“You know, there was this bee” – a sentence that triggered a turbulent comedy with “Mr. Bean” actor Rowan Atkinson describes. “Man vs. Bee” is a nine-part miniseries, less than 2 hours long in total, but without great lengths in the narrative. Even if you don’t really understand why “Man vs. Bee” had to be made into a series and not just made into a film – you have enough fun either way. And that, although a lot seems familiar, you can guess a lot and some things are a bit too constructed. But the nine episodes offer some charming details. It all starts with a verdict in a court in England that finds housesitter Trevor guilty of various offenses while on duty. Does he have anything else to say before hearing the sentence? “Well, there was this bee…”
Then, from Trevor’s perspective, we see in detail what led to this guilty verdict. The setting: Trevor is a house sitter and his first job is to look after a posh mansion in north London while the couple who own it go on holiday. In the somewhat bumpy introduction, Trevor learns what to look out for and what must not happen under any circumstances. Of course, this already anticipates exactly what will happen: The precious book must not get into the dog’s paws – *check*. The artwork must not be damaged -*check*. The dog must not eat anything with nuts – *check*. And so on and so on. Of course, he doesn’t get all the instructions either. And the manual, which summarizes everything again, does not survive 2 episodes either.
But the fact that you know all this now isn’t a bad thing – because HOW it all comes about is often solved in a really charming way and told in a nice way. What’s particularly nice is that you’re constantly trying to predict what’s going to go wrong next – and then in some places you’re surprised when nothing happens – with the glass lamps, for example, which just don’t fall off the dresser.
It is also to be expected that the disaster will increase from day to day. But also not a problem, because author William Davies adds two story lines that cushion the course of the catastrophe and provide interesting components in the story. There is no attempt to just bring Mr. Bean back to life and to let it take place in a new setting. Then it’s a bit more: The story about Trevor’s daughter, whom he finally wants to give her the long-awaited vacation. And the burglars that are up to mischief in the house make a good mix for an entertaining evening in front of the television.
The resolution at the end is also charming: Episode 9 is really full of surprises, starting with Trevor’s sentence and the resolution of the burglary to the possible camping holiday with Maddy. And will the bumblebee reappear at the end? This is also solved appropriately.