Arts & Entertainment, Film and TV

‘Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space’ is a heart-warming, intergalactic delight

Think of the adorable character design of Kiki’s Delivery Service, the magical hero transformations of Sailor Moon, off-beat comedic dialogue, and intergalactic space fighting. At first glance, these features may appear to be an unlikely combination. Unifying these features into one season of television might seem ill-advised, if not impossible. But, Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space proves both of these assumptions wrong. The Netflix show, released on Sept. 6, is a reboot of a 2013 Cartoon Hangover web series with the same name from creator Natasha Allegri. Like its predecessor, the show tells a complex story of fantasy, friendship, and community, with a heartfelt touch.

Bee and Puppycat follows Bee, a seemingly average woman who lives a peaceful life on The Island. Her world is turned upside down when a strange cat-like animal falls from the sky and into her arms, communicating with her in only robotic gibberish. At the insistence of her newfound friend, ‘Puppycat,’ the pair accept jobs at an intergalactic temporary work agency. In each episode, they are assigned an odd job on a remote planet, from baking magic, crystal-encrusted donuts to cleaning a giant celestial toilet. But as they settle into a life together, mysterious forces from Puppycat’s past begin appearing on their missions and threaten to uproot everything he and Bee have created. 

One of the most compelling aspects of the show is the easygoing atmosphere of Bee and Puppycat’s world. Because of their flexible employment situation, the pair spend their days on The Island pursuing pleasure over productivity. The two friends go to the beach, binge-watch TV, and rack up in-app purchases in a mobile phone game. As a result, the show dwells on—and often finds humour in—the mundane aspects of everyday life. A good example can be found in the fourth episode ‘Gentle Touch’: 30 seconds of the 25-minute episode exclusively feature Puppycat trying to pick broccoli out of his teeth. Even the unhurried manner Bee speaks in and the lo-fi soundtrack that underscores much of the show reflect its calming overall mood. These creative choices cast the world in a wholesome light and make for a relaxing watch. 

A key element in creating this heart-warming tone is Bee and Puppycat’s friendship. The protagonists are opposites in many ways: Bee is caring and affectionate but procrastinates on important tasks, while Puppycat is selfish but has a no-nonsense attitude toward his work. This contrast sparks many humorous, petty arguments between the pair throughout the season, but it also encourages each character to step out of their comfort zone. Guided by Bee’s loyalty and compassion, they offer to weed a community garden for their landlord. After a practical pep talk from Puppycat, Bee faces her fear of water and goes for a swim in the ocean. Because of the endearing dynamic of their friendship, every moment they are on-screen together is both fun and heartfelt.

Not only is Bee and Puppycat entertaining, but it’s also visually impressive. While the smooth line art style remains essentially unchanged from the original series, the colour art of the Netflix iteration is noticeably more detailed. The show’s animation is most radiant when capturing landscapes. Whether it’s a crystalline, torus-shaped, turquoise planet in ‘What Do You Want To Be?’, a sleepy forest on an autumn morning in ‘Snow and Violets,’ or glimmering arcade lights in ‘Did You Remember,’ each scene is portrayed in a vibrant, captivating shine. 

Though at first glance the series may seem disjointed because of its genre-blurring qualities, the show balances elements of comedy, slice-of-life, and magical girl anime handily. With a soothing ambience, lovable protagonists, and stunning animation, watching Bee and Puppycat is like gazing into the night sky: Peaceful, contemplative, and uplifting.

The first season of Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space is streaming now on Netflix.

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