, Too-Tall progressed from being very mean to his classmates to dealing drugs (at ten!) and bringing realistic fake guns to school to start trouble.
- Character Development: In the 2003 series, Too-Tall is initially introduced as a thuggish, tough bully and troublemaker who's jealous of Brother Bear ("Go To School", "Double Dare", "The Birthday Boy", "The Slumber Party", "Trick or Treat", "Mighty Milton", "The Big Red Kite"), but Brother and Too-Tall do gain respect for each other over time. Too-Tall gradually matures, becoming a less abrasive cub and settling into the role of the protagonists' frenemy and eventual friend in the second half of the series ("The Talent Show", "Showdown at Birder's Wood", "White Water Adventure", "Big Road Race", "Papa's Pizza", "The Female Fullback", "Say Please And Thank You", "Fly It"), likely because of Brother's influence softening him.
- Part of Too-Tall's development is learning when to swallow his wounded pride. Despite being the neighborhood tough kid, Too-Tall does care what his peers think of him ("Mighty Milton", "White Water Adventure"), so it's not a fun or easy thing for him to do. By "Big Road Race" and "The Female Fullback", he's gotten better at humility.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Too-Tall becomes friends with Harry McGill, a Handicapped Badass he was taunting, after the latter beat him in wheelchair basketball. Harry also thanks him for giving him a cool nickname, "Wheels."
- Too-Tall similarly lays off Milton in the 2003 series, after the cub he'd been picking on for days beats him at wrestling.
- Hidden Depths:
- In the 2003 series, he has a surprising talent for singing.
- In the chapter books, starting in "The Wheelchair Commando", he's got a talent for chess and is thrilled when he finds out Harry plays the game since none of his goons are capable of playing chess at all let alone giving him a challenge.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite being an intimidating bully, Too-Tall has his standards and a hidden soft side that's emphasized more in some iterations of the franchise than others.
- In one of the chapter books, he's annoyed with a rich new kid who Queenie has her eye on but is willing to ignore it. Then the kid blocks the handicapped entrance to make a phone call long enough to make Harry nearly late for school and suddenly Too-Tall is pissed.
- Nice Hat: His old-school purple cap that he wears in most incarnations.
- No Indoor Voice: In the 1985 series.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Appears to be this in the 2003 series, where he's shown to be more well-behaved when he's not hanging out with his gang ("The Talent Show", "White Water Adventure", "Big Road Race", and "The Female Fullback").
- Took a Level in Kindness: In the 2003 series, his bullying is mostly taunting, thievery and mean remarks, but there's only one threat he made to beat Brother up, which wasn't blatantly obvious. He mellows out as the series progresses and surprisingly becomes friends with Brother. He also develops a soft spot for Kenny, a younger neighborhood cub.
SkuzzToo-Tall's intimidating right-hand cub
- Number Two
- Took a Level in Kindness: In the 2003 series, he has more of a cowardly nature, though he still has some of his aggressive nature.
- Voice Of Reason: He doesn't like Queenie due to her fickle nature, and is the only one in the gang shown to know how fickle she is. Skuzz has even claimed he doesn't like her in "The Berenstain Bears and Queenie's Crazy Crush."
SmirkA member of Too-Tall's gang with a smirk often on his face.
- Flat Character: His character in the book isn't really developed much, other than being not as smart as Too-Tall and Skuzz, and being smarter than Vinnie.
- Stupid Evil: In the 2003 series, he believed Too-Tall knew everything without a second thought.
- Took a Level in Kindness: In the 2003 series, he is the least aggressive of the Too-Tall gang, and has more or less a sweet nature.
VinnieThe least intelligent member of Too-Tall's gang with a sharp nose.
- Demoted to Extra: He makes occasional appearances in the 2003 series and never talks.
- Stupid Evil: In the books.
- Tomboy with a Girly Streak: She's a talented athlete who participates in basketball, track... and ballet, while wearing a yellow and pink dress and pink hair ribbons.
Other Beartown Citizens
Mayor Horace J. Honeypot
- Porky Pig Pronunciation: He tends to get the fronts and backs of his words mixed up. (Example: "What beems to see the bubble - er, seems to be the trouble?") Averted in the main books and the 2003 series, where he speaks normally.
Professor Actual Factual
- Absent-Minded Professor/Ditzy Genius: Occasionally
- Gentleman and a Scholar: He's been described as one of the kindest, most generous citizens of Bear Country.
- Papa Wolf: Mild example towards his nephew and also towards Brother, Sister, Freddy and Lizzie in the Scouts books.
- The Smart Guy: To the whole town.
Farmer BenThe local farmer.
- Properly Paranoid: Is described as a "suspicious old coot who will count his fingers after shaking hands with you" by Ralph Ripoff.
Raffish Ralph / Ralph RipoffA con artist who is Beartown's leading crook and swindler. Papa is his favorite sucker since he always falls for his scams. First appearances: "The Terrible Termite" (TV series), The Prize Pumpkin (books).
- Canon Foreigner: Originally appeared in the TV series and then made a cameo appearance in The Prize Pumpkin. Later became a recurring antagonist of the Bear Scouts chapter books.
- Con Artist: His primary hobby.
- Disney Death: In one Bear Scouts book, two cons attempt to murder him when he catches on to their scheme by tying him up and dumping him in a lake. He survives by escaping from the ropes, thanks to his old days as a magician and escape artist.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- In one episode of the cartoon, "Hot Air Election", he actually refused to assist McGreed in his scheme for that episode, mainly because it involved seriously hurting if not outright killing the Bear family.
- And in one Bear Scouts book, he was infuriated when two other cons managed to get away with all but a few dollars of the funds that were planned to be used to build a new hospital wing. May also double as Hypocritical Humor, though even he has never gone that far.
- Don't forget the Bear Scouts book that dealt with drug pushers. He was irate when he found the drugs hidden in his houseboat and very frankly informs the cubs that he'd never sell or do anything that would legitimately endanger them.
- Honest John's Dealership: He swindles people, particularly Papa.
- I Have Many Names: Possible reason for his name being different in the Scouts books.
- Villain with Good Publicity: In both the 1985 series and the Bear Scouts books, much to the cubs' chagrin.
BigpawA giant bear who lives in a mountain cave outside of Beartown.
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: As his name suggests, he is the series' Fictional Counterpart of Bigfoot. His first appearance even has him leaving behind a paw print, alluding to Bigfoot's trademark footprints.
- Characterization Marches On: In his first appearance in "Berenstain Bears Meet Bigpaw", Bigpaw speaks rather normally. In the sequel 80's TV series, he speaks in a Third-Person Person and You No Take Candle manner (though he does speak in first person sometimes).
- Gentle Giant: Ultimately proves to be this.
- Papa Wolf: Does not like it when the kids are endangered, especially Lizzie and Sister.
Weasel McGreedThe leader of an underground pack of weasels who schemes to - you guessed it - take over Bear Country.
- Bad Boss: To the weasel pack.
- Big Bad: Of the 1985 cartoon and the Scouts chapter books.
- Canon Foreigner: Was first featured in the animated series and was then incorporated into the Scouts chapter books.
- Evil Overlord: Of Weaselworld.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Can and will start ranting and raving at the slightest provocation and hands out demotions left and right.
- Informed Species: He and his pack don't really resemble weasels, having doglike faces and long catlike tails.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Weasel McGreed.
- Take Over Bear Country: "Lock, stock, and honeypot!"
- Wicked Weasel: He wants to take over Bear Country, and is a weasel.