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Bears Are Bad News? News to me.

Sometimes in the media, bears have been portrayed as fierce and intimidating, but that's not always the case. Some of the other portrayals paint bears in a more sympathetic light, sometimes even to the extent of being a Gentle Giant, and their big size certainly helps. Through such portrayals, they are not merely non-aggressive aversions or subversions to Bears Are Bad News, but they tend to show friendly interactions with humans or other sentient beings. Not that they can't be bad news if you, ahem, get funny with one.

Teddy Bears, when portrayed as Living Toys, usually fall into this category.

Compare Beary Funny, where bears are portrayed through comedic means.

Contrast Bears Are Bad News for bears who are neither friendly nor funny, though it can overlap through a well-pushed Berserk Button.



    open/close all folders 

  • Bimbo (Grupo Bimbo), a Mexican bakery company, has a very adorable mascot named Bimbo Bear who is a polar bear chef. He's been the mascot for the company since 1945.
  • A Malt*O*Meal ad features a bear walking into a mountain cabin to join the inhabitants for breakfast. He politely asks for more Malt*O*Meal.
  • The commercials for 1990s The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh merchandise use this as part of their angle, with the jingle stating, "It's so much friendlier with Pooh."
  • Who could forget good old Smokey the Bear, the friendly forest bear who has been the fire prevention safety advocate mascot since 1944!

    Anime and Manga 
  • Kenta and Issa one of the talking stuffed animals from Animal Yokocho.
  • Blackberry and his mother from Happy Happy Clover are very friendly and nice to other animals in Crescent Forest. However in later volumes, Clover mentions to not wake them up during hibernation since they don't want to see them go berserk.
  • Labra, Rossa, Sakuran and Chocolat of Jewelpet are all little Jewelpet bears (Sweetspet bears in the case of Sakuran and Chocolat) who wouldn't hurt a fly. Labra does tend to be a jerk, but ultimately she's got a heart of gold.
  • Bobby Bear from Maple Town is one of Patty's close friends.
  • Shirokuma Cafe stars a brown bear, a polar bear, and a panda. All three bears are genuinely nice and friendly.
  • Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle has the Forehead Devils, which're pretty much teddy bears with wings that are the universe's version of The Goomba. The Princess tames them early on with her brushing technique and sometimes involves them in her schemes to fall asleep.
  • Superior Cross has Umberto, a kindly old bear demon who spends most of his free time painting and is on friendly terms with the nearby village (which is kind of a big deal seeing as humans and demons normally do not get along at all). He's also Angelica's grandfather.
  • Sylvanian Families (Calico Critters in the US):
    • One group of main animal characters is a family of friendly bears.
    • In the 2000's, the series introduced a male bear named Aidan who loves eating. Aidan is also one of Bell's friends.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Swedish children's Funny Animal comic Bamse, the titular bear is the world's strongest bear, and the world's kindest bear, and definitely The Hero. His strength is dependent on him eating his Power-Up Food dunderhonung ("thunder honey"), but he's always the kindest.
  • Arthur from Circles is The Bear, literally and figuratively, but a very friendly bear at that. He cares about his friends so much that he treats them all like family. He even volunteered to be Santa for the orphanage children when no one else fit the bill and he loved to make people happy.
  • In Mike Kunkel's Herobear and the Kid, a young boy inherited a magical stuffed teddy bear from his grandfather that, with the press of a nose, can transform into a 10-foot tall cape-wearing polar bear named Herobear. As his name implies, Herobear is a friendly and heroic bear with superpowers who fights for good and justice.
  • Ungrounded has Ulysses, a flying polar bear who is close friends with Mister Solenoid.

    Eastern European Animation 
  • The Bear from Masha and The Bear is generally friendly to Masha and others.
  • Umka from two Soviet cartoons is an adorable and curious polar bear cub.

