Care Bears

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Teddy bears taken to the next level of cute, with pastel colors and symbols on their chest (known as "tummy symbols" or more recently "belly badges"). They live up in the cloud-city of Care-A-Lot and frequently visit Earth to help out kids who are feeling down. The Bears have names relating to their specialty - Good Luck Bear, Friend Bear, and so forth. Later, "Care Bear Cousins" representing other animals were introduced (Brave Heart Lion, Cozy Heart Penguin, etc.); they live in the Forest of Feelings about halfway between Earth and Care-A-Lot.

Originating on greeting cards in 1981, these little guys and gals were a hit right out of the gate when Kenner launched a toy line two years later. They had a lot of animated screentime for the rest of the decade: two specials, a TV series, and three theatrical films over 1985-87: The Care Bears Movie, Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation, and The Care Bears Adventure In Wonderland. A fourth film, Care Bears Nutcracker Suite (1988), was aired as a TV special when the third flopped. The franchise died back through the 90's after a very brief and unsuccessful redesign -- Compare My Little Pony. Now they're back with a handful of new direct-to-DVD movies.

In most of the films and cartoons, they are pitted against various "heartless" villains who want to make the world safe for evil, often by removing people's ability to care for others... or to feel emotions at all. The baddies ranged from the Mad Scientist Professor Coldheart in the specials and the DIC TV episodes to the Evil Spirit of the first movie to the Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain crew of the later Nelvana TV episodes (evil wizard No Heart, his niece Shreeky, and henchman Beastly). When the chips are down, that's when the Care Bear Stare comes into play.

They're one of the most spoofed of The Eighties toy lines because of their overly sugary reputation - which is not wholly deserved when one takes some of their villains and plotlines into account. On the other hand, they're still quite popular. At the turn of the millennium, the characters were relaunched with a toy revival and two direct-to-video animated films. In 2007, a redesigned line of the toys arrived along with another DTV film and a Saturday morning series on CBS, Care Bears - Adventures in Care-A-Lot.

Adventures in Care-A-Lot is out of production, but the character line launched with the Oopsy Does It continued with films such as Giving Festival Movie and Care Bears to the Rescue Movie. It has been announced that The Hub will be presenting a new CGI Care Bears series titled Care Bears: Welcome to Care-A-Lot. Based on promos now airing on The Hub, the new series will carry the general look of the recent CGI films, and will introduce some new human characters.

Films include:

Care Bears is the Trope Namer for:
  • Care Bear Stare: After a non-fatal attack (and later, also a healing maneuver) typically employed in the series.
  • Grumpy Bear: After a character from the series: A dark blue Care Bear with a raincloud on its tummy.

The following tropes are common to many or all entries in the Care Bears franchise.
For tropes specific to individual installments, visit their respective work pages.

Grizzle: Behold my power suit and quake in your boots.
Oopsy: But, we don't wear boots.
Grizzle: Well, look anyway!

