Binge or Purge?: Bee and PuppyCat
Bee and PuppyCat is an animated series that wastes novelty and cute moments with incoherent stories filled with unlikeable characters.
One of the streaming service VRV’s biggest draws is animated offerings. Last week I checked out LastMan, a French series offered under VRV’s partnership with Mundo. Today I’m looking at an American short series provided by Cartoon Hangover, an aggregator of independent animation. Bee and PuppyCat is the brainchild of Natasha Allegri, who did character design on Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time with Finn and Jake. That series is an eclectic tale with weird, colorful characters. While Bee and PuppyCat boasts both of those features, the end result isn’t nearly as charming.
Bee and PuppyCat (2013)
Bee is a young woman struggling through daily life. She’s unable to hold a steady job, and lives life in a state of permanent adolescence. Into her life comes PuppyCat, an animal that looks like a cat, smells like a dog, and has access to a magical Temp Agency. Through these jobs, we learn a little about Bee, PuppyCat, and life on the strange island Bee calls home.
Episode 0: Pilot
We are introduced to Bee, her friend Deckard, and Bee’s perpetual state of unemployment. Into this mix comes PuppyCat, a grumpy animal that talks in musical beeps. PuppyCat transports Bee to the intergalactic Temp Agency, where they are assigned a job babysitting a giant fish. PuppyCat tells a bedtime story, one that hints at PuppyCat’s true origins.
In this first episode, we pretty much get the recipe for Bee and PuppyCat. Weird characters doing strange tasks for no discernable purpose. The plot and dialogue in this series is unfocused, often bizarre for no reason, and it seems to exist just to let us know what an aimless loser Bee is. It also loves stifling any attempts at cuteness or character development just to fit in its insane facsimile for comedy. At one point, Bee interrupts PuppyCat with some random groan/scream thing that had no point; they both then move on like it never happened. Bee and PuppyCat seems to just throw random brain-droppings at the audience, hoping a few of them will get a laugh or a smile. Not an auspicious start.
Episode 1: Food Farmer
Bee takes PuppyCat grocery shopping, because she wants to make a recipe with her friend/love interest Deckard. PuppyCat just wants a cool leather jacket. When Bee realizes that she forgot one ingredient, she and PuppyCat take a temp job on a space farm to make enough money to afford the missing ingredient, with maybe enough left over to buy a cool leather jacket.
This episode is another incoherent sugar high of events, but with an extra insult added in. In episode 1, we a whiff of exposition, little moments that shed some light on Bee’s maladjustments. Then random crap happens and the show forgets about the development. In the end, Bee remains unchanged. Bee and PuppyCat is a fallow field of gags and cute moments; any seed that might grow to make you care about the characters is left unfertilized.
Episode 2: Beach Cats
Bee and PuppyCat are forced to leave their apartment right before their favorite show comes on. When they strike out on their attempts to watch TV at local cafes, Bee has the idea to use their temp agent as a living TV screen. Somehow this leads to giant anthropomorphic cats.
I’m done trying to make any sense of this mess. Bee is a selfish, lazy person. PuppyCat is a jerk. The animation is cute, but literally everything else about Bee and PuppyCat is a dumpster fire of incoherence. Adventure time is a meandering sugar high, but at least they remember to wrap each episode up with some character growth or a moral. This show can’t even do that.
Binge or Purge?
A PURGE, A VERY PALPABLE PURGE. Bee and PuppyCat is a mess. It is a bunch of glitter and junk food thrown in a blender and poured into your eyeballs. The characters lack any depth, and the two protagonists are highly unlikeable. The voice acting is generally flat, and the dialogue is rambling fever-speak. The plot is an insane slice of life with so little development as to retard any desire to travel with these two inmates. The biggest laugh I had while watching this show was a commercial break for Tums that used the Wilhelm scream.
I understand quirky randomness. Neil and I watched MTV’s Liquid Television growing up, and that was animation on acid. Even as a child I had a vague dissatisfaction with empty calories on display. Not everything has to have deep meaning, but something made explicitly to have no meaning is just a waste of time. Bee and PuppyCat is the middle ground on a spectrum that begins with Candy Crush and ends with Michael Bay movies. Don’t end up on that spectrum.