Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The Swan and the Bears

Started out a sunny day with the rest of the Care Bears cartoons. One episode in particular stood out to me. "Bully Exposed" brings two kids to Care-A-Lot. Kylie loves to play the ukulele. She's enjoying her time with the Bears...until Madison arrives. Madison bullies Kaylie incessantly, taunting her when she tries to join the Bears' games and breaking her beloved instrument. Madison even goes so far as to threaten Wonderheart, who can't be more than four or five in bear years. It takes Wonderheart filming the threats and a Care Bear Stare to get Madison to reveal why she was behaving so badly.

If only someone could have helped me out like that as a kid. I still spend a lot of time feeling like Kylie. I never know what I do to people. I get scared, and I don't know how to react. If there's one thing I regret, it's that people took 30 years (and several school shootings) to figure out that bullying neither builds character nor is something that should be ignored.

Two more episodes also dealt with variations on dealing with shyness or being different. Harmony, who has been pushing rules at the Bears all day in "Over Bearing," appreciates quiet, polite Peter. That is, until Funshine and Grumpy push sugar at him and tell him that rules don't matter. He ends up running around like a crazy man until Beastly tries to talk him into a prank on Bedtime Bear. Even Peter realizes this goes too far. If Bedtime Bear doesn't get his sleep, he'll be too cranky to help the other bears get theirs!

It's The Baby Bear Who Cried Duck in "Untruth and Consequences." The Bears refuse to listen to Wonderheart's advice on dealing with an exotic baby duck after she makes up obvious fibs to get their attention. They all think that the little girl who just arrives knows what she's doing. They all learn a lesson in telling the truth when, as Peter did, the duck gets too hyper and goes crazy and no one can find Tenderheart to stop it.

Work was busy when I got in and crazy when I left, but pretty quiet for most of the afternoon. It's the middle of the week and the nicest day we've had in months. It was probably as warm as the mid-to-upper 40s, with some wind but not as bad as it's supposed to get. Originally they wanted me to stay an extra half-hour, due to my relief being late. I ended up only being slightly late - they found a college student to go in for me. I would have been fine staying the extra half-hour, but whatever.

I had a nice chat with a former co-worker who is recovering from surgery and her adorable 8-year-old daughter on the way home. It was so nice, we didn't mind standing outside for 20 minutes and talking. They were just coming from the little girl's birthday party.

When I got in, I made Pineapple Spice Cake and watched The Swan Princess. This 1994 animated feature is Swan Lake with a far less tragic ending. Princess Odette and Prince Eric are practically shoved together at birth by their parents, who are hoping to unite their kingdoms. They do finally fall for each other when they're grown, but Eric insults Odette by assuming that all he cares about is her beauty. After her carriage is attacked by the evil Rothbart, she's assumed to be dead by all except for Eric. She's really been turned into a swan. Now, she and her friends Puffin, Speed the Turtle, and Jean-Bob the Frog (who thinks he's a prince) have to convince Eric that this swan is more than it seems...and it'll take a true vow of real love to release her from the spell.

This was a favorite in my family during the mid-90's, due to Odette's strong character, the hilarious supporting cast (gotta love Jean-Bob), and some lush animation. There are at least four direct-to-home-media sequels I haven't bothered with, but you might want to look them up if you really get into this. I how Eric and Odette are set up to be lovers from the start and have known each other all their lives (making this one of the few animated fairy tales prior to Frozen to develop the romance gradually).

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