  • Beary Cute: The Care Bears are technicolor teddy bears with special symbols on their bellies called Belly Badges, which are related to their personality and magical powers.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: A major theme of the CGI Big Wish Movie. Wish Bear, upset that nobody likes her wishes, wishes for some bears to come to Care-a-Lot who like wishing just as much as she does. She gets her wish, but the new neighbors turn out to like wishing so much that they take away Twinkers, her wishing star, from her.
  • Blooper: As with My Little Pony, this is a series that stars a number of characters who look essentially the same, so animation mistakes run rampant.
  • Butt Monkey: Grumpy Bear -- surprised?
  • Captain Ersatz: The Rat King in the Nutcracker special shares Beastly's voice and general characterization.
  • Catch Phrase: "Why do these things always happen to me?" ~ Grumpy
  • 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.
  • Circle of Friendship: Care Bares love this move.
  • Crying Wolf: Crying swamp monster, actually. Then there was a "real" swamp monster who happened to be Beastly in disguise, and the real real monster wasn't bad.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Shreeky, No Heart's niece.
  • Demoted to Extra: Grumpy's fate during the '00s revival. He pretty much VANISHED from all merchandising from the show (despite being the most iconic of the group) in favor of Bedtime Bear, another blue colored Care Bear.
    • Eventually, the decision was eventually reversed in Adventures in Care-a-Lot.
    • Many characters got this treatment in the Nelvana series.
  • Detect Evil / Holy Hand Grenade: Care bears are essentially radar paladins.
  • Disembodied Eyebrows: Wingnut, in the new Giving Festival Movie from the Adventures in Care-a-Lot era.
    • And No-Heart in the Nelvana series.
  • Drunk on Milk
  • Easily-Thwarted Alien Invasion
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: Rainbows are everywhere. They're not just for decoration, they're used as traveling devices, energy and hell, even weapons. Especially with Cheer Bear.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: The princess of Wonderland uses sparkles to revive withered plants.
  • Everything's Worse with Bears: Well, at least from the villains' point of view.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Professor Coldheart.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Most of the villains. Probably the most notable example is the Vizier from the Nutcracker special, who is fond of SHOUTING OUT EVERY LINE! Which are then commonly followed up with a "MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
    • If you don't think the Evil Spirit counts, perhaps you need a LESSON on what Hammy is. A LESSON you really need. A LESSON FOR YOU!!!
  • Evil Sorcerer: No Heart.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Most of the Bears' names in relation to their personalities and talents.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Braveheart Lion.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Care-A-Lot, just not as an afterlife.
  • For the Evulz: Pretty much the only reason almost any villain does anything. Except for Adventures in Care-a-Lot's Grizzle, who simply hates the Care Bears and wishes to take over, or at least be rid of, Care-a-Lot.
    • Another exception is the Wizard of Wonderland from the third movie Care Bears Adventure In Wonderland. His motive is political power (he wants to become the new king of Wonderland).
  • Forced Meme: Trying to capitalize on the success of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, somebody in PR came up with...this. Fortunately, the Hub immediately backpedalled on this, but only time would tell if the damage hasn't already been done.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Shreeky. Oddly, other human characters, including her uncle No Heart, have all five fingers. Maybe there's a story there.
    • ...Shreeky and No-Heart are humans?
    • Just watch Nutcracker Suite. Count how many fingers Alan Prince/Nutcracker, his wife and their students have.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: The Care Bear Stare had this effect in the DiC, to somewhat disturbing results. It was toned back into an all purpose weapon against evil in the Nelvana series before returning to its roots in Adventures In Care-A-Lot.
  • Glad I Thought of It: Shreeky did this with Beastly practically Once Per Episode.
  • 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.
  • Green Lantern Ring: The Care Bear Stare can generate energy constructs, generate light, fabricate items, act as a prosaic energy blast, brainwash people into caring, free people from brainwashing, damage intangible entities, and shove objects around telekinetically, among other things.
  • Harmless Villain: Most of the villains who aren't this from the beginning degrade into one over time.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: In the end, everything can be solved with a Care Bear Stare or a quick pep talk.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Bedtime Bear in Adventures in Care-a-Lot. Wakes up, mumbles a short sentence, drops back off to sleep.
  • Hold Up Your Score
  • Humanoid Abomination: No Heart.
  • 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.
  • I Would Say If I Could Say
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Grumpy Bear.
  • Large Ham: The voice actors and actresses playing the villains had a lot of fun.
  • Licensed Games:
    • Averted in the 80s: One was planned for the Atari 2600, but was scrapped when the great crash came around.
    • For the 2000s revival: One for the Game Boy Advance and One for the V-Tech V-Smile. And three for PC/Macs.
    • For the 2007 redesign: One for the V-Tech V-Smile Baby Infant Development System.
  • Lighter and Softer: Adventures In Care-A-Lot manages to be this, even compared to the older cartoons.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Almost inevitable, given how many different versions there have been
