This 1980s cartoon is the first TV show in the Care Bears franchise. The title in the opening sequence is either Care Bears or The Care Bears Family; some sources list this show as The Care Bears. The VHS and DVD releases after 2002 use Care Bears on the box/case.The show began with two TV specials, "The Care Bears in the Land Without Feelings" (1983) and "The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine" (1984). There are four regular seasons, from 1985 to 1988. During the 1990s, the Disney Channel (in the USA) sometimes aired reruns of Care Bears alongside Gummi Bears. The Nelvana episodes aired in Canada on the Global Television Network. After the toy relaunch in 2002, some plush bears included VHS (and later DVD) episodes from this show.This show introduces Care-a-lot, the cloud-and-rainbows home of the Care Bears, where they can watch Earth for children who need help caring. This show also introduces the Care Bear Stare. The TV specials and the first season, by DIC Entertainment, feature Professor Coldheart, the Mad Scientist who wants to freeze everyone's feelings. The later seasons, by Nelvana, have No Heart, an Evil Sorcerer who intends to destroy Care-a-lot and rid the world of caring. No Heart's allies are his niece Shreeky, and their underling Beastly. Whatever the villains do, The Good Guys Always Win.The show is not Strictly Formula, but there are a few recurring episode formats:
A child needs the bears' help. The Caring Meter goes down and alerts the bears in Care-a-lot. Bears in cloud cars go down to assist the child. If Coldheart or No Heart intervenes, the bears foil the villain.
No Heart discovers an opportunity to capture some bears or wreck Care-a-lot. Beastly (who must do all the work) goes to Care-a-lot to do some evil, but he ultimately fails. If he captures any bears, their friends arrive at No Heart's castle and rescue them.
Hugs and Tugs, the two Care Bear Cubs, have some problem. Grams decides to tell a story to the cubs. The setting is strange, but the characters are familiar: some Care Bears and Care Bear Cousins appear in the story, and Shreeky and Beastly often play the villains. Hugs and Tugs apply the story's moral to fix their problem.
24 Hour Party People: In "Care Bear Town Parade", everyone is in the parade, so who is in the audience? The parade-watchers are extra bears who exist only in this one episode. They all look like clones of Tenderheart in different colors, though this is not obvious unless one pauses the video.
An Aesop: Many episodes deliver a moral at the end. See the list of morals on the trope page.
Animesque: The DIC series. Like many other DIC shows, it was a co-production with Japanese animators, and several characters and scenes heavily show this (there is even an episode where a character is shown wearing a Sailor Fuku, and parts where they showed newspapers with scribbles that seem to indicate it being written like Japanese newspapers). The biggest indicator, however, is the sound effects, which are pure anime.
Anthropomorphic Shift: In a few of the DIC episodes the bears can occasionally be seen walking around on all fours.
Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: In one episode, No Heart banishes Beastly, and Shreeky finds that she misses him. Then again, the episode gave no reason to believe it was just because Shreeky didn't like doing Beastly's chores.
Bad is Good and Good is Bad: This often confuses Beastly, who says that something is good, then corrects himself and says it was bad. Here's an example from "Grumpy's Three Wishes":
Beastly: Your sinister shadows are making people everywhere stop caring! They're doing a real good job!
No Heart: What?
Beastly: Well, I don't mean a good job, uh, because, because bad means good to us. I mean, bad is badder! I mean, I don't know what I mean!
In "Grumpy's Three Wishes", his third wish is an accident. Grumpy's offhand comment causes him to lose the superpowers he gained using his second wish.
Also averted. He uses his first wish to make a bully "go away." The bully just floats away. On a show farther along the cynicism side of the scale, the bully might have been wished out of existence.
Be Yourself: This is the moral of "The Best Way to Make Friends". Treat Heart is recording a video about the best way to make friends. Champ Bear says the best way to make friends is to show how strong you are. Cheer Bear says it is to show how pretty you are. Bright Heart says it is to show how smart you are. Treat Heart laughs at them, but they were being serious. They leave, but they come back and ask Treat Heart to continue being funny. The four characters find the moral: the best way to make friends is to Be Yourself.
A Day in the Limelight: There are so many bears, they often get left out of episodes, but sometimes one gets a special episode.
Bedtime Bear is often just a Running Gag who's always asleep. In "Bedtime for Care-a-lot", the villains dump sleeping dust on all the bears, except Bedtime Bear, who was already taking a nap. So it's up to Bedtime Bear to save everyone.
Birthday Bear tends to be a forgotten background character, because no one is having a birthday. In "Birthday Bear's Blues", someone does have a birthday, so Birthday Bear takes the limelight.
Demoted to Extra: Several bears in the Dic cartoon have relatively minor roles in the Nelvana series. Characters like Wish Bear, Bedtime Bear, or Birthday Bear generally get one major centric-episode and maybe a minor supporting role in another one if they're lucky compared to regulars like Tenderheart Bear, Grumpy Bear, Cheer Bear, Champ Bear, Braveheart Lion, or Brightheart Raccoon.
Beastly: A-ha! We could grab those camels and make a getaway!
Shreeky: I've got a better idea! Let's grab those camels and make a getaway!
Beastly: Oh, why didn't I think of that?
Go-Karting with Bowser: Shreeky and Beastly attend Songfellow Strum's concert with the rest of the bears. Nope, they aren't there to cause trouble, they're just there to enjoy the concert like everyone else.
Good Feels Good: Initially played straight with Beastly's Heel-Face Turn, then subverted. He runs back to Shreeky at the end of the episode because he can't stand the taste of diabetes being a Care Bear brings.
Informed Flaw: Cheer Bear in the Nelvana series referred to as "fat" sometimes, in spite of being the same size as everyone else.
Instant Sedation: "Bedtime for Care-a-lot" uses magic dust to put the Care Bears to sleep. No Heart makes the sleeping dust, and Beastly and Shreeky sprinkle it onto bears in Care-a-lot. They miss Bedtime Bear, who was just taking a nap. So it's up to Bedtime Bear to find a way to wake the other bears.
Just So Story: "The Cloud Worm" explains why the weather is not always cloudy. The Cloud Worm eats clouds, so the sun can find places to shine through.
In "Grumpy's Three Wishes", Grumpy gets an eight-leaf clover that can grant him three wishes.
In "Caring for Spring", Jack and Jill (Tugs and Hugs) receive a magic ring that can grant three wishes.
Make Me Wanna Shout: In the TV series, Shreeky's, well, shrieks, can be heard from a mile away and injure people. In one instance, a Care Bear slid down a stair rail while recording Shreeky's shriek. The force of her shriek caused the bear to slide backwards, up the rail.
Pseudolympics: One episode involves the Care-A-Lot Games, consisting of such events as the piggyback race, limbo, the egg spoon race, and paddle ball. Much hilarity ensues when Mr. Beastly tries to cheat at every single event he participates in (his screwup with the paddle ball stops just short of destroying the entire stadium).
In "Caring for Spring", Beastly uses a Paper-Thin Disguise to lure Hugs and Tugs to the wrong side of a bridge. They cross, and Beastly starts cutting the rope. They cross just before the bridge collapses, but now they are stuck on the wrong side.
In "The Fountain of Youth", the characters want to cross a bridge. Chief Brave Heart wants to proceed with caution, but Champ Bear rushes forward and falls through a loose plank. Brave Heart rescues Champ. Also, Beastly and Shreeky want to cut the rope but don't do so in time.