While Grumpy’s now cheerful, he’s a terrible cheerleader.

In 2012, the Care Bears — a beloved 1980’s group of animated characters — each associated with different feelings, characteristics or situations, received a reboot in the form of a new animated series called: Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot which trims down the wide cast of bears to Tenderheart (David Lodge), Share (Stephanie Sheh), Grumpy (Doug Erholtz), Funshine (Michael Sinterniklaas, The Venture Bros.), Harmony (Nayo Wallace, Speed Racer) and Cheer (Patty Mattson). The bad guy though he’s more of a mischief maker than anything else is Beastly (Doug Erholtz), also a carryover from an earlier incarnation. And the new bear on the block is little Wonderheart (Michaela Dean), Tenderheart’s niece who serves as the audience surrogate.

Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot — Share Your Care brings together three episodes from the series. Episodes are detailed as follows:

“Feeling Flu” — When everyone but Harmony and Tenderheart get struck by the feeling flu it causes the Bears to exchange personalities with one another, including Beastly. Now they must make a trek to the Moody Mountains in order to find the herb which will cure them all or else they risk remaining altered forever.

“Share Squared” — When Share discovers an ability to multiply things she unwittingly multiplies herself and must track her doppelganger down before she causes havoc by trying to help too much. Meanwhile, the rest of the bears are torn when Hayden introduces her twin sister Jaden to everyone, and they begin to fight over which of them is actually the Bears’ friend.

“More Fun with Grumpy” — Funshine is super stoked to meet Aiden until he discovers he is bound to a wheelchair. Unable to see how it would be possible for the two of them to have fun together Funshine starts avoiding everyone.

So these episodes are loosely tied together by the idea of not acting like yourself. That is, if you also apply a loose definition to what not acting like yourself means. But these bears are harmless and, while I might wish for the broader pantheon of Care Bears I grew up with, there are some lessons worth learning within these episodes. For example, an overall adjustment in your attitude towards your siblings, knowing when to ask for help, and appreciating your own abilities. Plus, one of the episodes features a kid in a wheelchair, a site quite rare in children’s programming today. It’s worth noting especially if you’re looking for a way to help your little one understand other people’s differences.

If you’re not looking to broaden your kids’ horizons but rather merely satisfy the urge for more caring and sharing you will be pleased to know there aren’t too many episodes here so if you’re not a fan of the Care Bears but your little one is at least you can take solace in the fact that there’s just over an hour you have to put up with.

As with the other releases of the Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot series, vivid colors dominate the 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer. The fur sometimes reminds me of the kind found on a stuffed animal as opposed to the real thing. The audio is a simple Dolby 2.0 track and, though there isn’t a full soundscape, the target demographic isn’t going to find issue with it…though you might if you want a disc that’s going to push your system to its limit. The lone special feature is an Ultraviolet digital copy.

In small doses, this incarnation of the Care Bears can strike a sentimental chord, making me want to hug everyone in sight. However this release is middle of the road though it does feature an issue not too often tackled in kids’ programming. So if you’re looking for an out-of-the-box episode nestled in among other positive life lessons Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot — Share Your Care might find a home with you.

THE VERDICT

Not guilty.

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