YMMV / The Berenstain Bears

  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: Trouble at School has the moral "It's never too late to correct a mistake." It's supposed to mean "even though you've put off correcting your errors, a new attempt to apologize and atone for them can still be appreciated", but it could instead be misread as "commit a crime and don't apologize for it until it's convenient, upon which all will be forgiven."
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Mama Bear really an example of "mother knows best" or does she come off as an arrogant JerkAss who enjoys insulting and humiliating her husband?
  • Anvilicious: The entire reason for the series' existence is to impart moral lessons. The PBSKids version seems to be a lot better about this.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Many people think that the junk food in ...and Too Much Junk Food looks so colorful and delicious, despite the Aesop of junk food being bad for you.
    • Quote from one Real Life child looking at the inside cover:
    "Mamma bear sad. Mamma Bear needs to eat some candy."
  • Ear Worm: The animated series has one of the biggest ear worms period, incredibly catchy and amazingly country. The PBS version certainly, which was performed by country music superstar Lee Ann Womack.
  • Epileptic Trees: There is a bizarre theory that those out there who recall the name as being "the Berenstein bears" are actually transplants from an alternate universe.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The Bully really has a Family-Unfriendly Aesop if you think about it... Getting beaten up by a bully? Don't bother contacting the school authorities because Adults Are Useless. Get beaten up, and finally fight back? Then and only them will they get involved. Oh, and Sister gets off scot-free, only be given a slap on the wrist. Yeah, how many kids in real life were just given a slap on the wrist for punching someone, even if it was in self-defense?
    • Bad Habit - Develop a bad habit, and your parents will bribe you with money to end it!
      • May be the reason why the 2003 series adaption of this decided to avoid this.
    • The Aesop of The Berenstain Bears Clean House seems to be "if you have a bunch of old junk sitting around your house, stuff it in the attic and put off the cleaning until another day."
    • Or The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room, where the moral that not cleaning your room may cause your parents to throw out your toys seems to resonate more than the actual advantages Brother and Sister get from cleaning their room. Lampshaded by the opening poem: "When small bears forget to pick up, store and stash, some of their favorite things end up in the trash."
  • Harsher in Hindsight: One episode of the 1980s cartoon involved Weasel Mc Greed creating a flower that traps bees in order to cut off the town's honey supply. This was before Colony Collapse Disorder became a major contemporary problem and the consequences are more disastrous than low honey supply.
  • I Am Not Shazam: The bears' surname is Bear, not Berenstain. And, despite the common mispronunciation, it's not "Bernstein", either. Or "Berenstein," for that matter.
  • Idiot Plot: "The Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree" could have lasted but a few minutes had Papa Bear gone to Gus instead of dragging Brother and Sister in search of the perfect tree.
  • Jerk Ass Woobie: Tuffy when her Freudian Excuse for being a bully (she has Abusive Parents) is revealed.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • The Berenstain Bears Show Some Respect has the cubs acting bratty by contradicting their parents and grandparents when the family is looking for a picnic spot. However, a lot of their comments are quite valid. For instance, Mama suggests a spot by the pond because that's where she and Papa had their first date. Brother responds with "That's was ages ago. It's full of mosquitoes now." Sure, he could have said it in a more polite manner but who wants to picnic where there are lots of mosquitoes?
    • In the animated special The Berenstain Bears' Easter Surprise, Boss Bunny retires from his role as the Easter Bunny. When he is confronted about it by his son Bill and Brother Bear, it's clear to see that he's too old and out of shape to continue the job. True all it takes to get him going is some fresh air but with everything he has to do to make Easter possible, it's still taxing.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • In "Lose A Friend", Sister's goldfish dies. It's really quite sad to see Sister so broken about its death.
    • In "Too Much Pressure", Mama becomes so overwhelmed with driving Brother and Sister to their activities that when the car stalls on their way to one, she breaks down and cries. Since Mama is generally the most level-headed of the family, this is very upsetting to see.
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