I think I speak for all of us when I say we could use a good laugh today. Have no fear: Mr. Bean is here!
In actuality, it’s just the man who played Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson, who’s back with more goofy goodness to put a smirk on our faces. It may not be the smartest comedy—this isn’t the next Succession or Hacks—but Netflix’s upcoming series Man Vs Bee has entered the arena of new, feel-good entertainment.
The show’s title is also its thesis:. A man (Atkinson) fights a bee. Case closed. But this particular bee happens to be one of the greater evils of the world, hellbent on terrorizing a kind little housesitter. The trauma begins with the man knocking over a precious statue while batting away the bee, and ends with 14 counts of dangerous driving, destruction of priceless artwork, and arson.
After The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window, a series based on Netflix’s own film The Woman in the Window, the streamer seems keen on making kitschy satires about movies that have already been made. Man Vs Bee, oddly enough, appears to be a knock-off of Bong Joon-ho’s Best Picture winning Parasite. A lower class man is trapped in a mansion (looking almost exactly like the iconic Parasite house), and though he tries to have fancy showers and a week of rest, something gets in his way. This time, it’s a bee.
Rowan Atkinson is famous for playing the same type of character over and over again— a dumpy, clumsy, large-eyebrow’d mess with way over-the-top facial expressions. But why mess with a classic role? After Mr. Bean and Mr. Bean Live (did anyone else own every episode of the show, thanks to Costco’s graciously priced box sets?), Atkinson went on to flail around in slapstick movies like Mr. Bean’s Holiday and Johnny English, a riff on James Bond. His voice is so dopey that he was also the perfect fit to play the foolish hornbill Zazu in the original Lion King.
This is all to say: Atkinson is a man who knows his place in society. If he’s chosen to star in Man Vs Bee, it must be for good reason. Let him make you laugh when Man Vs Bee premieres on Netflix on June 24. Even if it’s for the most mindless, inane, silly reason.