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Series / Bear in the Big Blue House

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Welcome, welcome, welcome to the page for Bear in the Big Blue House! It's the program that proves that maybe, just maybe, everything isn't worse with bears, at TV Tropes!

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First seen in 1997, Bear in the Big Blue House was part of a group of programs that ushered in a new era for Playhouse Disney. In each episode, the titular character would invite viewers into his home, the cozy Big Blue House, for a day of fun and learning with his young friends Tutter Mouse, Ojo the bear cub, Treelo the lemur and Pip & Pop the twin otters. Together, they learn about the world around them and their places in it — everything from how to share with others to toilet-training. As they grew, the series likewise opened up, taking viewers into the wider Woodland Valley in which the characters lived.


Bear in the Big Blue House was a Muppet show, a production of the Jim Henson Company. It aired for four seasons on Playhouse Disney; the final season featuring a vastly expanded set and an additional cast of characters. The program's final episodes were not aired in the United States until 2006, well over three years after the previous original airings, though they had long been airing in non-U.S. markets. Though no longer seen on Playhouse Disney in the United States, numerous DVD and videocassette releases are available for the program.

Wiki-wise, the show is covered at the Muppet Wiki, which features detailed information about the series and a detailed episode guide. The program is also covered in a number of articles at the wiki's sister site, Tough Pigs, including My Week with Bear, My Week with More Christmas, My Week with Muppet Breakfast and the Tough Pigs Maturity Test, a supposed test to gauge one's maturity using two potty-training books released by the series.


This series provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: A number of tie-in books were released for the series and many of them were watered-down versions of television episodes. A couple even combined elements from two separate episodes.
  • Adults Are Useless: Generally subverted - Bear is far from useless, in fact, he's so on the ball, it's fantastic.
  • Alliterative Name: Tutter's Great-Grandpa Tutterly T. Tutter (all his names begin with Ts!)
  • Aside Glance: Bear frequently does this by bunching his eyebrows and staring directly at the camera with a look that clearly says, "Can you BELIEVE this crap?"
    • Oftentimes these are the funniest parts of the episode. In fact Bear's expressions in general can be treated as hilarious more often than not.
  • Banana Peel: This is referenced in the song "Oops, I Goofed Again!", in which Bear sings "If I slip and trip on a banana peel, I say 'oops, I goofed again'."
  • Baths Are Fun: There was a song called "Everybody in the Tub" in which all of the main characters sang about how great bathtime was, used in several episodes.
  • Be Yourself: The entire episode "I've Gotta Be Me," to name just one example.
  • Big Eater: Tutter's relatives are shown to be big eaters.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The Big Blue House, despite its name, really doesn't look on the outside like it could really fit a big ol' Bear, a lemur, a mouse, two otters and a bearcub, yet it does, quite cozily.
  • Bindle Stick: In the song "What If (There Was No Big Blue House)," Tutter the mouse imagines being homeless and carrying his possessions in one of these.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Of the main cast, Bear, Ojo and the otters Pip and Pop all had these.
  • Character in the Logo: The logo is a blue house with what appears to be the eponymous Bear's face on it.
  • Character Title
  • Christmas Episode: And Hannukkah, and Kwanzaa and other non-denominational holidays. They still called it a "A Beary Bear Christmas," though, and it's a two parter.
    • Christmas Special: Take the above two-parter episode, edit the parts together, and you have the same special which is available on VHS.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Treelo has been known to exhibit tendencies of this.
    Bear: (regarding a tomato) But, Treelo, I have to put in the basket along with the other foods we're going to eat.
    Treelo: Eat! Eat?! Bear, no! Shhh! Be careful, tomato hear you. Tomato Treelo's friend.
    Bear: The tomato is your friend?
  • Crossover: Bear made a few appearances on the 1998-2004 version of The Hollywood Squares. Wait, what? (He actually appeared in Whoopi Goldberg's final episode among others, possibly as a counterpart to the original series having Big Bird as an occasional star.) He also appeared a couple of times on Donny and Marie.
  • Dance Sensation: In an episode in the fourth season, the mice at Tutter's school all do the "Mumble Mambo," but Tutter is uncomfortable with it and can't seem to get into it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Despite his generally kind and caring nature, Bear can be surprisingly capable of this, especially in his nonvocal mannerisms. Tutter is very good at it too.
    • Bear also was this when he appeared on Hollywood Squares (see above).
  • Disappeared Dad & Missing Mom: Most, if not all of the main kid characters. Treelo certainly, all of the rest almost certainly. It is never, ever talked about.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": A bear named Bear and a shadow named Shadow. Everybody else gets a proper name, except perhaps, Doc Hogg.
