This Week's Top 10: Fictional Bears
In honor of Paddington 2 arriving in theaters this week, Up All Afternoon used its weekly rankings to ask the question: Who are the best fictional bears?
It turns out that people are extremely passionate about their animated ursine mammals. Here is the official Up All Afternoon Top 10 Fictional Bears!
10. Teddy Ruxpin
Teddy Ruxpin was a toy from my childhood. He looked like a normal teddy bear, but he had a cassette player mounted in his back and a tiny speaker in his mouth (a mouth that moved like a creepy robot). There were a handful of stories that you could buy and have Ruxpin tell you, but you could also just shove any old tape back there, which allowed the bear to regale headbangers with incongruous performances of Slayer's Reign in Blood.
9. Sexual Harassment Panda
Way back in the third season of South Park, Mr. Garrison introduced his class to Peetie the Sexual Harassment Panda so they could learn about the ills of name-calling and bad touching. I don't remember a whole lot else about the episode or the character, but he did have a bizarrely catchy theme song that he performed himself.
8. Snuggle Bear
Snuggle Bear just wants your clothes, sheets and towels to be alarmingly soft. Plus, he himself seems awfully soft. Does that mean Snuggle Bear uses Snuggle on himself? Is that legal? Is that ethical? The answers to both those questions are yes, because Snuggle is a good bear.
7. Rooty the Great Root Bear (A&W)
First of all: That's a hell of a name working at least two different puns. Rooty is a mascot for A&W, which not only delivers delicious root beer but also runs a series of fast food restaurants that had delicious burgers. (I haven't been to an A&W in decades, but I stand by my memory.) I love root beer, and I love bears who look a little bit like squirrels, and I love tuba-based theme songs, so Rooty more than earns his spot.
6. Little John (Disney's Robin Hood)
A good and loyal bear who teams up with a fox to take down a lion. Plus, dude gets pretty philosophical. Honestly, how many bears openly wonder on what side of the hero/villain divide they sit?
Smokey is deeply committed to one thing and one thing only: Encouraging you to properly maintain your campsites and scolding you for casually tossing lit cigarettes among the brush so as not to start forest fires. (As a friend of the show recently pointed out, he's not doing a great job of it, but the aspiration is there.) Plus: Cool hat.
I have no idea why Jim Henson decided the "hacky comic" personality should go to a bear, but it absolutely works. Fozzie's commitment to his craft in the face of a lifetime of failure is honorable, and his undying devotion to best friend Kermit also scores him points. Even when he looks sort of off in the first season of The Muppet Show, Fozzie still resonates.
2. Beary Barrington (The Country Bears)
Sure this movie has only been seen by nine people, and they've all seen it on via my DVD that I've lent them, but the sheer charm and absurdity of the Country Bears universe—and Beary in particular—gets this character this high. Beary is an anthropomorphic bear played by Haley Joel Osment, and he somehow doesn't recognize his own bear-ness. So he goes to learn how to be a real bear, but not a lives-in-the-woods kind of bear, more of a metropolitan bear, which still somehow involves playing in a jug band at Country Bear Hall. Beary's resilience in the face of villain Christopher Walken and the sheer stupidity of the premise has always stuck with me—as has the alternate version of this movie I have in my head wherein Beary ends up falling through a portal into Steven Spielberg's AI and smashes a bunch of his own robo-bear clones to bits. Plus, Beary has to endure shit like this:
1. Baloo (The Jungle Book/Tailspin)
If you're thinking that Yogi or Winnie the Pooh should be up here, I've got news for you: Yogi is a smug thief, and Pooh is only like the sixth most interesting creature in the Hundred Acre Wood (he's certainly better than Rabbit, but who isn't?). All versions of Baloo are great, though I'm partial to the Tailspin iteration. That bear could pilot a damn plane. All Pooh ever did was leave his ass exposed trying to get to honey.