Smokey Bear is supposed to communicate an important message about wildfire safety. But viewers were talking about his balloon at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for a totally different reason this year: his looming, brawny, unsettling hotness.
As the giant floating bear floated over the streets of New York City Thursday, spectators took to social media to ask why the iconic shirtless character had been made to look unusually swole this year with particularly bulging pec muscles.
As one Twitter user write: “Since when is Smokey Bear Zaddy bait?” Another asked simply: “Why is Smokey Bear trying to look sexy?”
WHY IS SMOKEY BEAR RIPPED ?? AND WEARING SKINNY JEANS?? 😭😂#MacysThanksgivingParade
— !Megan! (she/her) (@morethanpilots) November 24, 2022
SINCE WHEN IS SMOKEY BEAR ZADDY BAIT pic.twitter.com/dh7DSjezCc
— Chaos Goddess she/her (@yourbirdgirl) November 24, 2022
i feel like they make the smokey bear balloon just a little more zaddy every year pic.twitter.com/d8g3vYKbWF
— Alex Lawson (@AlexxLawson) November 24, 2022
why is smokey bear trying to look sexy
— ava the holly jolly ghost (@vangoghwrld) November 24, 2022
Smokey bear is looking reaaaal good this year
— 12 digit grove (@cgrove13) November 24, 2022
Created in 1944, Smokey Bear has served as a stalwart public service announcement about the dangers of unplanned wildfires ever since. With his slogan—“only YOU can prevent forest fires”—Smokey has raised awareness about a problem which continues to destroy wildlife and infrastructure on a mind-boggling scale. Over 62,000 fires have burned more than seven million acres in the U.S. this year alone, according to National Interagency Fire Center stats.
But as the necessity of wildfire safety has increased, so too has Smokey Bear’s hotness. Despite being originally designed to have a body similar to that of an actual bear, the character’s appearance inadvertently dropped ursine realism in favor of a leaner, voluptuous look in a 2007 redesign, according to Slate.
Even so, it seems some people are still unnerved by the sight of a ripped Smokey Bear a full decade-and-a-half later:
Why is the Smokey Bear balloon kind of a dilf🧐
— Lennon Aragon (@lennon_aragon) November 24, 2022
Smokey Bear looks buff. I will prevent forest fires Mr. Bear. Promise. #MacysThanksgivingDayParade
— Erin Leigh Waller (@erinleighwaller) November 24, 2022
why does smokey bear have pecs i’m so uncomfortable 💀 #MacysParade
— chloe is doing this again🐀🎗 fan acct (@frogsanddinos) November 24, 2022
smokey bear hasn’t been skipping chest day, that’s for sure
— Sean Kennedy, MPH (@phealthsean) November 24, 2022