The Berenstain Bears And Too Much TV: BITCH PLEASE.


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Let me just say that my kids have had back-to-back Spring Breaks and I haven’t been able to get anything done beyond keeping them alive for two weeks.  So today I’m sharing one from last year with you.  But it just happens to be my favorite of my posts ever.  Let me know if you agree with my assessment.

Today, we’re taking a little spin on Ninja Mom’s Character Assassination Carousel with a family of beloved bears.  As is traditional with this fun little project, the bears will not come out unscathed.  Although it’s mostly that bitch, Mama Bear.

The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV

My 5-year-old child has an extensive library of books that we both love.

THIS is not one of them.

Ninja Mom's Character Assassination Carousel, The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV

www.toulouseandtonic.com @toulouseNtonic

The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV is one of a series of books that my child and his grandmother love.  She because she read all of them with her son (my husband).  And my child because a 5-year-old generally has terrible taste in just about everything.

The Berenstain Bears books are full of tidy lessons.  Don’t watch too much TV, tell the truth, respect your elders, clean up your messy room, buy honey at the store instead of looking for it in the woods with your bumbling idiot of a father…

It’s all very preachy-preachy.

But fine.  Kids have to pick this stuff up from somewhere and there are people who prefer shitty books to the Brady Bunch.

But the thing is, this book is not as neat and tidy, and goody-goody as you think it is.

What The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV is really teaching us is not even in the book.

It’s in the subtext.

Each BB book begins with a sing-songy poem.

Here we find out what the book is about on the surface: watching TV all day long is bad for you.

But more importantly, we find out that, even though Mama wears nothing around the house all day long except a heinous, match-matchy mu-mu and unbelievably old-fashioned pioneer-style elasticized night-cap, somewhere underneath all that cheap blue polka dot Raggedy Ann-ass material, what she’s really wearing is THE PANTS.

The book opens on an idyllic Spring day – birds are singing, fish are jumping and the air is sparkling clean.  All is in its rightful place.  Including Mama Bear in the kitchen, cheerfully making an after-school snack for her delightful cubs.

Or is she?

Pay no attention to the pleasant tone of the writing here.  What you really need to look at is Mama Bear’s face.

Mama Bear “enjoying” making milk and cookies for her cubs.

Mama Bear is stone-cold PISSED.

You can tell by the scowl on her face that her family is on her LAST DAMN NERVE.  There’s a strong chance she’s PMSing too.

She’d much rather be at her Quilting or Gardening Club (aka drinking mimosas at Mrs. Panda’s house) than sneaking pureed cauliflower into homemade chocolate chip cookies and pitting up in her peter pan-colored tent-dress than in this hot damn kitchen.

And as she clearly expects, Brother and Sister Bear have the audacity to not only run through the kitchen, grab their snack and head straight to the TV without so much as a thank-you ma’am for pissy old Mama Bear…they also throw all their shit on the ground the second they walk in the door.

Minutes later, the kids and Papa Bear are parked in front of the TV in a moronic trance.

Mama Bear goes in, crosses her arms and just gives them that BITCH-FACE.

After not one of them even notices her, SHE HAS HAD IT UP TO HERE WITH THIS SHIT!

Mama Bear announces, “The whole Bear family is watching too much TV!”

That’s what she says, but if you read between the lines, it’s more like: “If you wanna see a Nutty Bear Show, I’ll show you a Nutty Bear Show, ungrateful little bastards, run in and grab my cookies, baking all day, can’t even say thank you, sitting on your fat asses, give me that remote, I’ll show you, throw that thing right out the window…”

Next, Mama spends some quality time obsessing over how the TV became more important than her in her own damn house.    And also wondering how she ended up with a big old tacky satellite dish sticking up from the top of her tree house like some fricking redneck Ozark bear.

We shoulda gotten the DISH.

Then she locks herself in the bathroom with a xanax and a bottle of wine and starts romanticizing all kinds of stuff that never happened, like lively family dinner table conversations and her kids jumping ropes with butterflies.

Bitch PLEASE.

Mama Bear files her claws, comes back out, stands in front of that damn idiot-box and shuts. that. shit. down.

No TV for a whole week.

Which, by the way, is the kind of parenting move that mostly punishes the parents.

Before the cubs can really kick up their protestations, Papa Bear steps in and backs up his woman.  “No TV for a week is an excellent idea…Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a sports show I want to watch.”