    Fairy Tales 

    Films — Animation 
  • Brother Bear begins with Kenai discovering that his spirit animal is "the Bear of Love". And then he tries to prove his toughness by slaying a bear and gets turned into one as a result, and discovers that bears are pretty nice.
  • The Jungle Book has Baloo, a lazy, fun-loving bear become a friend to Mowgli.
  • The Adventures of the Wilderness Family trilogy features the Gentle Giant black bear Samson. He even saves the family from a rogue bear in the first film.
  • In Aladdin, bears appear in Prince Ali's menagerie along with some lions in the "Prince Ali" song. They are only on screen for a few seconds, but they give a friendly smile at the audience, implying this trope. The third film has Genie using a bear for a Kodiak moment.
  • Po, the Kung Fu Panda, is a clumsy panda bear who has a heart for justice and trains hard to join the fierce warriors who protect the village and is a Big Fun and hearty guy to hang around with.
  • Norm from Norm of the North, who falls more into being the clumsy, fun-loving jester type of friendly bear.
  • Thumbelina in Golden Films' Thumbelina finds a few of these and befriends them. Sadly, they cannot help Thumbelina since winter is coming and bears hibernate at the time. Should a bear fail to get to its cave, it might fall asleep in a dangerous, hostile land.
  • Open Season: Boog is a happily domestic Gentle Giant grizzly bear who wouldn't hurt a fly and is quite harmless and friendly as far as most grizzlies go. But if push came to shove, he can be just as aggressive and intimidating such as any other bear—as proven at the climax when Elliot (seemingly) sacrifices himself to save him from Shaw, Boog roars fiercely in Shaw's face, then ties the hunter up with his gun.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Escape to Witch Mountain: Tia frees a captured bear, which goes along with Tony and Tia and protects them.
  • Gentle Ben, a children's book turned film turned live-action TV show, starring Ben, a gentle bear.note 
  • Winnie-the-Pooh, being based upon a teddy bear, is lovably dim and goodhearted, and is often thinking about honey.
  • Kipling's The Jungle Book had Baloo be more serious than the Disney version, but he was clearly Mowgli's friend.
  • Paddington Bear is very polite around people in London. But he's prone to causing some trouble (Mostly accidentally) when ever he goes somewhere or trying to help others.
  • Tessie Bear a female Teddy Bear from Enid Blyton's Noddy series is one of Noddy's best friends along with Big Ears. She's very calm and and kind with others. There's also Mr and Mrs Tubby Bear who's Noddy's next door neighbors and helpful when Big Ears isn't around.
  • Franklin's best friend, Bear and his family, from the books, films, and two Animated Adaptations. Bear is the kindest and sweetest bear you could ever meet who is always noble, courteous, honest, and tender to Franklin and his friends. He is a Gentle Giant who has the biggest heart out of his friends and is made of Incorruptible Pure Pureness.
  • Boris from The New Bear at School by Carrie Weston. He is a new student in a school of small animals and they are naturally afraid of him being a huge bear. Boris tries to make friends but they keep avoiding him, leaving him to eat alone at lunch and play alone in class. Luckily after he scared away troublesome rats from his classmates, they admired Boris and became friends with him.
  • Lars The Polar Bear Cub from the German children's story and animated series The Little Polar Bear. He is a friendly male polar bear cub who goes on various adventures in an Arctic setting. His best friend is a seal named "Robby".
  • Seymour Eaton's The Roosevelt Bears was a serialized children's story about two amiable talking bears, Teddy B. and Teddy G., who travel across America in the early 20th century.
  • Played with in Seeker Bears. The main characters are friendly towards each other, despite being different kinds of bears, and they're usually friendly towards other bears (as long as they're friendly towards them too). They aren't however that friendly towards flatfaces (humans). They usually try to stay away from them, however Lusa was raised in a zoo and so she's more friendly (a bit too friendly) around flatfaces.
  • The Marvellous Land of Snergs: The Cinnamon Bears, so named because they smell like cinnamon, are peaceful, amicable beasts who like playing with human children. One of them happens upon Joe and Sylvia when they get lost in the woods, and it protects and keeps both children warmth until they are found by Gorbo.
  • The Boogie Woogie Bears: The Boogie Woogie Bears are a family of bears which are both friendly and polite.

    Live-Action TV 

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppets:
    • Debuting in The Muppet Show, Fozzie Bear is a pal to Kermit and other Muppets, as well as having his own comedy routine.
    • Deubting in Muppets Tonight, Bobo, although larger and with a more intimidating role as security guard, is just as big a softie as Fozzie, if not more so, as he remains friends with the other characters.
  • Sesame Street:
    • In the original American show, there is an entire family of bears that are on friendly terms with the other residents of the namesake street, but Baby Bear is given the most focus, in particular having a very strong friendship with Telly Monster.
    • The German co-production Sesamstrasse has Samson, a large teddy bear who is friends with the other characters and is a child in spite of his size and voice.
    • The Canadian co-production Sesame Park had Basil, who was a polar bear that was friends with the other characters.
  • Bear from Bear in the Big Blue House:
    • The titular main character, Bear, is incredibly friendly, acting as a father figure to both the audience and the other residents of the house.
    • Ojo, a cub who lives with Bear (who may or may not be related) is a sweet, adorable little kid.

