Berenstain Bears Meet Big Paw

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-by Joshie Jaxon

We open on the home of our titular bears. They’re all standing in the kitchen as Mama is scrying for demons. Alright, she’s not. What she’s actually doing is drizzling a honeycomb over a pan, and trying to read the future. She blows some flour in the pan, and we see the shape of a giant paw. A big paw, if you will. Mama says it’s the legend.
What legend? I am so glad you asked. The Thanksgiving legend states that if the bears become greedy, and unkind to the needy, and don’t show appreciation for nature’s great bounty, that monster of monsters Big Paw will come, and gobble up Bear Country, county by county. How’s that for a legend? Suck it, Linus and the Great Pumpkin.

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As we pan through a dark swamp, we see a welcome sign, with a bird on it. He sees something off camera and freaks out. A giant arm reaches in, grabs the sign, and takes a bite out of it before putting it back. The bird lands back on the sign, and looks down to see a giant paw print. A Big Paw, print if you will. It’s a running gag. Get used to it. The bird calls out, “Big Paw” several times, and heads to town to warn the villagers.

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Cut to Papa on the porch. He takes a step and falls down the stairs. Mama and the cubs look down, as Papa shouts that he told their mother to fix that stair. Life’s not easy for Papa Bear. Geez, first she has to do her divining for the family, now she’s expected to be the handyman too? Careful, Papa. She may realize she can do better. Leaving Mama to get her lazy ass to work, Papa takes the cubs to go check on their crops. As they do, Papa explains how much he loves all holidays. Arbor Day in particular, cause he gets the best wood.

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We reach the gardening area of town, and the voiceover repeats the legend of Big Paw. As it mentions the part about bears being greedy, we notice all the keep out/hands off signs around the various orchards and such. There’s a lone apple in the walkway, and when Sister goes to pick it up, a bear uses a net to snatch it from her, and holds up a sign that reads, this means you. I’m starting to get the feeling that these bears are just begging for Big Paw to come teach them a lesson about appreciation for their fellow man, er, bear.

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Papa gets to Papa’s Private Pumpkin Patch, and as any fan of Gay Geek Gab knows, we love us some alliteration. Anyhow, Papa has three separate padlocks on it. Trying to corner the market on pumpkins there? Elsewhere, the squawking bird from the intro tells a turtle that he saw Big Paw. The turtle tells a hedgehog, who tells a gator, and they all start to flee. Gossip, like a certain pumpkin picking Papa, gets around fast. Papa talks to the kids about snacks, and says his absolute favorite is mixed nuts. Brother and Sister decide they’re gonna go get some for their doting father. Meanwhile, Papa heads back to town with several pumpkins.

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Back at bear manor, bitch bear, I mean, Mama, is busy doing her chores. As she does, she sings about being thankful. Her goldfish is mopping it’s tank, including wringing it out. Cute, but not exactly practical. The parakeet uses it’s tail to dust it’s own cage. How did Mama not have time to fix that damn stair? “We’re thankful which is why we stress, thankfulness.” Not a bad lesson, Mama. There’s commotion outside. The hedgehog that warned the gators collides with Papa and his peck of pumpkins. They all tumble to town. The hedgehog tells Papa about Big Paw being in the nearby Sinister Bog, and the townsfolk begin to panic. Guess where the cubs went to go get Papa’s nuts? That’s right, Mama’s purse. Kidding, they went to Sinister Bog.

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The citizens are all freaking out about Big Paw. Papa says it’s time to militarize. In the bog, Brother comments how Papa will love these. Sister says, yeah, these nuts are really delicious. Start ’em young. I’m terrible. The ground starts to shake, and we see Big Paw stomping through the bog singing to no one in particular. You can have your Sasquatch, your abominable snow man. His name is Big Paw. He supersedes them all. You know what they say about bears with big paws. All his stomping causes nuts to rain down. It is a bear community after all. Sorry, had to. The cubs fall out of the tree they were in, and Big Paw catches them. They wave a goodbye at him, and flee.

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In the village square, all the bears are prepping for war. They went from afraid of the enemy, to let’s strike first. This is 20 years before Dubya took office. Mama tells them to calm their tits. After all, a stranger is just someone that you don’t already know. Um, maybe stranger danger wasn’t an issue in 1980. Maybe there are no cub-nappings in Bear Country. Whatever the case may be, Mama leads a musical number about getting to know strangers and giving them a chance. During the number, we hear loud roars coming from the mountains. Mama still gets her point across. She’s that good.

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Papa says that she may be right, and offers to head up the mountain to check things out. Despite being brave and strong, the cubs come along to force him, I mean help him, up the mountain. Cut to Big Paw sitting by a fire, and still singing to himself. He lets out a mighty yawn, but being on Echoing Ledge, it sounds more like a roar. Thanks to the fire, he’s casting a massive shadow, and that’s what Papa sees when he goes to look. Papa declares that they have to get him, before he gets them, and rolls down the mountain to rally the troops; ignoring the cubs trying to get him to listen.

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Papa whips the town into a frenzy. They prepare skunk bombs, which are skunks on watermelons. Hey, melons work in Plants vs Zombies so why not? There’s also beehive grenades, pitchforks, tennis rackets, mops, the works. Big Paw hears the commotion coming up the mountain, and feels like they came for him. He doesn’t remember what they said, but he just knows they came for him at some point.

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To prepare for the mob, Big Paw stacks up a pile of boulders, and is gonna go bear bowling. That’ll show them. The bears continue to charge, and Big Paw starts pushing the boulders to the edge. With neither side giving an inch, it isn’t until Sister shouted from the ledge, that Papa of the year left them on, that they realized that innocent people can get hurt. There was no one to save the cubs, except for the stranger. Let’s entrust our kids to the guy we had gathered to lynch. But, being the nice, misunderstood, creature that he is, Big Paw saves the cubs for the second time.

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Having realized what horrible monsters they were being, the villagers and Papa speak about how he not only saved the cubs, he saved the mob from themselves. We close on Big Paw and the bear family having Thanksgiving dinner together. The hedgehog chatters in Big Paw’s ear. He reaches down and puts his big thing of nuts on the table, and everyone starts reaching for them, and putting them in their mouths. Goodnight everybody!

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-JJ

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