BBC1: Monday 28 December, 9.00am
Jerry Seinfeld once idly joked that a cartoon about bees called Bee Movie was a funny idea. Steven Spielberg took him up on it. But the resulting DreamWorks animation is no fly-by-night knock-off. Voiced (and co-written) by Seinfeld, it’s a honey-spun, pun-filled amber-coloured cartoon with cute characters and a Sting in the tale. Jerry is the hero, Barry B. Benson, graduating the Central Park hive with perfect grades (all Bs) and ready for the big wide world.
Making a friend of Manhattan florist Renée Zellweger, Barry is shocked to see supermarket shelves stocked with jars of honey. “It’s organic,” says Renée. “It’s our ganic!” says Barry, fuming. “This is worse than anything the bears have done to us!” He sues the human race: “When I’m finished, they won’t be able to say ‘Honey, I’m home’ without paying a royalty!” Clearly, this is a New York bee.
The music’s cute, too. Sugar Sugar by the Archies accompanies a shockingly funny fantasy sequence, while the retro score echoes the lovely 50s hi-fi work of jazz man Neal Hefti. Swarming with zingers, it’s loads more fun than The Secret Life of Bees, believe me.