  • Every Episode Ending: Bear performs the "Goodbye Song" with Luna. He then gives a brief goodbye to the viewer, summing things up for the episode, and turns off the Big Blue House's attic light. He then remembers that he has something else to say, turns it back on, says it, and then turns the light back off.
  • Excited Show Title!: Used for quite a few episodes, including the last episode "This is Your Life, Bear!"
  • Face Palm: Treelo does it in "It's All In Your Head" when Bear is helping him to retrace his steps to find his backpack. Treelo says that he went the bathroom to take a bath, and Bear asks "You took a bath with your backpack on?," causing Treelo to facepalm.
  • Fake Interactivity: Using a method in which Bear asks a question related to the topic of the episode and a video of real kids answering it is shown. This was dropped in the fourth season. Other than that, there is No Fourth Wall and Bear talks to the viewers in a manner similar to Mister Rogers.
  • Fantasy Helmet Enforcement
  • Feather Fingers: For Lois, a blue-footed booby.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Bear and Luna are close so she sometimes finishes his sentences.
  • First Day of School Episode: One episode focuses on Tutter attending "Mouse School".
  • Forgiveness: In one installment, Ojo and Tutter have a great big fight. In the end, they forgive each other because, in Ojo's words, "It's okay, 'cause in the end, I really can't stay angry at a friend, and you're my friend!"
  • Friend to All Children: Bear.
  • Furry Confusion: While most of the animal characters speak perfect English, Harry the Duck (who's a bit younger than the others) often quacks loudly, especially when excited. There are also other animals within the series that are much less anthropomorphic.
  • Gentle Giant: Bear.
  • Glad I Thought of It: Tutter does this to Bear, regularly, but Bear's always so calm and mild-mannered, he never minds. Doc Hogg has also been known to do this.
  • Gratuitous English: The Japanese dub of the theme song adds in the English phrase "come on" at the end.
  • Halloween Episode
  • Happy Birthday to You!: For Tutter's birthday, there was an original song titled "Happy, Happy Birthday."
  • Height Angst: In "As Different as Day and Night", Tutter suffers from this at first because he is much smaller than Bear and his favorite things are out of his reach. When Bear accidentally drops his spoon, it falls under the refrigerator, and Tutter is the only one small enough to recover it. When he does, he finds out there are advantages to being small.
  • I Can't Dance: Tutter, in one of the Playhouse Disney stage shows. Bear tells him that everyone can dance.
  • I Can't Hear You: This is a regular Running Gag with Lois, a blue-footed booby bird seen on the series who is chronically hard of hearing. For example, from the "Good As New" song:
    Doc Hogg: Now, Lois, take a warm birdbath in the sink.
    Lois: I stink?
  • In Case You Forgot Who Created it: The show's two music albums were "Songs from Jim Henson's Bear in the Big Blue House" and "More Songs from Jim Henson's Bear in the Big Blue House."
  • Insistent Terminology: In "Music to My Ears," Ojo, Pip and Pop don't have pan lids and a pot for their "orchestra," which is not a band. They have "cymbals" and a "drum." And Ojo is their "constructor," who helps them to make musical "combustions."
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Treelo. In fact, in one of the songs, Bear sings that Treelo is "faster than a bumblebee."
  • The Kiddie Ride: A Bear on a boat ride was made in the early 2000s. It played a running commentary made by Bear through the ride.
  • Licensed Games/Edutainment Games: Ubisoft released one for the PlayStation and the Game Boy Color back in the early 2000s. There was also a few PC Edutaiment titles.
  • Living Shadow: One of Bear's friends is named Shadow, she appears in most episodes to relate a story told as a shadow play, though the stories are often bizarre in nature.
  • Logo Joke: The logo for the company Shadow Projects shown at the end of each episode featured a dog barking, but sometimes it would make other noises, such as quacking like a duck or meowing like a cat.
  • The Man in the Moon: The moon on the show is Bear's good friend, Luna, voiced by the late Lynne Thigpen. He talks to her every night, talking about what happened that day and performs the "Goodbye Song" with her while clips of what happened on the episode play. Occasionally, other characters, and once, the full cast, would join in singing the song.
  • The Moving Experience: In "This is Your Life, Bear," the kids believe that Bear is moving away from the Big Blue House when actually he's just won a vacation. They're actually right on a meta-level, though, in that the episode is the show's series finale.
  • The Musical: The first season episode "Mouse Party" was turned into a stage musical, which was later released on DVD.
  • Musical Chores: Given how musical the show is, this isn't a great surprise. "Clean Up the House" is a full-on song number about Bear and the kids cleaning up the Big Blue House and was even included on one of the show's music albums. "Surprise!", in which Bear sings about cleaning the bathtub, is another example.
