What links Mr Bean to George Bush via the Wu-Tang Clan?

Read Time:2 Minute, 24 Second

The Guardian

Bean v Bee

Rowan Atkinson stars in Man vs Bee … Photograph: Getty Images

Life contains many mysteries. Chief among them: Netflix’s commissioning algorithm which, with Man vs Bee, may boil down to the word “bee” sounding like “bean”. Rowan Atkinson revives his trademark physical comedy pitting hapless Trevor in a battle against a bee. Or perhaps Netflix was drawn to the role of the bee in pop culture …

“Covered in bees!”

… and bees are referenced on Wu-Tang Clan’s Clan in Da Front … Photograph: Getty Images

From Eddie Izzard’s bee bit in her 1997 set Glorious to the running bees/beads joke in Arrested Development, the bees are on a swarm. Bees’ pop culture high point remains the role of the “killa bees” in the world of Wu-Tang Clan: referenced initially on Clan in Da Front, from their masterwork debut. Also mentioned there is trailblazing vice-presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro.

Political buzz

… as is Geraldine Ferraro, who represented the left in CNN’s Crossfire … Photograph: Getty Images

Ferraro – “full of sorrow” as GZA put it – and Democratic running mate Walter Mondale took a shellacking from Reagan and Bush in 1984. In the mid-90s she had a brief stint representing the left in CNN’s long-running political puppet theatre Crossfire.

Partisan hacks

… hosted by Tucker Carlson, who was ridiculed by Jon Stewart … Photograph: Getty Images

Crossfire ran aground in 2004 when Jon Stewart dismantled the phoney debates of its hosts Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson. Carlson appeared more like an opportunistic country club Republican – now he has grasped opportunistic populism. The CNN incident helped popularise the “liberal comedian explains politics to you” era that Stewart pioneered on The Daily Show – his AppleTV+ series The Problem hasn’t reached the same highs.

The bee plot

… who appeared on a chatshow hosted by Jerry Seinfeld, who made Bee Movie. Photograph: TM & © 2007 Dreamworks Animation

Stewart exited The Daily Show in 2015; a year earlier he was one of many comedians to appear on Jerry Seinfeld’s chatshow Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (Netflix), featuring Seinfeld’s endless love of comedy, coffee and cars. Earlier in Jerry’s post-sitcom life, he made the animated film Bee Movie. Much like Seinfeld, Atkinson is a classic car buff. But it’s the bees we’re thinking about here, all over your planet.

Pairing notes

Watch Among the many bee-based documentaries, 2019’s Oscar-nominated Honeyland, a “miraculous feat” about a North Macedonian beekeeper with difficult neighbours, is a must-see.

Eat Steve Benbow’sLondon Honey Company produces honey, available online and at its Bermondsey store.

July 16, 2022 at 06:23PM Larry Ryan

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