Trevor: I'm just... really, really, sorry. You see... there was this bee...
Man vs. Bee is a 2022 short-form comedy series created and written by Rowan Atkinson and William Davies. Consisting of nine episodes (the first running to twenty minutes, the others all around ten minutes), all directed by David Kerr (Johnny English Strikes Again), it was available for streaming on Netflix worldwide on June 24th, 2022.
Trevor Bingley (Atkinson) is a divorced husband who just wants to have a holiday with his wife and daughter. In an attempt to raise money, he takes up a housekeeping job for a wealthy couple (Jing Lusi and Julian Rhind-Tutt). But when he spots a persistent bee flying around the mansion he's supposed to protect, a series of wild battles between man and insect ensues. Hopefully, the mansion still remains in one piece after this...
Man vs. Bee contains examples of:
- Accidental Hero: One of Trevor's various rampages to try to get rid of the bee manages to scare a bunch of burglars that have entered the house. The fact he was screaming "I'm going to find you and I'm going to kill you!" helped. He then reactivated the alarm as he was going to bed without knowing they have snuck into the house's library (with reinforced windows) to hide, locking them in.
- Ambiguous Situation: Is the Bee at the end the same one that Trevor's fought, or is it a separate specimen and Animals Hate Him?
- And Some Other Stuff: When Trevor escalates to trying to kill the bee with a bomb (that he learned to make on the Internet), we only get to see that two of the main ingredients are a lot of sugar and weed killer.
- Animal Nemesis: Trevor develops emnity with the bee pretty quickly, leading to him escalating including blowing up the house's garden and burning it down with a flamethrower. For what is worth, the bee is repeatedly implied to be smarter than an average bee and actively trying to ruin Trevor.
- Artistic License – Biology: Nina says that Cupcake is allergic to peanut butter but when he inevitably eats some, it only gives him diarrhea instead of sending him into anaphylactic shock. This only means peanut butter doesn't agree with him, though the resulting stomach cramps from an item of food not agreeing with a person can seem like an allergic reaction.
- After Trevor destroys the Jaguar and poisons Cupcake the dog trying to kill the bee, he decides to look on the internet for bee information. The first video Trevor sees talks about male bees being kicked out of the hive by the queens and living the rest of their lives alone, with very dramatic music and Trevor apparently thinking things over. We then cut to an montage of him creating what seems like a beehive in the home's garden, only to reveal that he looked for a video on how to make bombs and the hive is to attract the bee so he can blow it up.
- In the series' epilogue, Trevor notices that the bee has found him and he gives it a piece of his sandwich, apparently making peace with it, only to try to kill it again, causing lots of chaos.
- Big Fancy House: Nina's and Christian's smart house is very luxurious and modern, but this comes to bite Trevor in the ass repeatedly.
- Blatant Lies: Throughout the series, Nina regularly checks up with Trevor to check that her home and her dog is in pristine order. He always replies that everything is fine, when other circumstances suggest otherwise.
- Butt-Monkey: Poor Trevor. By the time the series starts, he's lost prior two jobs to absurd accidents that his wife cannot believe were accidents (implied it being the reason she divorced him), she gained the house and daughter in the divorce, and Trevor has been forced to work in a professional housesitting service (which his wife snarks is something he should be good at) with the implication he lives in campsites. You'd rather feel sorry for him whenever he gets plunged into chaos and catastrophe around the house whenever a bee is involved.
- Chekhov's Gunman: In one of Trevor's encounters with a cop that constantly comes looking in on the odd situations he's getting in, the officer mentions that there is a gang of burglars suspected to be roaming the neighborhood. The burglars break into the home three episodes later, and Trevor disposes of them while trying to kill the bee once again. They also turn out to be cellmates of Trevor and Trevor ends up overhearing them as the explain that they were hired by Christian to break in as an Insurance Fraud.
- Cool Car: Christian's classic and prized Jaguar E-Type.
- Determinator: No matter what, Trevor will use anything at his disposal to get rid of that pesky bee.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Trevor destroys everything around the mansion, just to kill a small bee.