The text very reasonably, albeit firmly, shows Mama saying, “No TV for a week means you, too.”

But her face and finger on his collar are saying “Aw, HELL to the NO, you son of a bitch. I RULE your ass.”

Papa wants to know how he’ll keep up with what’s going on in the world if he can’t watch the TV news.

“Here, try this” (YOU DUMBASS) says Mama.  “It’s called the newspaper.”

“And the weather!” continued Papa.  “How will we know what the weather will be?

“Try this,” (AND TRY NOT TO FUCK IT UP LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE) said Mama.  “It’s called putting your hand out the window to see if it’s raining.”

Even the kids are just standing there feeling ashamed for their pussy-whipped father.

Then as her pill and chardonnay start to kick in, Mama Bear settles into her rocking chair with her eyes closed and a smug look on her face that says, “Begone with you all.”

Hen-pecked Papa knows he’s beat.  He rolls his eyes and gives the cubs a look that says, “When your Mama gets her panties in a wad…”

So the whole family, every one of whom lives by the saying “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” humors her for a few days, riding bikes, looking at the stars, pretending to care about boring things like what bats eat for breakfast and the crappy stuff at the Bear Country Mall.

They all join together to cock-block bumbling idiot Papa Bear every time he tries to sneak a peek at the TV.

And by week’s end, they’ve restored balance to the Bear family.

Mama is feeling her completely sanctimonious old self.  Brother and Sister Bear have their TV back but are smart enough to pretend they still prefer knitting and 1980s cube puzzles to “The Bear Stooges.”  And after sitting inches from the TV all day long with his hand down his pants, “even (DUMBASS) Papa Bear had enough…”

All’s well that ends well in Bear Country.

Until Mama Bear gets her granny panties in a wad for the next book.  And there are about one million of them.  Or at least it feels like it.

If you just can’t wait to climb about the Character Assassination Carousel and take down that piece of kiddie lit you hate love, I’ve got your ticket to ride.  Email Nicole from Ninja Mom blog.

The last blogger on the Carousel was Teri at Snarkfest.

Next up, Pat and Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point

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  1. So.Effing.Funny!!!

  2. Keep it coming. So funny! I want to take down “The Wiggles”! Who are these men????!!!!!!!!!

  3. Just about hurt myself laughing so hard…when I have a bad day with the kids (like every day), I often ask myself what would Momma Bear do?

    BTW I put the tv on so I could read this in peace!

    • Well, now you know exactly what Mama Bear would do. Get sanctimonious and bully everyone into doing what she wants. Oh, and take a xanax and drink some wine. ; )

  4. My three year old is currently going through an obsession with the Bears. They are a sanctimonious bunch. Although I like them slightly better than Curious George.

    • Curious George is preferable to me but neither one of them floats my boat. The only one I’ll willingly watch on TV is Phineas and Ferb. Hey, there you are, Perry!

  5. Oh man, my dad HATED those books when I was a kid, because of what an idiot Papa Bear is in every single book. We weren’t aloud to read them around him.

    This made me giggle. I’m pretty sure it’s been assassinated.

  6. I am LITERALLY snarfing coffee as we speak. HYSTERICAL!

  7. OK, I love Finding the Funny because you never know whose link you are clicking on…I was SUPER excited that this one turned out to be you, and as usual, it didn’t disappoint.

    So f-cking funny! I am with you all the way with the B Bears…we used to watch it on Sprout all the time- my daughter had an awkward and inappropriate crush on Brother Bear.

    I think it is funny that that particular book was one of the Sprout episodes. Kind of a funny message to hear while you are staring, catatonic, at the TV screen.

    Well done!

    • I’d be interested to hear about your daughter’s crush on Brother Bear. Maybe she just felt sorry for him because his mother is such a bitch.

  8. Hilarious, as always!!!!

  9. Loved it! almost laughed out loud (which would have been odd since i’m in the library) I remember this book from when I was a kid… also there was a TV show of all the books too I seem to recall!

    • Shhhhh! When in the library, I highly recommend that silent laughter that shakes your whole body and then gets you so tickled at yourself that you can’t stop. If it leads to peeing yourself just a little bit too, congratulations – you’re a mom!

