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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
The Bear in the Big Blue House: Tidy Time with Bear (1997)

"You can be whatever you want to!"
- Bear

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: July 03, 2002

Stars: Noel Macneal, Peter Lina, Vicki Kenderes-Eibner
Other Stars: Jim Kroupa, Tyler Bunch, Lynne Thigpen
Director: Various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:12m:21s
Release Date: May 07, 2002
UPC: 043396081550
Genre: educational

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B+AB+ C-

DVD Review

Bear in the Big Blue House, from the same creative team at Henson that made Muppets a staple of a pre-schooler's education with Sesame Street, is an excellent PBS series focused on teaching young children simple concepts about family life and the world in general. Bear, a large, amazingly detailed Muppet, leads a brood of various animals that live inside the Big Blue House. Each episode, the gang tackles a specific educational issue, teaching through examples, clips of real kids talking, and many catchy songs. Adults should enjoy watching the show with their kids, as a lot of the dialogue features subtle nods to an older viewing audience (such as one character's lament about moving heavy furniture: "Why did I choose mahogany?").

Tidy Time with Bear collects three episodes that deal with teaching kids about keeping things neat around the house. In the first, Working Like a Bear, Bear is curious about what it means to have a job and to do work. He sings about unusual jobs, like an astronaut or a fireman, but also highlights the more normal things like cleaning the floor and shopping (his little mouse friend seems very busy!).

In Woodland House Wonderful, Bear and friends discover that their house will be featured in the "Woodland House Wonderful" magazine. The only problem? Everything is a mess! Everyone has to help out in getting the place clean in time for the photographer's arrival. The songs are especially cute this time around, as all of the animals work together to get the floors clean, the dishes washed, and the vacuuming done.

Finally, We Did It Our Way shows just how important teamwork can be. Bear and friends have to make a pie for Dr. Hog's visit, and they have to work together to make sure they do everything just right to get it done in time. Various other little tasks also pop up that require teamwork and togetherness. This is probably the funniest episode on the disc (I love when the Otters realize that they have abnormally short arms), with everything going wrong before it goes right, and lots of petty bickering between the animals, even if it doesn't exactly fit the theme of the disc.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: These transfers look really good. Colors are rich and saturated, print quality is very good, and no artifacts or edge enhancement is obvious. Kids will be drawn to the bright, sometimes eye-popping colors.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Spanishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The DD 2.0 mix is fairly plain, but perfectly suited to this kind of material. The front soundstage carries all of the action, with dialogue always clear and the mix expanding out a bit during the frequent musical interludes.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 3 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Kermit's Swamp Years, DragonTales, Jay Jay the Jet Plane, The Trumpet of the Swan
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. 4 Sing-A-Longs
Extras Review: The extras package included isn't bad. Four sing-a-longs (Everybody in the Tub, Brush Brush Bree, Clean Up the House, and Get It Together) include karaoke-style lyrics. Bonus trailers are included for Kermit's Swamp Years, DragonTales, Jay Jay the Jet Plane, and The Trumpet of the Swan.

You have the choice of selecting an individual episode to play, playing them all, or playing them all in a continuous loop. On the down side, each episode has only one chapter stop. English subtitles are also included.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

Kids love Bear in the Big Blue House on TV, so why not give the very nicely presented DVDs a try? I mean, they are going to be watching it again and again anyway, so why not go digital at an early age?


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