  • Love Freak
  • Love Redeems: Or caring redeems, but Dark Heart became Cristy's friend in the second movie, and he felt so bad about nearly killing her, that it drove the evil out of him.
  • Make a Wish: In one episode, Grumpy gets an eight-leaf clover that can grant him three wishes.
  • 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 attempts to record her scream, and the tape recorder explodes.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The first two films introduced new or revamped characters in conjunction with their toy line debuts: the Cousins in the first, and the whole gang's baby selves in the second.
    • There are plush toys for bears from Adventures in Care-a-Lot that had maybe two lines on the show at most, if they even got to speak at all.
  • Minion with an F In Evil: Beastly from the series; the similar Tweedles from the third movie.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Songfellow Strum, at least for the viewer.
  • Nobody Poops: Well, of course, but Adventure in Wonderland actually goes so far as to show us the inside of Grumpy Bear's bathroom, which has everything you would expect except for a toilet. No wonder he's so cranky.
    • Even in the second movie's "I Care For You" song, all the diapers they changed seemed perfectly clean.
    • He's a bear. He craps in the woods.
      • Except there doesn't seem to be any woods nearby, either. Does he have to sail all the way to the Forest of Feelings to relieve himself?
  • The One Who Wears Shoes: Brightheart Raccoon, in the Nelvana series.
  • One-Winged Angel: In Care Bears 2: The Next Generation, Dark Heart turns into a big ol' heap of Super Smoke.
  • Padding: The first Sequel had a musical number at the end that was pretty much just there to make sure it fulfilled the bare minimum for screentime. The song itself was over six minutes long and over half of it consisted of endlessly-repeated chorus (obstensibly to cover the end credits).
  • 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.
  • Portrait Painting Peephole: Frostbite does this to spy on the Care Bears in the "Freeze Machine" special.
  • The Power of Friendship: Yup.
  • The Power of Love: Uh-huh.
  • The Power of Rock: That one too. (As an aside, have you noticed that these "Power Of" Tropes seem to be the Holy Trinity for 80's cartoons?)
    • Grams Bear plays an electric guitar in one episode.
  • Princesses Rule: Princess Starglo, who is the "mother of all stars", yet is not a queen.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Professor Coldheart, Frostbite, and Auntie Freeze. Then later, Shreeky and Beastly, who also serve as a two-person Terrible Trio.
  • Real Dreams Are Weirder: In the Adventures in Care-a-Lot TV series, all the Care Bears share a dreamspace where they tend to have rather mundane dreams (where they do the same things they tend to do in their waking lives), so it was rather refreshing to see the bears having more dream-like dreams in the Share Bear Shines movie.
  • Recycled in Space: One of the oddest examples this side of "Fonzie and the Happy Days Gang". The final season of the original "Care Bears Family" cartoon featured two spinoffs. One was a Recycled IN SPACE Star Trek parody. The other was a Recycled In Prehistoria Clan of the Cave Bear parody. This, friends, is what a Dork Age looks like and the cartoon was canceled soon after.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • Ridiculympics: 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).
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Take a good guess on which side this show lies on.
  • Standardized Leader: Tenderheart Bear is often written as the most generic.
  • The Stars Are Going Out: Princess Starglo turns them all off in Share Bear Shines Movie because without people wishing on stars and believing in her, they just don't have any power, anymore.
  • Sugar Bowl: They live on clouds in an ever happy and sunny world.
  • Super Speed: Swiftheart's power.
  • Swiss Army Tears: They save Wish Bear from (basically) brainwashing in one episode.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Girls are usually pink or purple.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Somewhat justified because the Care Bears are all about getting people to "share their feelings." It's heavily Flanderized in Adventures In Care-A-Lot, though, where the Bears (particularly Share) constantly inform each other just what emotion they're feeling at the time.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The Giving Festival Movie - "Care Power On"
  • Thing-O-Meter: The Caring Meter, as if it could be anything else.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: In the first movie, and it was alive.
  • Verbal Tic: In the Nelvana series, Champ Bear calls everyone "sports fan" no matter what the context.
  • Vile Villain Saccharine Show: The DiC and Nelvana TV series and movies are these.
  • Villainous Friendship : Dark Heart and Christy in the second movie.
  • Villain Song: In the first TV special: "Allow me to introduce myself!/They call me Professor Coldheart..."
    • And from the Adventures in Care-a-Lot movie Oopsy Does It, "Grizzle's Bad."
    • "When I'm the King of Wonderland" in the Wonderland movie.
  • Wasn't That Fun?: In one segment from the "Giving Festival" movie, Oopsy and Wingnut help Trueheart get over her fear of rollercoasters. Part of their method involves riding the ferris wheel first, but they accidentally set the wheel to super fast, sending the wheel spinning at at a terrifying pace. Once they get it stopped, Trueheart seems to be in shock, until she says, "That. Was. AWESOME!" Later, after Trueheart gets over her fear of the Funderbolt, she completely embodies this trope, insisting on continuing to ride after the others have been tired out from riding twenty times.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Adventures in Care-a-Lot has one when a Love Potion goes wrong, turning the other Care Bears into creepy "love zombies" bent on apparently hugging Oopsy to death.