On Jimmy Fallon’s “The Tonight Show,” Jerry Seinfeld reflected on and apologized for the seemingly romantic relationship between a bee and a woman.
Not kidding. The comedian straight up said the suggestive nature of the relationship between Barry B. Benson and Vanessa was “inappropriate for children.” Interesting, considering how even the film itself points out the absurdity of their dynamic.
The movie has been widely memed since its release in 2007, and t-shirts made with the entire script printed on the front. But the weird fantasies Barry has in the movie including Vanessa hint towards something more than just friendship.
“The bee seems to have a thing for the girl, and we don’t really want to pursue that as an idea in children’s entertainment.” Jerry Seinfeld
It also doesn’t help that Barry comes between Vanessa and her boyfriend, making him paranoid that she’s leaving him for a bee. Not sure what was going on in the writer’s room that day. And from this past weekend’s interview, neither does Seinfeld.
The comment raises questions about the film’s cult popularity. The movie’s premise is weird to begin with. But even writer Spike Feresten noted that “an interspecies love affair” isn’t something they wanted to sell to prison. Yet, I’m sure most kids don’t know who Ray Liotta is and he’s in the movie for some reason.
Perhaps it was difficult for the writer’s to create a platonic friendship between Barry and Vanessa on paper. It speaks more to the fact that most times, screenwriters only put women in positions to be desired or sought after.
Though Vanessa own hers own business, it does cater to Barry’s interests and his main purpose of pollinating. She is what grounds Barry, as a friend should, but there’s no distinct line she draws to derail Barry’s delusions.
I think this is why the writers got “carried away” with their team-up. Ultimately they decided on what would make the story even more absurd and whimsical. Unfortunately, under the scrutiny of modern critics, the dynamic did not age well.