There are definitely some "puzzling" moments in this cartoon, including some Parental Bonuses.
- Sweet maple flapjacks, Franklin and Bear. Their close "friendship" and all the "best friends" talk really crosses the line of "Heterosexual" Life Partners. There are definitely a number of shippers in the production crew who could imagine them as a couple when they are a little older.
- Franklin has his moments, but Bear has many questionable moments. Why he only wants to hang out with Franklin all the time is anyone's guess. Franklin is with everyone but the only times Bear hangs out with anyone else is when it also involves Franklin. He follows Franklin everywhere and only stops talking to him when Franklin makes him really upset. But, being Bear, Franklin is always Easily Forgiven, no matter what. Almost like he can't live without him.
- Whenever Bear doesn't hang out with Franklin, the show itself plays this off as "wrong" and Franklin gets upset and tries to fix things by getting Bear to hang out with him again. It's okay for Franklin to hang out with others but when Bear hangs out with others, excluding Franklin, it's against status quo. Examples would be "Franklin Says Sorry", "Franklin Goes to Day Camp", "Franklin and the Pinecone Pass", "Franklin and the Secret Club", "Franklins' Firefighter Flapjacks", etc.
- In "Franklin's Valentines", Franklin makes heartfelt valentines for all of his friends. Usually, boys don't give other boys "traditional" valentine cards (traditional as in, pink and red colored hearts with glitter and pastel colors), but Bear and Franklin take this Up to Eleven. We see Bear's card to Franklin that has the two of them sitting under a tree surrounded by hearts, no biggie. But then we see Franklin's card to Bear and it is full of hearts with Cupid's arrows (which implies Puppy Love!) and a drawing of Franklin and Bear making up two halves of a heart with wings. Take of that as you will. (Note: This isn't visible in the TV show, but you can see it in the book version.) They might just be kids, but this is really pushing it...
- In the episode "Franklin and the Baby" where Bears baby sister Beatrice is born, the last scene is played out as if the baby was Franklin and Bears baby! Franklin sits down while Bear stands next to him and they both hold the baby while looking into each others eyes, making it look like Franklin is the mom◊ and Bear is the dad!◊ There is no way that this was unintentional.
- The entirety of "Franklin Goes to Day Camp". When Franklin goes to day camp, he and Bear partner up together for the activities, but also lets a character named Possum join them when he has no partner. However, as Franklin discovers that Possum only wants to play with Bear, he gets jealous of Possum stealing all of Bear's attention. After getting in trouble, he cries over losing Bear. While the others are making friendship bracelets, he worries that Bear and Possum will be "new best friends" if they exchange theirs and begs the coach to let him make one for Bear. Upon seeing them exchanging bracelets, Franklin gets upset again until Bear comes and says that they were just showing each other their bracelets and that his is for Franklin. Bear also like to routinely tickle Franklin, in a rather unusual position...◊, parents' eyebrows were indeed raised. Also, Franklin and Bear partner up. On the bus, there's this moment...wait, WHAT???
- "Franklin and the Pinecone Pass" has Franklin excited to play a game with Bear, but finds Bear playing with Rabbit. When Bear would rather play Rabbit's game, Franklin instantly gets jealous and tries to get Bear to play with him. When that doesn't work, he plays his game with Snail instead but focuses more on trying to get Bear's attention, almost as if he is trying to make Bear jealous. When Fox comes and sees everyone else playing, Franklin laments his fear of Bear having a "new best friend" in Rabbit, but Fox thinks it's silly because he and Rabbit don't always play together despite being best friends, which shows Franklin that "best friends" can still play with other friends. Franklin feels better in the end after Bear says that he will always be Franklin's "best friend."
- "Franklin Has a Sleepover" has Sam and Bunny riding on a train and gives us this "lovely" image◊. Are they trying to imply something by using Franklin and Bear's plush toys?
- In "Franklin and the Turtle Lake Treasure," we are introduced to Franklin's Aunt Lucy and her goddaughter Sam. After getting off to a bad start, Franklin is encouraged by his parents to try being nice to her. Because of this, he starts hanging out with Sam more than Bear, Beaver, and Snail. Beaver and Snail have no problem with this, but Bear grows jealous every time Franklin chooses her over him. Eventually, after Franklin chooses to team up with Sam instead of Bear to look around for Granny Turtle's time capsule, Bear gets upset and walks off. When Franklin goes to talk to him, Bear complains about Franklin forgetting about them and always being nice to Sam, even going as far as to call Sam his "girlfriend," almost as if he is jealous of them being together. Also, at the end of the movie, they share a hug.