  • The Cinnamon Bear, a radio play from the 1930s. Paddy O'Cinnamon, the eponymous bear, is a resident of Maybeland who helps children Judy & Jimmy search for their lost Silver Star (to put on top of the Christmas tree).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Played astonishingly straight considering the nature of the Old World of Darkness by the Gurahl (Werebears). They are Gaia's Healers, the bringers of succor, the ones that regard those of their number who let bands of starving humans kill them for food as honored heroes. While Rage and Frenzy are something they are capable of, they are far less prone to this than Garou. Of course, pushing them far enough to berserk or otherwise convincing them that they must resort to violence is a serious mistake.

    Video Games 
  • Banjo, the bear from Banjo-Kazooie, is friends with Kazooie, Bottles, and Mumbo. In general, he's also very kind and friendly to most of not all of the minor NPCs he comes across, at least in comparison to his companion Kazooie.
  • Percy Propa from Freedom Wars serves as a friendly and cheerful Mascot for both the Panopticon and the game itself. His kind personality and adorable appearance are intentional, as Percy's purpose is to motivate the Sinners to contribute in a friendly and welcoming tone, rather than the hostile scathing tone that most Sinners deal with.
  • Tae the Bear God of Lusternia. He has a Little Guy, Big Buddy relationship with his (much brighter) friend Bollikin, and spends most of his time playing with his bear creations and eating honey. He still shouldn't be messed with, though.
  • Okku in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer manages to be both this and Bears Are Bad News. He's a Gentle Giant most of the time, soft-spoken and intelligent, known to crack jokes on occasion, and a loyal ally to a good-aligned Knight-Captain, but cross him at your peril.
  • While Teddie of Persona 4 isn't a bear in the strictest sense - he appears to be an animate bear-themed mascot costume, then he grows a human body, before it's revealed at his Social Link's Max Rank that he's actually a Shadow who grew an ego - he maintains the idea that he's a bear, constantly using many, many bear puns. He's also the most energetic member of the Investigation Team, all too happy to buddy up close to everyone, and one of his most prevalent aims is to find out what "score a hot stud" means.
  • The bear mother in MySims Kingdom follows you despite being a visitor, and does not maul you even though you approach her cub. Don't try this at ho-- er, in the woods.
  • Heavy Weapons Guy is only a bear through Animal Motifs, but he's an example of both this and Bears Are Bad News. Like a bear, he worries about his family quite a bit. (The Communist government executed their father and threw him, his mother, and sisters in a gulag in Siberia, and he was forced to torture the guards, free all the prisoners, and burn the place down to escape. The guards have been chasing them ever since, so he has reason to worry.), and sends money and food back to them. This Big Brother Instinct carries over to his team, including his superior, Miss Pauling.
  • iOS/Android word puzzle game Alphabear tasks you with collecting cute bears. Each bear has a unique costume and ability, and they grow in size depending on how high your score is.
  • Animal Crossing has a number of villagers who can live in your town that are bears. They even come in two varieties: regular bears and cubs, who are smaller. All of them can be very friendly once befriended, even the Cranky ones.
  • The Brothers Bear in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! are a group of bear brothers who help out and assist Dixie and Kiddy on their journey. They are kind and friendly and give out tips and sell items to the Kongs. (Except for Brash.)
  • Due to Pokémon being a vast array of species, each with varying personalities, you might find a mean Munchlax, Teddiursa, Pancham, and Cubchoo, but you might also find a very friendly Snorlax, Ursaring, Pangoro, and Beartic. Bewear deconstructs this. It's actually a very friendly Bear Pokemon, however it is dreaded around the Alola Region due to it not knowing its own dangerous strength, causing it to inadvertently crush the things it hugs, which includes its own trainer.
  • The Nintendo 3DS game Teddy Together involves the player interacting and befriending a living teddy bear.
  • Angus from Night in the Woods is Gregg's loving boyfriend who is friendly and compassionate to his friends despite coming from a terrible and tragic upbringing.
  • Sonic the Fighters had Gentle Giant Bark the polar bear. His Japanese character profile for the Fighters Megamix guide book describes him as "North Island's #1 snowboarder. He is blunt and quiet, but has a gentle and loving heart. He's actually a shy guy." Fans however largely mistook him for a villain, which became Ascended Fanon in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics).
  • In Stardew Valley, one of the Secret Notes you can find is a badly-spelled request for maple syrup to be brought to the Secret Forest. Sure enough, the client is a talking bear who, after treating the exchange like a drug deal ("have you got 'the stuff'? oh yeah, that's the good 'stuff'") and chugging the syrup, gratefully teaches you "Bear's Secret Knowledge" to improve the quality of wild berries, tripling their sale value.
  • The player's avatar and all recruitable allies/ power ups in Alphabear Two are bears. Players can customize their avatar with a variety of skins to make it look like a polar bear, black bear, brown bear, panda bear, teddy bear, zombie bear, etc... Recruitable allies take the form of cute, cartoonish bears dressed up a knights, flappers, musicians, artists, hamburgers, alarm clocks, and more.
  • Cozy Grove: You play as a "spirit scout" on a haunted island, who brings peace to the restless spirits by finding out their backstories. They are all bear people. Some are friendlier than others, but none of them are dangerous.

