(Bit of an art project: I’m trying to fill up a bookshelf with a bunch of shows I own on Blu-Ray/DVD, but I recycled most of the cases. I’m drawing my own DVD covers, but I figured I’d take a minute and write about why I like these shows so much as I put them on the shelf.)
A couple of years ago, I hit probably the most stressful point of my life to that point. I had just been promoted to office manager at a small psychiatric clinic with three clerical workers. With the raise I got from my promotion, I basically impulse-bought a house.. During the whole closing process, though, all three of my employees accepted other job offers. It took several weeks to get new employees hired; in the meantime, I had to run the clinic basically by myself. I also had paperwork to deliver, walkthroughs and inspections to arrange, and everything else that goes along with buying a house. I was getting so stressed that I couldn’t help but fantasize about the worst case scenario: that I would lose my job.
There were only three things that got me through that time: my parents, the help of an exceptional realtor, and a little YouTube cartoon called Bee and Puppycat.
Bee and Puppycat was a ten-minute cartoon short created by Natasha Allegri and the animators at Frederator Studios. The formula behind Bee and Puppycat was made up of equal parts Garfield, magical girl anime shows like Sailor Moon, and millennial angst. And it wound up being exactly what I needed at that time.
See, between all the pretty dresses, crazy fish monsters, talking ladybugs, and eggplants, Bee and Puppycat is, at its heart, the story of a young woman who loses her job, only to go on and learn that things can still work out.
Later, after the job and house situation settled down, I learned that the creators behind Bee and Puppycat were fundraising on Kickstarter to try to get more episodes made. They even promised to put the whole series on Blu-Ray. So I naturally threw a few bucks behind the project and waited happily for my reward.
The new Bee and Puppycat cartoons that came out as a result of the Kickstarter campaign were less magical than I expected. There remained a bit of that hopeful melancholy that so attracted me to the original pilot, but that tone was coupled with simpler animations, less compelling plots, and production delays that really tested everyone’s patience. Eventually, I lost track of the series, and I basically forgot it existed.
Cut to late 2017, nearly six years after the Kickstarter campaign. I come home to find a package from Frederator Studios with the long-awaited Blu-Ray. Curious, I popped the disc in and settled down to watch the final episodes.
And I was, once again, blown away.
The pilot of Bee and Puppycat raised a lot of questions about the world these characters inhabited. The finale didn’t answer any of those questions. It actually raised nearly as many questions over again. But it did something far more important: it presented the angst and frustration that comes with change, and went on to reassure the viewer that everything will be okay.
The finale to Bee and Puppycat is perhaps unsatisfying from a narrative perspective, but it’s simple and beautiful and life-affirming. I’m happy to have a copy of the show on my bookshelf. I even made my own (very obviously amateur) DVD case to go along with it: