You see, there was this bee… Man vs Bee: The Netflix Show Review

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Man vs Bee takes the subject of obsession with the trivial to a more tangible state than it had been done earlier. Starring Rowan Atkinson, the Netflix show Man vs Bee, with its ‘bite-sized’ episodes, had welcomed mixed reviews from the audience and the critics. A home-sitter in a war with a bee brings a high-tech mansion, homing many valuable antiques and expensive objects into ashes while trying to swat his nemesis, the bee. What adds to the misery of the home-sitter and humour audience are his attempts to hide the disaster he has created from the owners and the police officers. However, on the underlining, Man vs Bee projects what obsession with triviality in humans can lead up to. Moreover, the Netflix show Man vs Bee touches on many emotional points and exemplifies the most commonly used theory of comedy – the Superiority Theory of Comedy. In this review, we’ll dive into viewing how Man vs Bee represents obsession and what all adds to Trevor’s tragic yet comic life.

Judge: “On all 14 counts of dangerous driving, the destruction of priceless artwork – do you have anything to say before you’re taken down?

“Trevor: “You see, there was this bee…”

Beginning of the ruins

Christian and Nina Kolstad-Bergenbatten go on a vacation leaving their most luxurious home to Trevor Bingley, a home-sitter. What made the house so luxurious was the high technology, the valuable artefacts and the vintage automobiles worth millions. On the other hand, Trevor Bingley was a newly employed home-sitter, with no experience in the field except watching his own home. Besides them, there is Cupcake, the pet dog who later on turns out to be much more mischievous and troublesome. 

Christian and Nina leave in a hurry, without explaining their complicated home to Trevor, instead leaving him with a manual. However, in all the hurry, Christian gives Trevor an overview of how much each object of the house was worth, ranging from thousands of pounds to millions of them. Trevor assures them that there was nothing to worry about as he was trained to the BSI404 home-sitting industry standards. However, when the couple leaves, Nina feels unconfident about Trevor. All this while, we see a Bee buzzing around Trevor and him trying to shoo it off.

Finding the home to himself, Trevor calls his daughter informing her that he has managed to get a job which means that they can still go on vacation. While still on call, the Bee appears again and while shooting it off Trevor mistakenly hits a statue and it falls, breaking its head. Terrorized, he tries to fix the head with the rest of the statue with glue which was successful after a couple of attempts, though now the value of the object was brought down from thousands to zero. 

That, however, was just the beginning. As Trevor begins to explore the house, trying to understand the mechanism of the cupboards and drawer, the bee continues to buzz over his head, causing a chain of troubles for him and further adding to the comedy and tragedy of the season.

Why was it Compulsory to kill the bee?

While watching the season, it occurred to me quite often why somebody would prioritize a bee over their job. Who uses fire to kill the bee or how can someone not see the Kandinsky while chasing the bee? Well, that’s what obsession can lead to.

Obsession has been defined as a thought, image or idea that penetrates into a person’s conscious mind, distracting them from doing what is important and sometimes even obstructing their daily chores and rather deviating their mind to something utterly trivial causing the smallest inconveniences, if at all. To other people, these small inconveniences might not affect them, they might not even count them as noteworthy. Obsession must be accepted as a grievous mental condition and requires to be diagnosed and dealt with at the earliest or it would result in becoming the cause of mass destruction – like a million-dollar house put to flames.

In medical terms, such obsession is referred to as OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Obsession is caused by thoughts that trigger someone causing them distress and uneasiness in conducting their day-to-day activities. Compulsions are activities carried out in order to get rid of the obsession. Some might feel it a compulsion to place cushions at equal distance, to some it might mean arranging books in height order, and so on and so forth, or else it would cause them uneasiness. 

As humans, we are all, more or less, obsessed with one thing or the other, like choosing cleaning items of the same colour etc. However, when the obsession begins to obstruct someone from meeting their priorities, distracting them to trivialities, it becomes OCD. For Trevor, the Bee had been his obsession, getting rid of it was a compulsion, so much that Trevor would overlook his responsibility of house-sitting, damaging all the valuable objects and wouldn’t care to think twice about it. 

The couple leaves Trevor with a handbook, a manual that explains the entire mechanism of the house. No sooner they leave, than Trevor, unmindfully, puts the handbook on the gas stove and begins to prepare soup for himself. But he turns the wrong burner on and further gets distracted by the bee eventually losing the most important thing – the manual now reduced to ashes. That is when he begins to see the bee as his antagonist.

In his madness, he breaks the valuable artefacts, dismembers the statue, crawls in the chimney and tears apart the paintings on the wall. His preoccupation with the bee, lets the dog break into the Christian’s office and tear the illuminated manuscript worth millions into pieces. In his unmindfulness, he doesn’t even notice the burglars breaking into the house and staying for the night. In a similar neglect of his actions, Trevor creates the most poisonous gas he could to suffocate the bee; only he neglects Cupcake who has also entered the same place as the bee. 

Recall the scene where Trevor is chasing the Bee with a blender just under the Kandinsky worth 80000 pounds. All he could see before his eyes was the dancing Bee and not the artefact hanging overhead. The worst happens – the blades of the blender entangle with the object creating a knot. 

Trying to kill a bee that is annoyingly buzzing overhead is a natural human instinct, but for Trevor, it had become more than that. It had become a mission to be accomplished – so much that he goes to the extent of making a bomb and planting it in the small wooden box and blowing it. 

The bitter-sweet relationship

Poor Trevor is caught among the stubborn dog, the villainous Bee and the complexity of the highly-secured house. The character of Trevor makes us feel sorry for him as we know that the main purpose for his doing the job was to go on a vacation with his family. Though we know, looking at the house and the inexperienced home-sitter, that this dream of his is hard to fulfil, we hope that all goes fine.

Man vs Bee shows the bitter-sweet relationship between Trevor and the Bee. Trevor was already in grave trouble but his intention initially wasn’t to kill the bee, in fact, when he captures the bee, he releases it in the open. But even then, the bee only rushes back to the house failing all attempts. Following that, Trevor now decides to kill the bee and captures it in the vacuum cleaner, beats the dust bag with Christian’s Global Finance Innovative Award, and burns the bag to ensure the bee is dead. As a ritual, he also sheds a few tears at the funeral of the bee, only he doesn’t know that the bee is still alive. There also comes a point when Trevor feels sad for the bee thinking it to be as lonely as himself but that emotion doesn’t last even a minute long. 

On the other hand, the bee is personified and projected as a villain. When Cupcake gets captured in the office and the bee comes face to face with Trevor, we can almost see the face of the bee, its large eyes challenging Trevor. Later on, when Trevor is locked outside and the bee makes its swift move inside the house, it again comes face to face with Trevor. It is shown as if the bee uses its cognitive thinking to beat Trevor – like the scene when it comes out of the vacuum cleaner as if it was hiding there on purpose. Many times, we see Trevor through the eyes of the bee. Its target is clear and its attacks are direct. 

Nostalgia wrapped in Comedy

Production of comedy is known as a clever approach to storytelling. Furthermore, bringing comedy through situations that are difficult for the character but laughable for the audience is much more complex. Here, the Netflix show Man vs Bee exemplifies the Superiority Theory of Comedy in which the audience is made to laugh at the miseries of the character. It makes the audience feel superior to the character. Coming from ancient Greek drama, this theory has been repeatedly used in TV and films, especially in the slapstick comedy genre. Had we been in such a situation as Trevor, damaging the statue or the painting or rubbing our faces in dog poop wouldn’t have been funny at all, but while watching Man vs Bee, that’s what we laugh at. 

About Man vs Bee what some feel is that it is merely an extension of Mr. Bean with the same comedy techniques. However, to some, it is that very old style of his comedy and tragedies that makes the whole season all the more interesting. The story of Man vs Bee was somewhat predictable, however, the plot is what we watch the season for. Nonetheless, the Netflix show Man vs Bee is definitely going to make the audience feel lighter after a long hectic day, especially the ones who have grown up watching him as Mr Bean. Thanks to the iconic style of Rowan Atkinson and his slapstick comedy which always leaves us with a nostalgic half-smile in the end. 

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Ishika21

A nonchalant and evasive exterior acting as a smokescreen for my stubbornly volatile and sensitive self; you'll mostly find this homo sapient avoiding any and every chance at social interaction.
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Ishika21

A nonchalant and evasive exterior acting as a smokescreen for my stubbornly volatile and sensitive self; you'll mostly find this homo sapient avoiding any and every chance at social interaction.

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