  10. Brilliant! My sister has often commented that the Berenstain Bears need to go to couples counseling.

    • They so do. But I doubt Papa Bear could ever convince Mama Bear to admit she’s a sanctimonious bitch in couples therapy!

  11. I loved the Berenstein Bears. Until now! Thank heavens my children are older and I don’t have to read one of these every night. Hilarious!

  12. This had me SCREAMING because we have the DVD of this and my husband HATES it. We’ve always added in our own little snarky lines under our breath, but you, my friend, have nailed these bear bastards right between the eyes.

    Must say, I do kinda covet the power Mama Bear has over them all – oh, I’d be drunk with it too. bwahahaha.

  13. Coming in of course from Ninja Mom’s site and found this hysterical. Great character assassination and must agree that as a stay at home mom of two little 16 months apart (#year old and 2 years old), the TV somedays sadly is my best friend. Sorry, but it keeps them quiet and gives me a bit of my sanity back. I read Berenstein Bears back in the day when I was a kid, but now as an adult see it so differently. Such an eye opener, thanks seriously for the well needed laugh this morning!!

    • My pleasure. Maybe now you’ll be able to snicker a little at pussy-whipped Papa Bear whenever you’re forced to read these books.

  14. OUTSTANDING!! Love it when Mama Bear’s a bitch!!!

  15. Haaaa! Amazing post! I used to love these books but it’s been years since I saw one. I’ll never read them the same again. Hilarious!

    • It’s good to know what’s really going on beneath the surface. Just so we don’t aspire to these unrealistic bear standards.

    • That’s good because they’re nefarious! Although they do teach our kids that mama’s always right so maybe I should reconsider….

  16. I’m with you. I think the Bernstein Bears books often depict the dad as a complete idiot without any self control. Certainly not the leader in the house hold. Not our favorite series, that’s for sure.

  17. I haven’t read their books since I was a kid, but omgosh this is hilarious! Now I want to go back and re-read them to see more hilarious undertones!

  18. Soooo funny I had to share. My daugther enjoys this show on Sprout and I probably won’t be able to watch another episode without cracking up to myself imaging an alternate story line… LOL!

  19. Her outside says Little House on the Prairie. Her inside says, “I’ll cut a bitch!” Great C.A.C.! I was trying not to laugh out loud and wake the baby, but, then I was shaking from laughing and STILL woke up the baby. So, thanks for that.

    • Just read it again out loud in the traditional BB voice and the baby will be asleep in 20 seconds.
      I was totally thinking “Little House on the Prairie” when I wrote that shit about that stupid elasticized night cap. LOL.

  20. Slow clap building to a standing ovation. When Erin and I rode the carousel, we tried to roast these snivelling bears, but our hatred was so broad and deep we could not rein that bitch in.

    Great job on boiling it down to its essence- Mama is a stone cold bitch and Papa is an emasculated fool.

    Ellen

  21. WTF? Why am I just finding you now? And are you the long-lost child love child I had with Bill Murray whom I gave up for adoption in..I don’t know…1982? Just checking.

  22. We must have 50 of these Berenstain Bear books, and every one is the same. Starts out with birds singing, bears misbehaving, Papa acting even worse, Mama shaking her finger at them and a lesson learned in the end. I want to see “The Berenstain Bears and Mama files for divorce from her Dumb-Ass Husband.” Now that would be a story worth reading. Just probably not to my kids.
    Cathy Flynn recently posted…Man it Blows! Man it Blows! Man it Blows!My Profile

    • I can’t read them to my kid without seeing the subtext. Momma Bear always looks like she’s gonna shiv somebody!

  23. How did I not see this until now? I always knew that Mama Bear was one bad ass mamma jamma, this just confirms my beliefs. Love it!
    You Know it Happens at Your House Too recently posted…If I Worked at FacebookMy Profile

  24. Love this idea! Too funny. I stopped over as part of Cloudy’s blog hop, and I’m so glad I did. Clicking to follow right now. If you want a good old snarky laugh that you’ll definitely feel guilty about, check me out at http://www.trashyblog.com.