    Visual Novels 
  • Coach Grifter from Extracurricular Activities may seem tough and mean-looking but he is very down-to-earth and understanding towards his students because he wants to see them succeed.
  • In Morenatsu, Juuichi is a nice bear with the Face of a Thug who only appears grumpy all the time even when his mood doesn't match.

    Web Animation 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Care Bears act friendly among themselves, and when visiting children. These bears would not give injuries; they would give someone a hug! This of course carries on to their Animated Adaptations- Care Bears: Adventures in Care-a-Lot, Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot, and Care Bears & Cousins
  • The Cleveland Show gives us Tim, a friendly bear that actually sits around and drinks beer with other, human characters. He's also devoutly religious and a bit of a stiff, albeit prone to the occasional Beware the Nice Ones moment when he remembers that he can kill any of them easily.
  • The Crayon Box has Bubby. He's a teddy bear, and a really nice one at that.
  • On My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Fluttershy has a bear among her many animal friends, named Harry, notable for being as expressive as her pet bunny Angel. She gives him chiropractic treatment, and he has tea with her.
  • The Octonauts gives us their leader, Barnacles Bear. Though he has a gruff, intimidating exterior, Captain Barnacles is as kind and understanding as they get.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Bosco, the Earth King's pet bear from Avatar: The Last Airbender, may have been picked up from the wild, but he acts very friendly towards the heroes when he first sees them. He's considered extremely unusual due to the fact that he's a regular bear as opposed to a Mix-and-Match Critter that the series is known to have.
    • Naga from The Legend of Korra also counts. She's a "polar bear dog" (part polar bear, part Big Friendly Dog), and is Korra's best friend.
  • The title characters from Adventures of the Gummi Bears are courageous, caring, faithful and friendly, as their theme song states.
  • Zigzagged by the character Beary Nice from Uncle Grandpa. He's a bright-eyed, bowtie-wearing bear with an overly friendly and calm disposition. It's not clear if he's oblivious to his friend Hot Dog Person's frequent suffering, or if he's secretly aware.
  • Penny Ling from Littlest Pet Shop (2012) is cute, but you don't want to make her upset or make her cry.
  • Penguins of Madagascar gives us Corporal, a polar bear and member of the skilled team of secret agents known as North Wind, who hugs and fawns over the penguins when he first meets them.
  • The main trio of We Bare Bears are a grizzly bear, a polar bear, and a panda who just want to adapt to human life in San Francisco. Of course, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Technobear from Harvey Beaks is a street-smart, party-loving bear cub who is one of Harvey's best friends and something of a Kid-anova.
  • Ludovic the bear from the Dutch stop-motion series Ludovic.
  • Goldie & Bear, a Disney Junior series, features the title characters based on Goldilocks and the baby bear. Bear is very friendly and enjoys spending time and hanging out with Goldie.
  • Humphrey The Bear is clumsy and pesky sometimes but he is also friendly and very well-meaning who just tries to eat what he can, but he sometimes ends up a Butt-Monkey.
  • The title character from The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin, as well as the talking toy and series of books and tapes that it was based on, is nice, caring and friendly to everyone. The opening line from the first cassette tape (also used in one episode of the TV series) pretty much says it all:
    Teddy Ruxpin: Hi. My name is Teddy Ruxpin. Can you and I be friends?
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Dipper vs. Manliness," Dipper is sent to prove his masculinity by killing the Multi-Bear, a bear covered in heads who offends the Manotaurs by being In Touch with His Feminine Side. He's a friendly guy, though he can still put up a fight; in the end, Dipper can't bring himself to kill him, because the Multi-Bear also loves his favorite girly, Guilty Pleasure pop song.
  • Time Squad had an episode where the team travels back in time to meet with Edgar Allan Poe, who has become a Tastes Like Diabetes kids book writer. Instead of The Black Cat, he's written a story called The Bear, which is just about Poe taking a walk in the woods and accidently waking up a hibernating bear. Scared, he runs home and goes to bed, only for the bear to track him down and burst into his room... to return the fanny pack Poe dropped in the woods. The story ends with Poe and the bear hugging and becoming best friends forever. Time Squad are absolutely dumbfounded by the ridiculous story, complete with Jaw Drop.
  • The bear from Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. He's never seen attacking anyone or even being mean. Indeed, his role at Sebben & Sebben (if he has one at all) is rather unclear. He mostly appears to assist other characters in bizarre tasks and for the various Oh, Cisco! moments. He'll also make random appearances with no context. One of the creators described him as "the most zen creature on earth". The only time he did anything remotely antagonistic was when Phil believed he was stealing his furniture, and even that might've just been Phil's delusions.
  • The DuckTales (2017) version of Santa Claus is a polar bear. In his debut episode, he only loses his temper when Scrooge delivers coal in place of presents when he was trying to resolve their past falling out.