  • Neat Freak: Tutter is well known for this. He always seeks to tidy up anything he can and even has his own song about it: "Why Won't the Dirt Just Leave Me Alone?"
  • Nice Guy: Bear, he never gets angry and is just so warm and friendly he's incapable of saying no to anybody. And yet he's not an Extreme Doormat.
  • No Antagonist: It's a slice-of-life type show targeted at toddlers, so this is expected.
  • Once per Episode: Nearly every episode starts with Bear sniffing the camera.
    • Also, the Bear Cha Cha Cha and the good-bye song.
  • The Operators Must Be Crazy: The Woodland Valley telephone operator is Lois, a blue-footed-booby who is chronically hard-of-hearing and regularly comically misunderstands what people are saying. Now how could this go wrong?
  • Pals with Jesus: Religion doesn't factor much into the show, but Bear is on a first name basis with the Moon and the Sun as well as other forces of nature.
  • Parental Abandonment: The Big Blue House seems to serve a sort of combination of daycare and orphanage. Most of the characters have grandparents shown, but not any actual parents. The unspoken rule, though, seems to be that they just don't talk about it.
  • Parental Bonus: Tons of it. There's much humor of the POP Culture type in the series that would hit home with the parents and older viewers but fly over the toddler viewers' head. Additionally, some of the episodes talk about things that few other TV shows for the same target demographic dare to tread. This also explains the huge Periphery Demographic following.
    • In the camping episode, Pip (or Pop) asks "yeah, what does a bear do anyway?" They're in the woods.
  • Pig Man: Doc Hogg.
  • Playful Otter: Pip and Pop.
  • Playing Sick: Tutter does this once to try to avoid going to Mouse School.
  • Potty Dance: Tutter does in the book version of "When You've Gotta Go." The book even describes him as "dancing from side to side."
  • Potty Emergency: In "When You've Got To Go!", Tutter doesn't want to stop playing checkers with Bear to use the bathroom.
    • In the episode "Morning Glory", Pip and Pop have to pee upon waking up.
  • Potty Failure: Justified in "When You've Got To Go!" - Ojo, who is still learning, doesn't make it in time and Bear tells her that it's okay, accidents happen.
  • Pseudolympics: Ojo holds the "Ojolympics" in an episode by the same name.
  • Questioning Title?: Used for a few episodes, the first being "What's in the Mail Today?"
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: There was Bear's Book Club in "Read My Book" and also a two-parter in which Bear and the kids pitch in to fix up a library that was damaged in a storm.
  • Regional Bonus: The UK DVD releases of the show usually have a bonus sing-along feature, along with multiple languages and multiple subtitles. Heck, the fact that it's getting DVD (re)releases in the UK is a bonus in itself; Disney absolutely refuses to re-release the older VHS releases on DVD stateside and many older episodes remained VHS only.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The episode in which the Woodland Valley library was damaged by a storm was loosely inspired by 9/11 and the idea of overcoming disastrous events in the wake of that. Also, the community and community helpers focus of the fourth season in general was inspired by this.
  • Running Gag: Tutter tells Bear that he can't do something because "You're too big, Bear! Too big!" and then chuckles.
  • Santa Claus: Not actually seen, but the kids get to visit "Santa Hogg" (Doc Hogg), whom Bear says is one of Santa's helpers.
  • Selfless Wish: In the Christmas Special, the group invites a homeless dog named Jack to stay with them for the holidays. Later, when Pip and Pop find the magic Winter Berry (which grants a single wish), they use it to wish for a home for Jack.
  • Ship Tease: The relationship between Bear and Ursa was as close as this trope could get in a children's show, by design.
  • Shout-Out: In "I've Gotta Be Me," Bear dons a grayish sweater and tells us that "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood." Some familiar music plays and he suggests that maybe he should get a pair of sneakers. Also, at one point in the episode "Let's Get Interactive," Bear is looking for dirt, water and seeds to help solve a puzzle. He says "You know, these things would be a lot easier to find if we had a couple of guides to help us" and then Pip and Pop show up. When he says this, closed-captioning reads "You know, these things would be a lot easier to find if we had a little blue dog to help us." Additionally, at the end of "I've Got Your Number," Luna states that "numbers go on and on forever, to infinity and beyond!" And according to this, the "What If?" song from "A Beary Bear Christmas" was patterned after the film It's a Wonderful Life, down to it being presented in black-and-white.
  • Sick Episode: The title character gets a cold in "Need a Little Help Today"
  • Single-Minded Twins: Pip and Pop, to the point where the first time they disagree is treated as Serious Business.
  • Slice of Life: The basic nature of the show, though they try to work themes into it as well. Lamp Shaded - "For some reason, everyone was talking about using the potty today."
