‘We Bare Bears’ Says Goodbye

The San Francisco-based cartoon ends four seasons of cuteness with a movie.

When head writer Mikey Heller said at Sketchfest that the We Bare Bears would be coming by this summer at the latest, he stuck by that promise. Now streaming on Amazon and Google Play, We Bare Bears: The Movie finally gives the beloved Cartoon Network show the screen time it deserves.

But it’s a little bittersweet. The We Bare Bears movie caps off four seasons of the bears’ quirky shenanigans in San Francisco. We’ll never forget how Grizz, Panda and Ice Bear met T-Pain while sitting in traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge, snuck into the hotel room of K-Pop group Monsta X, or befriended a bagel-obsessed mouse while at a BART station. Created by Daniel Chong, We Bare Bears is a show about three adoptive bear brothers living in a world of rapidly-changing technology and social media, but in a sense, it’s an ode to the San Francisco Bay Area too.

San Francisco is the bears’ home, one they’re torn to leave behind in the We Bare Bears movie. After trying their hardest to become an Internet sensation (a high honor in the 21st Century), the bears accidentally shut down all of the city’s power. People are not happy, especially because the blackout is just one of Grizz, Panda and Ice Bear’s many catastrophic accidents. 

At City Hall, as the bears try to do damage control with what seems to be a police-mandated press conference, a mysterious nature preservationist in a trench coat and black gloves steps in.

“You’ve got a bear problem,” Agent Trout says, his formidable nature illustrated with Marc Evan Jackson’s signature deadpan voice. “And I’m a problem solver.”

Trout wants to throw all three bears in cages, and deport Panda and Grizz to back to China and the Arctic, respectively. But Grizz is not standing for it. From there, it’s a wild escape in their groovy, lava lamp-powered van to Canada, where the bears hope to make a new home. 

At just over an hour long, We Bare Bears: The Movie is short, but it’s sweet and fun — the perfect summation for four seasons of adventures. It moves quickly, but still has its zany sense of humor, and an ultimate message: You can always choose your family. It’s pretty obvious that a grizzly bear, a panda and a polar bear are not immediately related, but that has never mattered to the bears. “We don’t even look alike,” Panda says in a flashback to their childhood. 

“I know! That’s like, the best part!” Grizz says. The three of them promise to be brothers for life. 

It’s sad to see such an iconic series go (especially because that means we’ll never get a resolution to Ice Bear and Yana’s backstory), but a baby bears spin-off is in the works. While we won’t get to see the bears’ future in this eventual series, we know they’ll turn out just fine as long as they’ve got each other.

Grace Z. Li covers arts, culture and food. You can reach her at gli@sfweekly.com or follow her on Twitter @gracezhali.

Photo courtesy of We Bare Bears/Cartoon Network

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