Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Korean in We Bare Bears

I've been meaning to post about this since it aired. We Bare Bears is a really delightful Cartoon Network show that started this year. It's about three adopted bear brothers: Ice Bear, Grizzly and Panda who navigate living together and being a part of human society. One of their good friends is a young girl named Chloe, who is Korean-American.

chloe sits in a classroom full of diverse college students.

According to a recent Washington Times article, "English isn't (the) main language at home for 21 percent in America." Despite this, it is shockingly rare to hear other languages in kids cartoons, unless it is an educational language cartoon (like Dora the Explorer).

When the three bears visit Chloe's family, we hear them speak Korean. It's isn't translated for the viewer, they use this to set up two different joke. One is for the viewer, like Panda, who doesn't understand Korean. The other is for the viewers, like Chloe and her family, who do. By allowing the joke to be framed both for native and non-native speakers no one is "othered." Everyone get's to be in on an aspect of the joke. It is so refreshing to see a show reflect the actual diversity of our country.