- Deconstruction: Of various conventions and tropes associated with Atkinson's Mr. Bean:
- While Trevor is a bumbling idiot in much the same manner as Mr. Bean, he is however, not as stupid, nor completely as oblivious to things. The difference is that, unlike Mr. Bean, Trevor is self aware of being The Load to his family, and it's mentioned a few times that he's trying to be both a better father to his daughter after his divorce, as well as getting shocked by his own actions later on. He's on a realistic competency scale, instead of merely being an idiot for the sakes of comedy, and also makes it clear he is genuinely trying to be better, unlike Mr. Bean whose personality has almost never changed.
- His actions also has a reflection on his psychosis. He has a tendency to overcomplicate things because of hyper-fixation on something that could have been brushed off, escalating into something worse. Dialog with his ex-wife Jess implies this was the cause of their splitting up. In the penultimate episode, he has a short breakdown because of this, and it's even implied that he actively enables this mindset of his. He gets sorrowful after he thinks he's killed the Bee, but when it turns out to be alive, he regains his energy and drive to get rid of it, as though their "battle" fills a void in his otherwise unhappy home life. There's more proof of this in how he has several opportunities to end the conflict peacefully (giving the Bee a place to live or even just a small corner of peanut butter toast), yet only ever uses them as a chance to kill his foe. In other words, Trevor takes apart what a person would realistically be like if they reacted like Mr. Bean.
- Trevors' method of getting rid of the bee get increasingly more and more desperate and elaborate as the series progresses. In Mr. Bean, Bean usually goes for the most over-the-top solution possible when posed a problem.
- Epic Fail: This is arguably the process of the entire show, as we witness a human being fail to dispose of a single, tiny bee. A few notable examples:
- Trevor presses a plunger against a bathroom wall to trap the bee inside. Unfortunately, his attempts to remove the plunger only send him flying out the bathroom, releasing the bee in the process.
- When the bee lands on Trevor's knee, his first thought is to try and hit it with a crowbar. Instead, he hits his knee, causing him considerable pain.
- Everyone Has Standards: One of Trevor's early attempts at killing the bee (trapping it inside of the kitchen's microwave over and turning it on) works, but he cannot bring himself to microwave the bee seeing it as too cruel, so he rips the microwave out of its mooring and opens it in the garden. The bee flies right back into the house.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Title doesn't lie. Everyone knows that the show's title is exactly a man... battling against a bee.
- Fan Disservice: One of the many times the bee bothers Trevor is when he's in the shower. So we get to see Rowan Atkinson nearly naked for two minutes. Yup.
- Fly Crazy: Ok, bee crazy, but nevertheless a lot of the comedy of the series revolves around Trevor's outrageously destructive attempts at getting rid of the bee.
- Hello Again, Officer: The same police officer arrives repeatedly to the house because of the neighbors filing complaints about the noise of Trevor's antics (and once to warn Trevor that there is a gang of thieves suspected to be roaming the neighborhood — a detail that will become important later).
- Here We Go Again!: The series ends with Trevor going on a rampage to kill the bee when it follows him to the Isle of Wight, wrecking his caravan in the process.
- How We Got Here: The series' prologue shows Trevor in court for the destruction that he caused on the house, with the rest of the series following his escalation.
- In Medias Res: The series open with Trevor awaiting trial in a courtroom. Then it rewinds way, way back to see how it all happened with him.
- Insurance Fraud: It turns out that Christian filled his home with worthless replicas of valuable objects and hired thieves to take them away so he could collect the insurance, and when Trevor prevented the theft from happening but torched the place to the ground trying to kill the bee, Christian exploited it by suing Trevor for the destruction — the scene where Christian meets the insurance representative sees him claim £20 million from the company, and that's before Christian tries to squeeze out 50 million by claiming "emotional damages". The plan went to hell, however, when Trevor and the thieves were sentenced to the same prison and Trevor overheard them explaining it all.
- It Can Think: It's implied through certain shots that the titular Bee possesses some degree of sentience and is actively hounding Trevor.
- Karma Houdini: For all the trouble Trevor caused around the house, the bee doesn't get its comeuppance and gets away with all the mischief scot-free.
- Kill It with Fire: In the series' climax, a screaming Trevor tries to kill the bee with a flamethrower, causing a bad House Fire.
- Made of Iron: Cupcake the dog. This poor pooch eats an allergen, is accidentally poisoned with aerosols, and has a home-made wooden beehive the size of a washing machine land on him from 200 feet up, yet he is shown at Trevor's hearing wearing a neck brace, anti-bite cone and a bandage on his tail.