    Real Life 
  • The Trope Codifier is the actual Teddy Bear, invented in 1902 in reference to an incident where Teddy Roosevelt refused to kill a bear that had been captured and tied up for him to "hunt."
  • Most bears are actually far less aggressive than the media often portrays, with bears actively seeking out humans as prey being rarely ever reported. Most are shy and inoffensive, and often retreat at the first sight of humans, and as long as you respect their space, keep at a proper distance, and not threaten them (as with any wild animal) they are of little concern. An injured or cornered bear, or a mother who perceives a threat to her cubs, however... Another common cause of attacks is hunger—(usually) not because the bear sees humans as food, but because it sees them as competitors for resources like carrion or pine nuts. In North America, at least, many attacks in the fall (when bears are desperate to put on weight before hibernating, and human hunters are "providing them" with freshly killed deer and elk) or spring (when they're desperate to regain the weight they lost over the winter) stem from this issue.
  • Pandas have always been immune to the usual depiction of bears, even though they're potentially just as dangerous as other bears are (though admittedly less carnivorous than other bears; in fiction they may be portrayed as entirely vegetarians, falling under Herbivores Are Friendly).
  • Despite being listed under Bears Are Bad News, Wojtek was well-known for being a friendly and lovable creature who loved to play in water and eat sweets (as well as his cigarettes and liquor - he was an official grunt in the Polish Army, after all!), and liked nothing better than hanging out with his adopted human family in the 22nd Artillery Supply Company. Of course, that also meant that enemies of his platoon (like the Nazi agent hiding in the showers) learned Bears Are Bad News. The unit's insignia to this day is of Wojtek carting ammo.
    • Wojtek wasn't the first enlisted bear in history of the Polish military. During the Russian Civil War, the "Murmansk group", a Polish unit fighting on the Allied side, adopted a polar bear during their fight in the frozen wastes of northwestern Russia beyond the Polar Circle. A corporal was assigned to train it and the bear quickly learned proper marching and military salute. Sadly, shortly upon the unit's return to Poland, the hapless animal ran away and was killed by local farmers. The bear's military duty didn't end this way, though, as it was stuffed and placed as an exhibit in the Polish Army Museum in Warsaw.
  • Hercules was a grizzly bear that belonged to Scottish wrestler Andy Robin and his wife Maggie. He lived in the house, ate cooked food (he wouldn't touch raw meat) and was so tame that he'd let people (usually Andy) ride around on his back. There was also an incident in 1980 where he ran away during the filming of a Kleenex advert in the Outer Hebrides and wasn't found for almost a month, during which time he lost half his body weight because he wouldn't kill and eat any of the livestock or wildlife in the area.


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