I have no issue at all with bees; bees are lovely. However, during the warmer months, when flies are constantly finding their way into the house, I can’t help feeling that they have it in for me, which can cause me to get a little… cranky. Why else would they repeatedly buzz around me instead of heading out to the wide-open back door or one of the many open windows that they came through if it wasn’t down to the fact that they’d much rather just annoy me instead? And so, when I saw the trailer for Man vs Bee, starring Rowan Atkinson, I felt the pain experienced by having a small intruder in your home that just won’t leave. I knew this show was for me.
Man vs Bee starts by showing us exactly where the events of the series end up – with Trevor (Rowan Atkinson) in court while a judge recounts the 14 counts of reckless driving, destruction of property and arson that he is being charged with. Flashbacks are shown of Trevor, with a crazed look in his eyes, flames all around him as he wields a flamethrower in someone’s house before showing us Trevor inflicting damage on a rather expensive car. Back in court, Trevor’s daughter and ex-wife look on, as do the owners of the property that Trevor has ruined, their expressions turning to joy as the guilty verdict is delivered. As well as offering a humble apology, the only defence that Trevor can offer is – “there was this bee…”.
Heading right back to the beginning of the story, we see Trevor arriving at a very expensive-looking house for his first assignment working for Housesitters Deluxe. As he presses the gate entry button, he swats away a bee that’s buzzing around, but it doesn’t get the message, deciding instead to follow him inside.
Homeowners Christian (Julian Rhind-Tutt) and Nina (Jina Lusi) are in a rush to leave for their holiday, so they have to give Trevor a very quick overview of their fancy home while they carry out some last-minute packing. The couple’s sheepdog, Cupcake, will be staying at home, so Trevor also receives some instructions on how to care for him. Christian shows Trevor his very expensive classic car in the garage as well as the expensive art and collectables that are inside their home, some of which are actually kept in a library that has its own security locking system! The keypad locking and unlocking codes are relayed to Trevor, along with an easy (for them, not for anyone else) way of remembering them. But not to worry because they’ve left a manual for Trevor in the kitchen, which contains instructions for all of the tech found within the home. Obviously, out of all the nice things that we know are going to get ruined, you just know that the manual is going to be the first to suffer…!
Left on his own, Trevor gets off to a bad start and is managing to do a pretty good job of bungling his new role before the bee even gets involved. Unfortunately for Trevor, though, he makes the mistake of trapping the nuisance bee under a glass in the kitchen and war is declared.
Man vs Bee makes great use of Rowan Atkinson’s comedic talents and is packed full of moments where you find yourself screaming out “why did he just do that?!”. It’s fair to say that if you’re a fan of Mr Bean or silly humour in general, then you’ll find plenty to enjoy, whether it’s watching Trevor try to apply some creative repair work to torn paintings and damaged artefacts or setting up elaborate traps that are reminiscent of classic Tom and Jerry episodes. However, the cute and fluffy bee, who can quite easily leave the house at any time should he so desire, somehow always manages to get the better of Trevor. Unfortunately, this does often mean that poor old Cupcake bears the brunt of something that was intended to harm the bee instead.
It’s only 9 episodes long, each episode varying in length between 10 to 12 minutes, which is just about the right length, to be honest. There’s a subplot involving a group of burglars, and every so often Trevor calls his daughter on a video call, updating her on his new job and promising to take her away on a camping trip soon, but otherwise, it’s all just man vs bee. Amazingly, the final episode manages to not only wrap everything up nicely but also introduces us to a few random twists and turns too, all in the space of 12 minutes!
Man vs Bee will be available to stream on Netflix from June 24
Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.