Man vs Bee
The first thing viewers will notice about Netflix comedy series Man vs Bee is how short it is. Comprised of ten ten-minute episodes, this Rowan Atkinson-fronted outing can be digested within the same time it would take to watch most feature-length films. However, going by the first three episodes, it’s unlikely that most audiences would want to stick around for much longer – unless they have small children that need entertaining in short bursts, that is.
Atkinson plays another of his hapless idiots in the form of Trevor Bingley, a bumbling divorcee who’s landed a job as a house sitter for an affluent couple. The home is loaded with smart technology and incredibly expensive possessions, so when an irksome bee arrives on the scene viewers already know exactly what sort of chaos is going to ensue. And herein lies the main issue with this show: Man vs Bee is so derivative and uninspired in its execution that it sucks out any fun that this premise might have offered.
From knocking pricey ornaments off tables to an excitable dog with an upset stomach, viewers have seen these gags a hundred times before. The writers reach for the lowest branch with every punchline without attempting to give the humour a fresh spin. Moreover, when the first episode makes a point of unsubtly setting up most of the slapstick that’s about to commence, there are scarcely any surprises left to be discovered. One quick visual gag in which the bee’s shadow stretches from underneath the bedroom door as if it were an imposing horror villain gets a smirk, though that’s about all the laughs that are there. Even Atkinson’s signature brand of buffoonish comedy struggles to add much joy.
Alongside the destruction, the show has a subplot about Trevor wanting to go on holiday with his daughter. At this point in the series at least, the entire portion of the script seems like an unoriginal way to flesh out a protagonist whose only other characteristic is being hyperbolically clumsy.
The first scene tells viewers that the conflict between Trevor and the bee will escalate to even sillier heights. However, the soulless and predictable nature of the opening three episodes aren’t enough to generate the buzz needed for audiences to stay engaged.
Man vs Bee is released on Netflix on 24th June 2022.
Watch the trailer for Man vs Bee here: