Western Animation / Care Bears (1980s)
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.
The four movies of this era have their own pages:
For the character sheet, see Care Bears
The 1980s cartoon contains examples of:
- 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.
- Agony Beam: The Care-Bear Stare functions like one to the Heartless and others who cannot comprehend good.
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Italian version had a different opening theme.
- Ambiguously Human: Shreeky looks human, but is directly related to No Heart.
- 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!
- Be Careful What You Wish For:
- 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.
- Also in one of Grams Bear's stories, dealt with an elderly Braveheart and youthful champbear looking for the fountain of youth. In which Shreeky and Beastly try to get there first. Shreeky gets there first and impulsively drinks from the fountain, turning into a baby.
- 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.
- Brave Heart Lion: "You can say that again!" and "CHARRRRRRRGE!"
- Grumpy Bear: "Why do these things always happen to me?"
- Lotsa Heart Elephant: "... and that's the truth!"
- Beastly: "I'm soooooooooooo BAD!"
- Chariot Race: Hugs and Tugs are told a story about a chariot race. Shreeky and Beastly versus Champ Bear.
- Cheerful Child: Hugs and Tugs Bear, the cubs.
- Christmas Episode: A movie, Care Bears Nutcracker Suite.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The Cloud Keeper, Professor Coldheart and Frostbite. This is due to DiC losing the rights to the TV series and Nelvana not being able to own DiC's original characters.
- Daddy's Little Villain: Shreeky, No Heart's niece.
- 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.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: Professor Coldheart.
- Evil Sorcerer: No Heart
- Fangirl: Shreeky to Songfellow Strum. She attempts to get on stage and kiss him several times.
- Forgotten Phlebotinum: Wish Bear has near god-like powers, but only really used them once ("The Land Without Feelings").
- Fountain of Youth: Appears in and provides the name of one episode. Shreeky actually manages to find and drink from it, but because she's a little girl to begin with, she turns into a baby.
- Glad I Thought of It: Shreeky does this to Beastly as a Running Gag. Here's an example from "The Most Ancient Gift":
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: In "Music Video" Shreeky and Beastly go to a Songfellow Strum concert that's also attended by the Care Bears, even taking the bus with some of them. Aside from Beastly threateningly brandishing a bat on the ride over in response to Hugs and Tugs annoying him, as well as Beastly engaging in a little heckling at the concert, they don't do anything bad.
- 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.
- The Good Guys Always Win: Lampshaded when Professor Coldheart complains, "Those fuzzy wuzzies always win!"
- Hero with an F in Good: When Beastly tries to join the care bears, they send him to their school so he can learn to be good. The teacher asks what to do upon seeing a bully picking on a little boy and Beastly says he'd help the bully to shove the boy into a mud puddle. After the teacher declares that answer wrong, Beastly asks if it should be a water puddle instead.
- An Ice Person: Professor Coldheart
- 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.
- Ironic Echo: In "The Great Race", the Care Bears and their cousins are holding a race where the winner will become Care-a-Lot's King for a day. Six names are to be randomly drawn from a pot and Beastly cheats his way into becoming the race's fifth entrant. When the obvious protests come, Beastly recites the race rules to validate his status as a competitor on the grounds that his name was drawn and states that rules are rules. After begrudgingly accepting that they must allow him to race, the sixth and last name is drawn and the last entrant turns out to be Swift Heart Rabbit. Beastly desperately tries to protest and demand a new drawing but Brave Heart Lion reminds him that rules are rules.
- "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.
- Make a Wish:
- 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.
- Wish Bears special ability, though he has to wish really hard for it to work.
- 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.
- The One Who Wears Shoes: Brightheart Raccoon, in the Nelvana series.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: When Mr. Beastly wanted to flimflam the Care Bears, he would resort to this. It worked every time, even when it was only a pair of Groucho Glasses.
- Pie in the Face:
- In "Caring for Spring", Simple Simon (Beastly) lost his other pies before he can eat them. He throws his last pie at Wicked Witch of Winter (Shreeky). "It was my last pie, but it was worth it."
- At the end of "Space Bubbles", Grumpy makes fun of himself by falling on his own pie. This covers his face.
- Portrait Painting Peephole: Frostbite does this to spy on the Care Bears in the "Freeze Machine" special.
- 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).
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: Professor Coldheart, Frostbite, and Auntie Freeze. Then later, Shreeky and Beastly, who also serve as a two-person Terrible Trio.
- Recycled IN SPACE!: Later episodes sometimes took place aboard a starship that's a dead ringer for the U.S.S. Enterprise, while others were sometimes set in dinosaur times.
- Retool: The Nelvana cartoon starts out explicitly taking place in the same continuity as the movies, and has several episodes where they help kids out, just like in the DIC episodes and the films. However, it soon shifts into its own continuity, pares the characters down to a small core cast, cuts the "helping kids" aspect down considerably in favor of a ton of Elseworld episodes (the most frequently occurring ones being a prehistoric setting and a Star Trek homage), and gives several characters "hip" 80's clothes.
- Rope Bridge: Appears at least twice.
- 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.
- Single Specimen Species: "The Cloud Worm" is one. This worm has no name because "there's only one of me".
- Spell My Name with an "S": Shreeky likes to shriek, so fans spell her name as "Shrieky". The show almost never spells her name, because the credits just list all the voice actors without their characters. The official spelling does appear in the name of the second-season episode "The Wrath of Shreeky", as it appears on the title card.
- Super Speed: Swiftheart's power.
- Verbal Tic: In the Nelvana series, Champ Bear calls everyone "sports fan" no matter what the context.
- Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: Beastly and Shreeky function as Laughable Lackeys, but Shreeky's uncle Lord No Heart remains a credible threat.
- Voice for the Voiceless: It's really hard for the bears understand Secret Bear's charades, but only Friend Bear can understand him and translates what he's saying.