Man vs. Bee season 1 review – Rowan Atkinson brings his A game in this light-hearted caper

By Adam Lock
Published: June 21, 2022 (Last updated: January 4, 2024)
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Hilariously entertaining comedy series from the legendary Rowan Atkinson. A simple but effective premise that delivers the utmost humor and havoc.

This review of the Netflix comedy series Man vs. Bee season 1 does not contain any major spoilers.

Rowan Atkinson has made a hugely successful career for himself playing bumbling idiots or devious plotters, with iconic performances as Mr. Bean, Blackadder, and Johnny English. In Man vs. Bee, Atkinson combines these two typecasts from his illustrious filmography for the utmost laughs in this hilarious slapstick comedy. Just like Ronseal, the show does exactly what it says on the tin, with nine short episodes exploring the battles between a fumbling man and a mischievous bumblebee.

Our protagonist, the foolish house sitter, named Trevor (Rowan Atkinson), finds himself overseeing a rich couples’ mansion on his very first gig. Recently divorced, Trevor just wants to make a few bucks so he can take his daughter away on a camping holiday, but little does he know that this simple job will test the caring father to his limits.

The house Trevor is looking after is best described as the British equivalent to the artsy, contemporary abode from Parasite, filled with priceless artwork and futuristic technologies. All the doors are voice-activated and fitted with complex passcodes, while the cupboards and taps involve intricate hand gestures to unlock. Each of these barriers leads to humorous running gags, which of course, Atkinson plays expertly with his usual stunning visual comedy flair. The homeowners hurriedly explain these state-of-the-art systems and all their convoluted rules to Trevor before they leave for their own vacation. Adding that, they’ve left a manual containing all the relevant information on the side for him to peruse. Obviously, this handbook’s days are numbered.

There’s also a beloved pet dog called Cupcake, who is allergic to nuts, for Trevor to look after. All these obstacles merge to create the perfect setup, one aiming for maximum disaster. You can see where this is all heading, but it doesn’t lessen the experience. It’s a simple premise, yet one the filmmakers bleed for all it’s worth. A clumsy and naïve nincompoop in a snobbish rich couple’s house, filled with their expensive riches. What could possibly go wrong? All that’s missing is the main villain of the piece, an intelligent, crafty bee, ready to torment and taunt our beloved house sitter until he relents. The bee buzzes onto the scene, creating instant mayhem within the property. These issues may start small, with Trevor damaging valuable artwork as he tries to swat the bee away, but things quickly escalate, leading to some truly hilarious sequences of events.

Man vs. Bee is simple but effective in its execution. Atkinson revels as the manic house sitter, who turns this tame rivalry into an all-out vendetta of war. The series is well-made, and the short episode structure means the production whizzes by, making for a quick weekend binge. I have to admit that I laughed out loud on numerous occasions, and although the show can be quite repetitive and highly ridiculous at times, overall, it is a real joy to watch. These types of comedies just aren’t made anymore, harking back to Atkinson’s earlier work and simpler times.

What did you think of the Netflix comedy series Man vs. Bee season 1? Comment below. 

Netflix, Streaming Service, TV Reviews
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