Why Bee Movie is Government Propaganda
I saw Bee Movie when it came out in theaters (whenever that was) and liked it fine (I was 10 or something–again, I don’t know when the film came out–but the point is that my critical senses weren’t as finely honed back then). I didn’t really get who Jerry Seinfeld was since I hadn’t seen Seinfeld, but he had a funny voice and that was cool (again, I was 10. Maybe 11).
However, this evening my brother mentioned that Bee Movie popped up in Netflix and that despite the provided two-and-a-half-out-of-five-star rating, he watched it and thought it was a fine piece of cinema. In an effort to join him in waxing poetic over Jerry Seinfeld‘s animation debut (?), I thought back on the plot of the incredibly forgettable film.
I found that all I could remember was the kitschy opening scene wherein the main character (a bee played by none other than Jerry Seinfeld, the only actor I’ve mentioned thus far in the article) goes over to his closet, which is full of a bunch of iterations of the same outfit, then ponders which of the outfits he will pick (comedy gold! Or comedy honey, I should say (ref:)).
I found that after focusing on the film for far longer than I should, I could also remember that he (the bee person/Jerry Seinfeld) leaves his hive (for surely contrived reasons that I’ve since forgotten) and then meets a human, falls in love with the human, somehow manages to communicate with the human, then discovers that humans take all the bees’ honey. Upon realizing that the entire life work of every bee he knows amounts to producing food for people, he goes to court and gets the humans to stop taking the bees’ honey. Now that the bees don’t have to give most their honey away, they get lazy. Then they (the bees) band together and save a plane from crashing (I forget how that improbable transition happens) and decide to allow their honey to be taken away from them again (or something like that.).
Going through the plot in broad strokes like this a thought occurred to me: it sounds like a really contrived argument for the benefits of taxation. Is it possible that Jerry Seinfeld worked with the American government to subconsciously remind people that if they don’t work for something larger than themselves (in this case, allowing their money to be put into the government) they will become unmotivated and lazy? I don’t know, he played a really dickish, shmuckish version of himself in that one episode of Louie (or is it Louis? I swear whichever one I try first is always wrong. It’s like I live in a synthetic universe in which some malevolent being is watching over my life and in this being’s grand attempt to fuck with me the only thing it changes is the correct spelling of the name of Louis C.K.’s television show). Answer: It is possible and, actually, would be fertile ground for further exploration in the form of an article.
I said so right then and there: “I’m going to write an article about why Bee Movie is government propaganda.” My brother laughed. “No”, I said, “I’m serious. I’m going to write something about that tonight.” “That’s stupid,” my brother replied supportively. Now here we are. I can’t outline my argument at this point because I’ve yet to google Bee Movie, as I’ve been too lazy to do so, but I now intend to gather sufficient information on the vile piece of cinema propaganda to expose Jerry Seinfeld for the crooked shill he is. I aim to show that he’s allowed the content of his films to be dictated by the government and is willing to subject the American people to being told what to think (despicable)–a surely libelous claim without proper support.
So I googled Bee Movie and the main bee’s name is Barry B. Benson (Jesus christ). In doing my investigation, I also discovered that the film was released in November of 2007, putting me at 11 years of age when I watched it for the first and only time. To be honest, looking into the film and investing energy into realizing this idea has made me not want to actually write this essay, but I’ve committed myself to it and so have to make at least some attempt at an argument.
The first hint that more cynical machinations are afoot than readily perceptible on the film’s glossy, Jerry Seinfeld-brand-honey-coated surface can be found in the film’s blatant attempt to appeal to specific demographics. The plot, in which a recent college-graduate bee be(e)comes disinterested with the monotonous life of a worker bee and leaves the hive, only to discover that bees are being exploited by humans and then goes on to sue humanity en masse, would probably not be able to suspend the disbelief of any reasonable non-child.
However, the film seems to be trying to appeal to teenagers and young adults who should be able to relate (?) to the concerns of the bee trying to come to terms with the fact that he is literally only going to be a worker bee his whole life. The cast also includes several actors who appeared on Seinfeld–including Jerry himself, Michael Richards, (either known to you as Kramer or the man who went off on a sudden racist shouting fit in an attempt to “shut down” a heckler), and everybody’s favorite doorman, Larry Miller (he played a doorman in one episode of Seinfeld)–in an attempt to please the parents of the small children who comprised the film’s target audience.
I went into this paragraph thinking I would say something about how the movie is trying to reach everyone so as to convince them they should be grateful to just be “worker bees,” (I’m pretty sure that’s the note the film ends on; I haven’t finished the wikipedia page yet), but now that I think about it, that just seems like industry-standard marketing–trying to appeal to the largest audience possible and the like. Really, if they wanted to brainwash people they would have been best off trying to embed a message that only the children would pick up on, as their brains are the most malleable.
And that’s exactly what the film did. They attacked the brains of the children but marketed to a large audience so as to avoid suspicion (that doesn’t seem like that should be the correct spelling of that word).
Actually–no. I give up. I thought of that segue and I was going to try and think of some way to make it work, but I just don’t care any more. My point stands, the movie’s apparent (again, I haven’t finished the wikipedia page) theme of ‘living for a collective instead of just yourself’ is sort of suspect. Actually, it’s not all that bad when you phrase it like that. I’m trying to think of ways to make the whole “be subservient to the government” comparison again, but it’s sort of hard to do without really knowing how the movie plays out. Oh well.
I don’t really know how I feel about Bee Movie. 11-year-old me thought it was pretty tight, 20-year-old me thought that the plot as I remembered it seemed to have some Orwellian overtones. In conclusion, my brother recommends Bee Movie starring Jerry Seinfeld (who may or may not be a dick; he was one on Louie and he seems like he’s capable of being a dick in real life). He says the plot “doesn’t make any sense” but it’s fantastic for that fact and it’s available on Netflix so hey, why not?
It has come to my attention that Bee Movie is not, in fact, on Netflix.
I can think of three reasons why my brother said that it was:
A: The movie was on Netflix but has since been removed (probably because Netflix decided they didn’t, in fact, want their site to be a platform for communist propaganda).
B: My brother is unaccountably stupid and nothing he says should be believed.
C: My brother had a Jerry Seinfeld-centric fever dream (ex), in which he watched and was greatly entertained by Bee Movie, the film itself being pieced together from the broken remnants that lingered in his mind from when he viewed it as a small child.
A seems unlikely, so that leaves us with B and C. I’m not sure which is, but they’re both very fun to imagine (it’s probably B, though).