Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Rowan Atkinson says: “Every joke has a victim”. But in Man vs Bee he is

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The man, better known as Mr Bean, rails against the abandonment culture… by fighting a bee

Rowan Atkinson is the latest to join their ranks and tells the story Irish times that “every joke has a victim. That’s the definition of a joke. Someone or something or an idea is being ridiculed… in a decent free society you should be allowed to joke about absolutely anything.”

If there’s one conversation that bores me, it’s the debate about what comedians can joke about. When it rears its ugly head, it’s almost always because someone asked a middle-aged white male comedian his thoughts on the so-called “awakening.” They also almost always say the same thing — that their creativity is being scrutinized and that the “cancel culture” ruined the comedy.

It may surprise you that I actually agree with the man better known as Mr. Bean. Of course, comedians are allowed to offend, and I wholeheartedly support the idea that comedy can – and should – cover all subjects. But these jokes have to be — wait a minute — funny…this is where the comedians ranting about “Wokery” really stumble (pause for laughter). “You always have to get up? For real? What if there is someone who is extremely smug, arrogant, aggressive, complacent and happens to be at the bottom of society? They don’t all sit in parliament or monarchies,” he added.

And yet, as far as I can tell, Atkinson has rarely been a victim of the invisible war on comedy. in the MR Beanthe Johnny English movies and even black viper, he (or at least his character) has always been the butt of the joke, a tactic that has hilarious consequences nine times out of ten. His latest series human versus bee Netflix is ​​no different.

In the show, which consists of 10 10-minute episodes, Atkinson plays Trevor, an unfortunate, broken-up divorcee who gets a new job as house-sitters for a plush, wealthy couple. As he settles into the house, which is outfitted with a thick manual and endless smart gimmicks (it’s more or less an extended advertisement for Miele), a bee begins to follow his every step. When he finally catches the bug under a mug – from which it promptly escapes – the bee launches a vendetta against Trevor and sets out to make his life miserable.

What follows is just over an hour and a half of old school slapstick body comedy reminiscent of body comedy Laurel and Hardy or, well, MR Bean. Priceless paintings are torn up, ancient statues are smashed and finally Trevor brings a flamethrower into the living room. It’s a surprisingly good – if monotonous – comedy suitable for families (something Netflix is ​​rather short on), and it made me laugh out loud on several occasions.

But Atkinson’s comments made me think twice about the show. Am I missing a deeper meaning somewhere in the dog poop gags? Perhaps that’s why the more serious story of Trevor missing his daughter, who is being withheld from him by his ex-wife, takes a more prominent place than it needs to — is human versus bee a covert Fathers 4 Justice campaign?!

Or is the bee representative of the awakened warriors disrupting Atkinson? Trevor is the humble comedian who is now reliant on slamming away a buzzing nuisance instead of focusing on his real job: making fun of vulnerable people on a global stage. That doesn’t make any sense either. Is Atkinson a bee hater? Does he want the bees to die? Does he know what happens when the bees die?!

Let’s be serious for a moment human versus bee is nothing more than a simple, clownish comedy that aims nothing more than to make people laugh. This is what makes Atkinson’s comments so incongruous: it seems like Atkinson is talking about abandonment culture just to stay relevant.

But when doing human versus bee, he has rendered his own point null and void. Yes, you can comedy about anything you want, even a vengeful bee. But that doesn’t mean you should.

Man vs Bee will begin streaming on Netflix Friday, June 24th

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