By Jake Levine
Admit it; Bee Movie is iconic. Jerry Seinfeld’s incorporation of smart humor, wicked satire, and killer puns allows his film to reach a level of greatness that transcends the normal threshold of excellence that applies to most animated films. Yet, the current intensity of fame in which Bee Movie pervades millennial pop-culture is almost entirely ironic. The adoption of Barry B. Benson as an internet symbol is built on a cruel lie that notably elicited an online response from Jerry Seinfeld, wondering if he should make a sequel. The disrespect is real.
Indicative of this mockery of a true art form, is the criticism that accompanies this film. “Weird premise…flat jokes…inherent stupidity” are just some of the statements I’ve heard to describe the film in just the past 24 hours alone. The most prominent criticism of the film is the apparent bee-stiality between Barry B. Benson and Vanessa Bloome. The overall unity in criticism and mockery of Bee Movie demonstrates a lack of understanding in terms of Jerry Seinfeld’s humor and overall meaning in the film.
Consider the classic series Seinfeld, the show famously dubbed as being about nothing. The genius of Seinfeld lies in its comedy, rather than the story – the focus is humor, not plot. In a similar fashion, Bee Movie is not an attempt to convey some sort of didactic message about the importance of bees or friendship, but is instead one large joke. Seinfeld’s approach to humor explains the very essence of the film: “in comedy, you think of something funny, and then you go from there…” 1
…And go from there, Bee Movie does. From the premise of a joke, a film about a bee suing the human race, Seinfeld then applies his trademark humor: mundane, societal observations. He mocks the education system, modern relationships, corporations, Ray Liotta (in a hilariously unnecessarily extensive brutal fashion). Seinfeld is not attempting to convey some sort of didactic message with his film; instead, he is literally wasting our time.
“To waste this much time, on something this stupid, that felt good to me.” 2 So take that all you haters and mockers! It turns out that the joke is on all on you; Seinfeld has played you all for fools. Bee Movie is literally made with the intention of wasting our time for the purpose of wasting our time. Classic Seinfeld!
Furthermore, Bee Movie is surprisingly intellectual, requiring us to able to understand and criticize the various facets of our society. Seinfeld is an absolute genius and Bee Movie is an absolute classic. No amount of criticism or exasperated looks when I mention the mastery of film that is Bee Movie can deter me from this conclusion. I think everyone has been Seinfeld’d, and I for one, could not be happier.
1 Jerry Seinfeld, “Jerry Seinfeld Interview: How to Write a Joke. Dec 20 2012. The New York Times. Youtube. 5:02.
2 Jerry Seinfeld. “Jerry Seinfeld Interview.” 5:02.
Jake is a sophomore History major and Art History and French double minor.