Have been increasingly unsure what to make of "The Beary Family" cartoons as an overall series, whether to stand by my initial statement of for Walter Lantz Studios' final series it not being as bad as anticipated or judging from the awfulness of the worst cartoons to take it back. Sorry if this sounds confusing.
Due to that there are some decent or watchable "Beary Family" cartoons, especially 'Fowled-Up Birthday' and 'Mother's Little Helper' (both directed by Jack Hannah, who generally is a much stronger animation director than Paul J. Smith and his cartoons much better). However, there are also a fair share of horrible ones, beforehand especially seen with 'Charlie's Mother-in-Law'. 'Charlie in Hot Water' is more an average "Beary Family" cartoon but is one of the more watchable efforts. Not one of the series' best, a long way from being one of the worst either, top middle is more like it.
Like many 60s-onward Lantz-studio cartoons, the animation is not good. Time and budget constraints shows in a lot of the animation, which is very rushed looking in the drawing and detail wise it's on the simplistic and careless side with colours that lack vibrancy and a fair share of goofs. The story is pretty slight and contains few surprises and could have benefited from feeling a little less noisy and at times tighter timing.
As tiresome it might be to some for me to rag on against Bessie, she has nearly always been an annoying character and her treatment of Charlie makes her a very difficult character to like, one actually questions what Charlie ever saw in her and why he hasn't left yet. Was expecting an ending that was predictable and mean-spirited, and wasn't let down. Junior is not a bad character when the series actually makes an effort to show his well-intentioned side rather than just show his dumb half-witted one, but he is a very bland character here and there was not much point at all to him being there.
However, the music puts one in a good mood and is rousing and lush. Am liking the main "Beary Family" theme more with each cartoon of theirs.
For a Smith-directed "Beary Family" cartoon, while never hilarious or innovative some of the gags are amusing regardless of the easily foreseeable outcomes. Charlie's dialogue amuses and anybody can relate to his struggles.
Charlie as always is the best, most amusing and most interesting character, and is often in the series the only likable and rootable one. It is very easy to relate to and like him, and Paul Frees' deft voice work helps a lot. Grace Stafford has little to do though.
In conclusion, watchable but average. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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