  • The Smurfette Principle: Unless you count Shadow, Ojo is the only main female character.
  • Split Screen: This technique is used to show all parties on the phone call in the "Hello Doctor" song.
  • Stock Animal Diet: Tutter is a connoisseur of everything cheese and enjoys trying any type of cheese he can, including gouda and feta.
  • String-on-Finger Reminder: In "It's All In Your Head," Bear has a bunch of these. One is to remind him to tell the kids of the Big Blue House that they're going to the fair, another is to remember to pack snacks, another to get a basket to put them in, and one to remember to clean up the house before they leave.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: Tutter tends to do this sometimes. For example, in "A Winter's Nap"...
    Tutter: Oh, and Bear, would you mind awfully, if it's not too much trouble, if you wouldn't mind, Bear...
    Bear: Hmm?
    Tutter: Would you please close the door? You know why?
    Bear: Why?
    Tutter: It's... freezing!
    Bear: Sorry.
    Tutter: Sorry, sorry, sorry! Huh! A bear for a roommate. Uncle Splutter tried to warn me, but no... (Bear shuts the door.) Thank you, Bear.
  • Surprise Party: "Mouse Party," about a surprise party being held for Tutter's birthday. This was later adapted for theater as "Bear in the Big Blue House Live!: Surprise Party."
  • Talking in Your Sleep:
    • Whenever Tutter is asleep, he can be heard saying "More cheese for King Tutter!"
    • In "A Winter's Nap," Pip and Pop discover Bear napping and try to get him to wake up, but their repeated saying his name just results in muttering, "No, Mommy, just ten more minutes, then I'll eat my porridge." Finally they shout him awake.
    • In "Morning Glory," Ojo mutters in her sleep "No, Goldilocks, don't eat all my honey."
    • In A Beary Bear Christmas, Jack the dog says in his sleep, "Okay, Billy, I'll fetch the ball, you just throw it. Come on, Billy, throw her!"
  • Team Dad: Bear to the other characters.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: Almost every episode, often more than one per episode. Every episode features the "Goodbye Song" when Bear sings with Luna the moon and there is almost always at least one other song. "A Plant Grows in Bear's House" has no original song for the episode, but it's uncertain if there are any other episodes without one.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Around the beginning of "A Beary Bear Christmas," Bear sings a line from the theme song in order to get the kids to notice him when they're arguing over how to help out to get ready for the holidays.
  • They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Type 2. Harry the Duck insists on calling Bear "Mr. Bear," despite his repeated assurances that "Oh, and Harry? It's just Bear."
  • Third-Person Person: Treelo.
  • Title Drop: Bear sometimes refers to himself as "Bear in the Big Blue House" when answering the telephone.
  • Toilet Humour: When not teaching serious lessons about potty training, the episode "Potty Time With Bear" pretty much operates on this, with a "Potty Train" song, "The Toileteers" and more. It's therefore unsurprising that the installment won a Video Magic award with its video release, is probably easily the most well known installment of the show, and continues to be a top seller and readily in stock on Amazon, at a higher price than any other DVD release for the show (and even VHS copies still sell.) Much of it is also retained in the picture book adaptation of the story.
  • Toilet Training Plot: Downplayed in the episode "When You've Got to Go": Tutter, Treelo and Ojo are already sort of potty-trained but they have questions about the bathroom and Ojo still has accidents.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Ojo is rather sporty, holds her own well with the boys, and likes to pretend to be various professions such as detective or doctor that aren't traditionally known for being female. She also is quite attached to her snowbear, enjoys playing tea party and dressing up in girly costumes and accessories.
  • Totally Radical: In the episode "I've Gotta Be Me," Bear donned a "hip"-looking hat and said "Hey there, hi there, ho there, Daddio? What is up?" He then asked us what we thought and admitted that look wasn't him.
  • True Companions: The residents of the Big Blue House are the best of friends and love and care for each other deeply.
  • The Unintelligible: Arguably Treelo. While he could talk normally (though even this could be hard to understand), he sometimes descended into a rapid-fire and definitely unintelligible babble that closed-captioning sometimes transcribed as being "Treelo-ese."
  • Weird Sun: The sun, Ray, was another friend of Bear's, voiced by another late great, Geoffrey Holder. Though he wasn't seen on every episode, like Luna, Bear would sometimes sing the "Good Morning" song with him. He became much more prominent in the show's final season.
  • Welcome Titles
  • When I Was Your Age...: Played with. In "A Beary Bear Christmas," when Jack overhears that the kids of the Big Blue House are having trouble thinking of a present for Bear, he tells them that when he was a pup, one had to walk miles and miles just to get to the store. "You did that?!" ask the kids, amazed, and he admits that no, he didn't. He and his friends made gifts for their parents and they loved them all the same.