Zach and Lexi had no idea just how many fictional bears there are, and so today they're digging in like never before! It's the wonderful bears you know and love with fun twists and deeeep rabbit holes along the way.
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW. In this episode we play a game to guess the picks as we go, so if you want to guess along, don’t continue reading this thread yet.
As mentioned in the episode:
Winnie the Pooh, icon of the resistance.
Read all about our old pal Winnie's rise to resistance icon here, or read Mel Magazine's (more recent) article discussing both the history of this phenomenon and its current state.
Smokey (the) Bear, protector of forests and kicker of ass.
Baloo, the ultimate funcle.
If you want to learn more about big ol' Baloo, most of what I learned was from the Disney Wiki page, including the stark differences between movie and book Baloo.
Fozzie Bear, always on and always in our hearts
Same deal as Baloo, most of what I got for Fozzie came from his Muppet Wiki page. Again, please send them fun name suggestions, cause, "Muppet Wiki?" The Muppets deserve better!!
The Charmin Bears, oh god the charmin bears...
There's honestly so much to unpack here, so let me just lay everything out for y'all...
Part One: Introductory Stuff
The Charmin Bears are a family of five bears. The bear family members, as well as their confusing color schemes, are laid out well in the tweets below:
But are there different families ?? Very unclear.
As far as official statements from Charmin, there isn't much. There is a page on Charmin's website claiming to "Meet The Charmin Bears," but it actually gives us no information about the bears themselves.
In 2016, someone asked on Twitter about the red bears and Charmin said:
“When the bears are red, they're indicating the Charmin is strong; when they are blue, it's a sign of soft Charmin.”
12/14/2020, AN UPDATE:
Since the recording and orignial release of the episode, Charmin responded to my DMs! You can see our conversation below.
So it seems like there is not a 100% consistent answer to this question, but also, Charmin isn't really bothered about not having one.
(Also, thank you to whoever at Charmin is DMing be answers to my inane questions!!)
Part Two: Reasons I Hate Them
At its core, my argument against them is this: their entire world revolves around poop, the bathroom, and ass and I find it insufferable. We see this in a number of ways.
First, "The Asshole Inspection." This article which I mentioned in the episode does a tremendous job digging into and explaining this concept, and any attempt of mine to re-explain would just be me copying that article. So, if you're interested, read the article.
Second, Scatological Humor. As witnessed in the tweet thread from their Grand Canyon trip, the toilet world obsession is not confined to a pragmatic cleanliness, this is their very language. Exhibits A-D:
Part Three: Whose Universe is This?
The final crucial piece of information in this case in the very universe in which The Charmin Bears live. This is of dire importance because if they lived in their own universe in which these actions and thoughts were the norm, then that you could make an argument for this being okay. But, not only do they not exist in their own universe, their is a strong argument that this behavior is not even the norm.
First, the universe. It's implied through the Charmin Bears' canon that they exist in our universe, in which this behavior is very much not the norm. The first piece of evidence pointing to this assumption is in their Charmin 2012 Election campain ads.
We see in both the Charmin Ultra Soft Bear's ad and the Charmin Ultra Strong Bear's ad B-roll footage of everyday (human) people, towns, and buildings. Additionally, the ads urge us-- the viewer-- to "vote today on Facebook," not only referencing a platform which exists in our world but proving to us that our votes have a material impact on the lives of these two bears.
In another commercial, Molly and Leonard are seen watching TV when an ad for "Tidy Whities" comes on. The ad stars a (human) woman, meaning that these bears live in and regularly interact with a world of humans.
Second, the norms. There are two instances in which we as a viewer may discern that the customs the bears practice are not the norm for the world in which they live.
The first of these instances happens in a commerical for Charmin Ultra Gentle. In it, Leonard repeatedly runs to the bathroom in front of Molly, who is on a nearby couch reading. At the end of the commerical, Leonard exclaims "Whew, my bottom feels so much better!” To which Molly responds, “TMI buddy, TMI.” Hmm, a little out of character for this family, Molly, wouldn't you say?
The second instance comes in one of the more... intimate commericals. In this ad, the family caresses toilet paper "to a crooning cover of the 1945 love song 'Till the End of Time' featuring the lyrics, 'You'll always be my lover till the end of time.'" Then, with a sudden record scratch, Mama Bear Molly interrupts, "Okay, this is getting a little weird.”
Part Four: In Conclusion
So, based on the overwhelming evidence we're presented with, the conclusion we're brought to is that this is a learned behavior perpetuated by, what I assume to be, a “family tradition” from Leonard’s side. Leonard and the kids follow it unquestioningly because it is all they've known, and though Molly has been indoctrinated into it, there are brief moments of clarity for the Mama Bear.
And so, in conclusive conclusion, these bears have no excuse for the absolutely excessive behavior they exhibit. It is not a product of their universal environment, nor is it the even the norm. It is, simply, sad.
Lexi's small business highlight: