Confused Views: Inglourious Bearstuds

It’s officially the poster we’ll be talking about for years. And Matt has a few ideas as to how the unfortunate poster for Yogi Bear came about...

Haha! Look! It looks like the big bear is fucking the little bear! Classic! Wait, what does the tagline say? Oh, God…

Such is the average human response to seeing the new Yogi Bear poster. I assume. I mean, I’ve no data to back this up and am basing the statement on the idea that everyone is at least ten percent as juvenile as I am. But, nonetheless, that’s definitely how people are responding to seeing the new Yogi Bear poster.

Sexualising cartoon characters is really very strange. It’s such an odd and fascinating issue that I’ve got no intention of covering it here in this column. I’m not a researcher, nor am I into facts or offering up interesting opinion. I just wanted to spend my words this week on the poster of the big bear thundering away at the little bear. Plus, if you really want to get into the subject, you have to look into anime, in which I have no interest.

When you send someone with my lack of tact and common sense into the world of anime (where sexualised cartoons, usually school girls, are the norm, or so I’ve gathered from listening to people who have never seen any anime and from the 20 minute clip from Kill Bill that didn’t actually feature the thing I’m describing), I’m going to accidentally insult a rabid and unforgiving fan base. Hell, I want to keep the anime guys onside, even if I do think that what they’re watching is sick and wrong.

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Of course, if we’re to callously and unreasonably write anime fans off as a bunch of lustful perverts, then we should at least take a quick swipe at the degenerate fans of perhaps the most disgusting cartoon of all time. I’m talking, of course, about those who watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The dirty scoundrels who salivate over his animated strumpet wife, Jessica.

Granted, she appears to have been engineered by NASA scientists as the ultimate vixen, but she’s a cartoon. My mind, as warped and grimy as it is, can’t make the connection between the huffing, sticky physical expression of love and a painted approximation of a lady who doesn’t exist.

To be honest, I’m glad. If you could somehow imagine Jessica Rabbit human enough to involve yourself with, or thought the Roger Rabbit world of human and cartoon interaction were plausible, you’d have to confront the nature of her relationship with a rabbit. It doesn’t bear thinking about. Or rather, I have thought about it and the results are not suitable for publication.

So, let’s swing back to the poster. I’m not going to go into the specifics of what’s happening and what it means for society. But I’m curious to know how on Earth a major studio came to release this piece of promo art for a children’s film. What the shitting hell happened?

My guess? One of these things:

1. It was intended as a secret joke, but was considerably less subtle than the studio realised. This seems the most likely to me. I can definitely imagine that the studio who released that Yogi Bear trailer considered us to be empty-minded bumblefarts.

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2. An intern just became a hero amongst his friends. Also, he will never work in Hollywood again. We’ve all done it before. You’re with a group of friends, egging each other on, you take something too far and. before you know it. thousands of people are looking at an animated picture of two bears frantically going at it. It happens.

3. The marketing folk at Warner Bothers genuinely are an innocent/naïve bunch. This would be my favourite. I like to sometimes picture these guys sitting around, tickling puppies and showing each other card tricks. Sometimes they even play a special version of Scrabble, where the only words you can use are the names of flowers. Geranium on triple word score? Woohoo!

I then imagine that, when designing the poster, they screened the movie and were thrilled. It’s silly, harmless fun. Then they sat around making up funny puns that involved bears. They giggled and drank sugar-free soft drinks. They were probably so pleased with the poster that they high-fived.

4. Someone important designed/approved it, and no one wanted to have to tell them that it looks like the big bear is fucking the little bear in the bow tie. No one wants to be the only one in a room full of people making a kids movie looking at the lovely bears on the poster and saying ,”I’m sorry, but all I see is two bears going at it. I mean, they’re clearly having a great time, but that’s what it looks like.”

You’d be denounced as a perverted scumbag and a degenerate bastard.

5. They know that they have a certain amount of guaranteed revenue from ticket sales to children and parents, so they’ve decided to aim some of the marketing at other groups. In this instance, zoophiles.

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6. They’re trying to ease us into the idea that Yogi and Boo Boo have a sexual relationship. That way we won’t be as shocked by the ever so graphic sex scene that appears in the finished film. In 3D.

The thing I really like about poster-gate (a name I chose over bearfuck-gate and ohmygodwhyisthishappening?! -gate) is that it’s harmless. The attention this poster is getting isn’t going to stop parents from taking their kids to see the film. It’s not like it’s going to harm the legacy of a classic movie, either.

The trailer for Yogi Bear was silly and inoffensive, but it really doesn’t look like a timeless masterpiece. It’s trying to be like the recent Scooby Doo film, which is fine. That film featured lots of cheeky references to smoking marijuana. Maybe this time they’re sneaking in some references that Yogi and Boo Boo had something romantic going on.

It’s a pretty tame act of subversion and probably kept the filmmakers interested in what was likely a fairly dull film to produce.

Either way, I’m definitely going to go and see it. Just in case reason number six is right. If it is, I’ll let you know.