- Mythology Gag:
- Trevor discovers the bee when it's attracted to his biscuit. A Mr. Bean episode has Bean's picnic being disrupted by a wasp going after his cupcake.
- The premise of the series; Trevor in an ongoing battle with a bee. A Mr. Bean animated episode "The Fly" has this similar concept to the theme.
- Never My Fault: Inverted. When Trevor tries to explain to his ex-wife the situation regarding the bee, she rags that Trevor has already lost two previous works (and implied she divorced him) because he blamed those firings on a trolley and a hostile paper shredder and Trevor should stop thinking there is a conspiracy out to get him. Of course, the bee acts more maliciously than bees normally should behave.
- Noodle Incident: We don't really know what happened in Trevor's previous jobs, only that he lost them thanks to a trolley and a paper shredder respectively.
- Pest Episode: Or rather, pest series.
- P.O.V. Cam: At times, the audience gets a detailed look of the bee's POV, complete with light-blue hexagonal-patterned peripherals.
- Read the Freaking Manual: Trevor is left at the house with very little explanation of how the smart home works and Nina's insistence that everything is in the manual. Trevor accidentally burns the manual very shortly after and a lot of subsequent gags regarding the smart home battling him follow.
- Shower Scene: The beginning of Chapter 5 has Trevor deciding to use the master bathroom and hit the shower after a long day, enjoying his pleasure while a calm tune plays in the background. That is, until that bee began to pester him again.
- Squirrels in My Pants: While Trevor is having a chit-chat with the police officer at the beginning of Chapter 3, the bee enters inside Trevor's pants, causing his legs to jerk awkwardly, much to the officer's confusion.
- Tempting Fate: Nina provides Trevor with a manual for how everything in the house works, including the security codes assuring him he won't need to note down the codes. Naturally, within the hour of Nina and Christian's departure, Trevor ends up burning the manual on the stovetop.
- There Is No Kill like Overkill: The final episode of the series revolves around Trevor's decision to get rid of the bee once and for all by channeling his inner Wile E. Coyote and trying to blow up the bee with a makeshift bomb, and when that doesn't work chasing after it with a flamethrower.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Trevor finally manages to catch a break in episode 9. After getting imprisoned for over 14 accounts of crime, he is sentenced to 3 years in jail. Luckily, Trevor is locked up in a prison with the criminal gang who tried to rob the house, with one of them explaining to the other prisoners about the owner's collection being fakes to pull off an insurance scam, Trevor overhears and calls the police to let them know. Christian is arrested, and Trevor is pardoned and given a big reward, enough to buy his minivan and go on holiday with his daughter.
- Toilet Humor: Cupcake licks peanut butter off of a spoon and it gives him the runs, resulting in him pooping all over his doggy room. Trevor later ends up falling face-first onto one of Cupcake's messes and spends half the episode with dog poop on his face.
- Unintentional Backup Plan: Trevor's quest to kill the bee destroys the house, allowing Christian (who was already planning Insurance Fraud, but through robbery which was accidentally thwarted by Trevor) to get the money anyway.
- Versus Title: "Man Vs. Bee".
- Watch the Paint Job: The Jaguar's exhaust gets destroyed and detached from the car as Trevor drives like a madman because 1) he is trying to get Cupcake the dog (who he accidentally poisoned) to the vet and 2) Trevor discovered the bee is inside the car and he is trying to hurt it. Later, Trevor dismantled some interior components and even cut open a hole on the car's body just to find where that bee is hiding inside. Note: that's a car worth £2 million!
- Wham Line: In episode 9, Trevor is having a meal in prison when he overhears something from the other table. There lies the three burglars who had tried to rob the house in episodes 6 and 7, where one of them, Lewis, is recounting a story about their involvement with a bloke who had floppy hair, a Scandi accent and an E-type Jag. This fits the description of Christian.Lewis: He pays us to rob this house. And get this, it only turns out to be his own house. It's full of all this art, you know, Mondrians and Kandinskys or something. It's all bollocks to me, anyway. But, you name it, he's got it. And every single one was a worthless fake. I kid you not. Turns out it was all one gigantic Insurance Fraud.