Netflix’s ‘Bee and Puppycat’ Reboot Is Perfect
We are ALL Pretty Patrick.
Originally, I’d intended to finish this article a lot closer to Bee and Puppycat’s Netflix release date (September 6). However, that proved to be an overly ambitious goal, as well as a naive one: the magic that pulled us into this beloved series in the first place got a hold on me, and instead of bingeing it all in one go, I found myself entranced in its dreamlike state. To me, bingeing a show like this would have been akin to chugging a gallon of cake and pudding: delicious and sleep-inducing, but too quick to really enjoy what I was doing.
Indeed, I’ve found the Netflix reboot of Bee and Puppycat to be something of a miracle. It’s a reboot that somehow hasn’t taken anything away from its source material, instead adding on it, like putting more stars in its already starry galaxy. The dreamlike quality is still there, the trippyness is still delightfully odd and unique to its own tone, and there is still a subtle feeling of warmth and coziness to the whole thing that, once you realize it’s there, has completely enveloped you.
Of course, a lot of my positivity stems from the fact that I never expected this show to see the light of day, after its on-again, off-again relationship with the internet. There have been so many good projects that just never go anywhere, and Bee and Puppycat was such a one-off experience for so many of us, I had to swallow my hopes for it ever being more than a brief webseries.
To go back to the cake analogy, this reboot really does feel like I’ve been surprised with cake, AND am being allowed to eat it. The art-style is still pretty faithful to the original series, but more fine-tuned, and the characters have similarly been given more distinctive personalities and ideals (whereas before, they were still endearing, but fairly undeveloped). The eponymous Bee and Puppycat are still more or less the same—a clumsy but well-intentioned early-twentysomething, and a stinky poo-boy, respectively—while previously established characters, like Cas, Deckard, and Cardamon, are given more unique personalities.
Cas, for instance (voiced by my girlcrush Ashly Burch), has shed her generic Big Sister persona for a more defined (and lovingly hilarious) Antisocial Coder Chick attitude, while Deckard (voiced by the prolific Kent Osbourne) has similarly started showing some ‘tude instead of just taking everything on the chin. And oh, lord, Cardamon. Sweet Cardamon. He quickly skyrocketed to one of my favorite characters, because he finally gets a chance to question why he, a little boy, has to manage a property, instead of play video games and be as silly and frivolous as his peers.
But the new characters only serve to fill the world of Bee and Puppycat even more richly than it already was. All the Wizard Brothers (with the exception of Tim, who, to be fair, seemed to fill the role of the Boring Everyman Brother) absolutely delighted me, and I was so pleased that they took up so much screentime. In particular, every scene featuring the vain and neurotic Howell (voiced by Kumail Nanjani, who, of course, did a FANTASTIC job!) absolutely cracked me up, and every scene with the stoic fisherman Wesley (voiced by Arin Hanson—a delightful surprise) put an easy smile on my face.
As for the other brothers, I was really tickled by how quickly we skimmed over the fact that the nerdiest one, Merlin, was the one who knocked up the freeloader fighter Toast (voiced by the original Sailor Moon actress Terri Hawkes). And of course, Bee’s secondary love interest, Crispin (voiced by Tom Sandoval, who is apparently a reality TV star?? Love that?), was incredibly charming in his persnickety attitude, and his attempts to get closer to the romantically clueless Bee.
Honestly, I’d love to go over every single character, but we’d be here all day. I do recommend going to the Wikipedia page and seeing the voice cast, because it’s wildly impressive and varied, from the likes of Robbie Daymond (i.e. Goro Akechi from Persona and Hubert from Fire Emblem) as Cooking Prince, to Natalie Wynn (a.k.a. Contrapoints <3) as the Head Warlock, and even L.A. music wunderkind FrankJavCee as one of the Wiggly Worms (whose voices and hatred of their own “weird hands” made me die laughing).
What made me weepy the most, however, was the fact that they kept the old soundtrack, and then built upon its original motifs. Maybe this doesn’t mean too much to some viewers, but I’ve found that a really good and recognizable soundtrack leaves a particular impression on viewers that never goes away. I used to listen to the soundtrack All. The. Time. back in high school, to the point where it’s pretty much been burned into my memory. To hear those original notes play through the episodes over and over, just like the simple days of my youth, really tugged on my heartstrings in a profound way.
This song in particular, uploaded by user Paladinlapdanse (excellent username, by the way):
Now, I should probably also address the fact that some fans aren’t happy with the series. They believe that it’s too different from the original and that it’s lost its charm, for various reasons. Some don’t like that Bee isn’t as chubby as she used to be. Others miss the “random chaos” of the pilot (re: “You took too long, now your candy’s gone—that’s what happens! Kablow!“). And after such a long wait, I think it’s perfectly understandable why some people are disappointed, and I’m sorry for them that the reboot didn’t live up to their expectations.
But, as with all things, your mileage may vary, and as a writer for this website you are currently reading, I can say with 100% confidence that I think this reboot is absolutely perfect. If nothing else, it taps into the Elder Gen Z/Millennial mindset in a way that’s incredibly nurturing and reassuring, hence why it feels like a warm hug. Everyone in the show is just doing their best and encouraging each other along, and everyone is wild and weird in their own idiosyncratic ways. Randomly, the characters will drop profound one-liners that leave me slack-jawed, even as the scene immediately progresses into Sillyville.
It really is the sort of show that I think everyone in my demographic should at least try. To quote my friend who watched it with no prior knowledge of the webseries, “Stuff happens but I never feel overwhelmed.” Sounds peachy, right?
(featured image: Netflix)
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