Jayden Ham, Jaba Keh, and Viva Lee on Bringing K-Culture in Nickelodeon’s ‘Bossy Bear’

Based on the popular children’s books by David Horvath, Bossy Bear is now a television series on Nickelodeon. It is produced by Horvath and Sun-Min Kim, the creative team behind the popular plush toys UglyDolls, and gives a deeper backstory for extrovert Bossy Bear (Jayden Ham) and his best friend and introvert Turtle (Jaba Keh) as they go through some fun adventures, including some Korean American-inspired situations like show-and-tell Korean food and making kimchi. 

The young voice actors in the series, Ham, Keh, and Viva Lee (who plays Bossy’s older sister Bissy), were really excited to take on a series that highlighted Korean American stories as well as just overall feel-good lessons for kids. Keh says the show really emphasizes kindness and that’s a clear takeaway for him on the show. Ham points out the major differences between Bossy Bear and Turtle, but yet, they remain the best of friends.

“I really hope that it teaches kids to see past their differences and be friends with another person,” Ham told The Nerds of Color. 

Lee is excited to share with kids Korean culture, including kids who are of Korean descent. 

“I’m just very happy that this show exists so young kids can learn,” said Lee. “And even kids who are Korean can appreciate themselves and see people who represent them.” 

The series also includes an episode on K-Pop, which excites Lee as a singer and a fan of K-idols. In the episode, Bissy wants to be a K-Pop idol and sings for her favorite group. Lee relates so much with fangirling over idols. 

“I love K-Pop,” Lee said enthusiastically. “I don’t know how the show did it. They studied so well — the formula! It sounds like K-Pop. It feels like K-Pop. I love my BTS oppas and Blackpink unnies. I like Sunmi from Wonder Girls, G-Idle, and New Jeans. I like a bit of everything.”

Although Ham doesn’t follow K-Pop as closely, he knows the obsession people have with them. His best friends all love K-Pop and collect photocards, so they really clicked with that episode. Ham is exactly the same, but with his obsession with BTS’ cartoon line, BT21. He owns a few Chimmy items. 

After chatting with the young cast, one thing is for sure. They really love their K-culture and how it presents to young audiences out there. Keh says adding that K-element, particularly the episode on making kimchi, makes the entire experience so much fun. Hopefully, kids will enjoy watching Bossy and his friends and family’s adventures and learn something along the way. 

Check out the full interview below:

Bossy Bear is available on Nickelodeon Jr