  25. I found you from Cloudy’s blog hop. This was hilarious!
    Julie DeNeen recently posted…What Do You Do On New Year’s Eve?My Profile

  26. Hilarious. I have a general hate on for all the BB books and have managed to keep our bookshelves free of them so far. I remember though when one of the kids found this one at the library… I would have enjoyed reading it to them much more had I had the benefit of your analysis. Thanks for the laugh. (Visiting from Cloudy With a Chance of Wine’s Best of 2012 Blog Hop, Jane Marsh @nothingbtbook)

    • ashersmom says:

      They’d go the way of Calliou if I had any say in the matter. But my MIL loves them and now my son loves them. Sigh. At least I get a giggle looking at Mama Bear’s face and figuring out what she’s REALLY saying.

  27. I feel the same way about Max and Ruby. Ruby is a power bitch. All she does is nag Max. And, where are her parents to stop her being such a Type A bossy snot bag? Ugh.
    Tracy @ Momaical recently posted…With Love from the LavatoryMy Profile

  28. It’s amazing how the EXACT SAME THING happens in the junk food book that my child insisted on checking out of the library. I think Stan and Jan may have had some major marital issues. Or Stan just insisted on having his name on the books without actually reading them first.
    Vanderbilt Wife recently posted…Saturday Linky Love 1/5My Profile

  29. YES!

  30. This killed me. Because I can’t stand those bears and it’s basically for all the reasons you just said. Notice in the photo where Mama Bear pulls Papa away from the TV, she isn’t using her hand. She’s using her CLAW. Terrifying. Love this.
    Kirsten Oliphant recently posted…Self Pub Via Kindle Part 4: PromotionMy Profile

    • ashersmom says:

      Mama Bear is a full-on tyrant disguised as a loving mother. Hmmm. Now that I think about it, I know several moms just like her.

  31. As a KGer, there was always a mad rush to the B Bears section at the school library. My poor parents…
    P recently posted…Stupid Ways I’ve Spent MoneyMy Profile

  32. I literally have not been able to read a Berenstain Bear book the same since I first read this post.

  33. Oh. My. God. I know this is more than a year late but honestly, I just came across this via Pinterest and I am laughing so hard I have TEARS rolling down my face. Best post I’ve read in at least 6 months. Thanks for the laugh. Gotta go troll around now and see if you’re still writing…

  34. Andrew Cole says:

    I never thought it was possible for Mama to be more of a cunt than she is in the TV version of this story, but apparently so. We have a few of the books at the house, and our son loves them, but we also watch some of the TV versions as well since it’s free on demand. I hadn’t read the book yet, but found the TV version overbearing (pun intended).

    Anyway, Berenstain bears sucks. They usually teach rotten morals when they aren’t missing the point outright. They are also preachy in more ways than one. While not overtly religious, the messages strike a particularly Christian tone that is unappreciated.

    • Yeah, we’re a multi-faith family around here so it can get a little touch and go with the moralizing and the preaching. I just hate them overall but the boy loves them. Argh.

  35. Francieholden says:

    I think this blog is hilarious! But I must admit that I’m sanctimonious in that way. I have to limit the TV or my little one would watch it all day if she had her choice. I have been successful in keeping it off all day at times and my daughter has grown used to it and we do other things instead. That damn TV! This sanctimonious mom is even thinking about getting rid of it altogether because I like what happens in our house when my little one doesn’t watch it. Piano. Art. Outside play. I say right on for the sanctimonious bitch of a bear! We all gotta be sanctumonious bitches at some point.

  36. OMG, I love it. Papa Bear IS totally hen pecked. And you also noticed that Mama looks seriously ticked off – and it’s in every book too! I wrote a post about these irritating, preachy stories a while back. Notice the covers of the books – it’s like she’s about to murder her family every single time. http://aliceatwonderland.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/alice-and-too-much-birthday-cake/
    Alice recently posted…TLC: Extreme Wedding EditionMy Profile

Trackbacks

  1. [...] – The Berenstain Bears: B**** PLEASE Toulouse and [...]

  2. My Real Life says:

    [...] If, again, like me, you’ve read one too many Berenstain Bear books, you’ll love Toulouse and Tonic’s take on one of the books in her post, The Berenstain Bears and Too Much T.V.: Bitch PLEASE [...]

  3. […] Here’s a hilarious blasting by Toulouse and Tonic of the Berenstain Bears, where sanctimony goes to breed. She took down “Too Much TV.” […]

  4. […] also took a turn on the character assassination carousel, but she tore apart a Berenstain Bears book, and I may or may not have peed my pants from laughter every time I read it (which I will admit was […]

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