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 "Dashing and daring, courageous and caring,

Faithful and friendly with stories to share,

All through the forest they sing out in chorus,

Marching along as their song fills the air..."

Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears is a truly groundbreaking series by Walt Disney. Although The Wuzzles was Disney's first original animated TV series, that was really a trial run for this series, which almost immediately made the company a dominant force in television animation. Lasting from September, 1985 to February, 1991. A total of 94 episodes.

The show was actually a major gamble for Disney, as it was a very new idea. Disney reasoned that the costs of a high-quality animated show could be recovered in syndication. The gamble worked, and a new era of unprecedented quality in western television animation was born.

The series takes place in The Theme Park Version of medieval time, centuries after the Great Gummis fled across the sea while a small caretaker colony stayed behind in Gummi Glen in the Kingdom of Dunwyn to maintain the civilization's extremely sophisticated infrastructure on the off-chance the Gummis could return to live with humans in peace.

Unfortunately, when the story begins, the Glen Gummis have declined to only six descendants who have forgotten their past skills. Fortunately, they meet a friendly human boy named Cavin who has a Gummi Medallion that unlocks their library's Great Book of Gummi, the essential book of their culture's knowledge. Inspired, the colony decide to rediscover their heritage and help the boy whose kingdom is under dire threat.

That threat comes in the form of Duke Igthorn of Drekmore and his army of really dumb ogres. He is out to conquer Dunwyn and upon discovering that the supposedly mythological Gummi Bears exist, he will stop at nothing to exploit their secrets, like their powerful magic and technology, for his own use. Furthermore, he is but the most frequent of a whole host of enemies that the Gummi Bears and their human allies must oppose.

At the most uncharitable, you could call this series T Ms's (late) answer to The Littl' Bits (as The Littl Bits came out in 1980, this did not came out until 1985), but it's more accurate to call it Disney's/TMS's attempt to show how to do the premise right (as The Littl Bits does have its fans). Apart from obviously lavish animation, the series addressed the major complaints of Tatsunoko's series and the basic ideology of the 1980s; for instance, individuality is celebrated in proper proportion to the value of cooperation and the primary characters are far more nuanced with carefully considered flaws and strengths. Furthermore, the female characters avoid The Smurfette Principle, with multiple characters with strong well-defined personalities who bow to no one.

If you're wondering how they came up with a premise for, of all things, Gummi Bears, as the story goes, Michael Eisner was inspired when his son requested them. True story, straight from That Other Wiki.

Gummi Bears includes examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Duke Igthorn.
  • An Ice Person: Chillbeard the frost giant.
  • Badass and Badass Longcoat: In the episode "For a Few Sovereigns More", Igthorn hires Flint Shrubwood, the best Bounty Hunter in the land, to capture a Gummi Bear. Now, you wouldn't expect a hired gun in a Disney 80's cartoon to be intimidating or even particularly capable, would you? Think again. Flint, frequently referred to as "Stoneface", uses Precision Guided Boomerangs to frightening effect, effortlessly catching Cubbi. When Igthorn attempts to withhold his payment, he is subdued and imprisoned just as easily and ends up buying his own life with the gold. (Flint: "Go ahead. Take my pay.") Seriously, with a more reliable sponsor, this man would become a Hero-Killer.
  • Badass Princess: Calla is definitely working on this.
  • Badbutt: Gruffi.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animals: Zummi, Gruffi and Grammi.
  • Berserk Button/Insistent Terminology/Embarrassing Nickname: Duke Igthorn hates being called "Dukey" by his ogres. They call him "Dukey" nearly constantly.
    • His brother, Sir Victor Igthorn, also has a Berserk Button: Never insult his horse.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In an episode with a wishing stone, a young boy wished to be bigger, he ended up turning into a giant.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: All of the gummi bears had their moments of this.
  • Blind and the Beast: Tummi befriends a blind human woman.
    • Given that Greg Weisman cited Gummi Bears as one of his sources for inspiration in Gargoyles (no, really), she may have inspired the Geoffrey Robbins character.
  • Blind Without'Em: Zummi
  • Bluff the Eavesdropper: In one episode, the king tries to find out a famous chef's secret recipe by listening at the door, which the chef thwarts by reciting absolute nonsense instead of his ingredients. However, this does not thwart Cubbi, Sunni, and Tummi, who are hiding in the kitchen and can write down the actual steps he's taking.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Toadwart (aka "Toadie")
  • Butt Monkey: Toadwart, the smallest ogre, took the most pain out of any character in the series.
  • The Cameo: Two Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck wodden figurines can be seen briefly during one of the first episodes.
  • Chained Heat: An episode with Igthorn and Cubbi.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: Accompanied by Convection, Schmonvection in "My Gummi Lies Over the Ocean".
  • The Chew Toy: Toadie.
  • City of Adventure: Dunwyn.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: In one episode, Toadie gets a suit of armor that makes him invincible in battle.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Gusto. Of course, let's see you spend twelve years on a Deserted Island with only a toucan for company, and see how sane you are when you finally escape.
  • Cool Big Sis: Calla to Sunni in a surrogate way.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Tummi.
  • Daddy's Girl: Sunni seems to have this relationship to Gruffi.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gruffi in particular, Grammi tends to repay him in kind.
  • Diet Episode: In "The Oracle", Tummi Gummi gets put on a diet after sneaking a midnight snack.
  • Disney Princess: Calla isn't officially considered one by Disney, due to their conceit that they should not be promoting their past TV cartoons, but she is a princess in a Disney cartoon. She even dresses like Snow White sometimes.
    • Princess Marie is also "a princess in a Disney cartoon".
  • Duck: In a scene where a fish goes flying through the air, one of the characters yells "Duck!", and another character remarks, "That's not a duck, it's a fish." either before or after getting it in the face.
  • Dumb Muscle: The Ogres definitely fall under this category.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Gummi Glen has an unusually realistic take on such a habitat and the various tasks necessary to maintain it and the consequences of neglecting it is a source of story material.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Duke Sigmund Igthorn.

 "Siggy Soggy-Pants!"

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