Beekeeper Review: Amanda and Chrissy Williams

The Beekeepers I’m looking at today run a honey farm called “Chrissy’s Honey Bees” and are the main characters in the 2022 movie Umma. Only two people run Chrissy’s Honey Farm, those being Chrissy and her mother Amanda Williams, with the former being the one who instigated this family business. When she was just a child Chrissy acquired a book about beekeeping, brought it home, and demanded that they start doing it. Until then Amanda had been an accountant, but she always tried to be a perfect mother, so she overcame her own dislike of bees to indulge her daughter’s hobby. Starting with a single hive, they grew the operation into a business that could provide for them both. They’re so successful at the start of the movie, when an online influencer has spoke well of them online causing an unprecedented demand for their honey, they have to expand the farm even more to keep up.

But things aren’t perfect for this duo. Amanda was raised by an abusive mother who would go so far as to use electricity to harm Amanda. This has left Amanda emotionally scarred and terrified of electricity, to the extent that she claims to have a medical allergy to electronics (It’s likely Amanda’s original dislike of bees was because their buzzing reminded her of electricity). With this background, it is no surprise that Amanda abandoned her mother, changing her family name and ignoring her cultural heritage, even creating a fictional “grandparents” to tell Chrissy about. Now Amanda and her daughter live “off the grid” on a farm with no phones, no lights, no motor cars, not a single electronical luxury. (They do use candles at home, but I don’t know if they use their own bees’ wax to make them.)

The problems they face in this movie stem from Chrissy growing up. She’s lived a sheltered life and wants more, she wants to go to college. Amanda is protective of her daughter, who has trouble fitting in, and doesn’t want her to go, but risks becoming controlling in a way that reminds her of the abuse she went through. Coinciding with all this, Amanda learns her mother has died and the ashes have been brought to her. What results from this emotional turmoil is a haunting in which three generations of women have to deal with their emotions and traumas and place in the world. Beekeepers versus ghosts is a great setup for me, but the fact that the family keeps bees doesn’t really factor into the horror plot here. At one point the bees do seem to respond to the haunting, but not in any way that matters.

In the end Amanda breaks the cycle of abuse by confronting the ghost of her mother and making a kind of peace with her, but never denying the damage done. I’d consider this a very beekeeperly move, if the bees had been in any way involved (maybe as psychopomps to help the souls of the living and the dead communicate?). And Chrissy does get to learn more about her culture and gets to go to college, but I’m sure she won’t give up on Beekeeping. Her name is in the company’s name after all.

Three Honeycombs out of Five. They’re above average Beekeepers for sure, but the beekeeping doesn’t tie into their supernatural adventure here, so I can’t go higher.

Beekeeper Review: Nathan Stinger

The Scooby-Doo franchise has already provided me with a couple of Beekeepers to review. The Bee-Man of Alcatraz and Mr. Wilkins and Brittany have all been Beekeepers who have met the Gang either as friend or foe. But none of those were the first! Unless I’ve missed something quite obscure, the chronologically-earliest Beekeeper to meet Scooby-Doo and friends is one Nathan Stinger.

In a lot of ways, Nathan Stinger is very impressive. His name is “Stinger” for goodness sake! And he lives in a town called Honeydale! This is all excellent Beekeeper Branding. Plus, I’ve mentioned before that I like when Beekeepers are also scientists, well, to spoil the ending to his episode, he secretly works for NASA helping create and protect a supply of rocket fuel which is coveted by spies from other nations.

Stinger’s bees are similarly notable. We’re told that there are 95 million bees in Honeydale and presumably most of them are Stinger’s. Indeed, he has a very large operation. And the bees are smart too! They have that cartoon bee power where a cloud of them can come together and form into a shape like a hand or a fly swatter or something. It’s all quite good. The bees even help out in the fight against the baddies in the end.

But that’s the thing. The baddies. No matter how impressive Stinger and his bees are, we’re still meeting them in a typical Apiarist In Distress situation. The episode is about spies (posing as renegade giant killer bees, of course) attacking Stinger’s farm to steal that sweet, sweet rocket fuel. This greatly hurts Stinger’s business and they even kidnap him at one point. The show belongs to Scooby and the Gang, so they have to be the heroes. That’s just the facts. Under some other circumstances, maybe Stinger could rate higher, but as depicted in this episode he’s just a little above average.

Three Honeycombs out of Five. In Scooby-Doo monsters are more likely to return than supporting cast members, but let’s make an exception for Nathan Stinger, why not?

Beekeeper Review: The Beekeeper From Rugrats

This is definitely a review I didn’t actually need to do, but in the interests of being thorough I need to do it. A conundrum. So I did it.

The Beekeeper who appeared on the show Rugrats doesn’t actually even appear on the show Rugrats. The man in the picture is not the Beekeeper in question, that is Chas. Chas is the father of one of the titular Rugrats. He is a widower and, at this point in the show at least, he’s dating a lot, trying to find someone to have a relationship with. In this episode he goes on a series of bad dates, one of which is a beekeeper who wants to give him a tour of her hives. Chas is a nervous sort, so he brings a first aid kit on the date with him, in case of being stung. After we see Chas leave for this date we don’t see him again until he’s being set up with a different woman, with us seeing nothing of the apiary or the woman in question. So we know almost nothing about this Beekeeper.

She’s willing to date a single father, which is nice, but for a first date she just brings him to see her hives. Does this prove she cares about her bees so much that she’s showing them off? Or at least that she puts so much work in that she can’t take the time away to go elsewhere for this date? Does the date go horribly wrong with the bees attacking Chas? Does it go wrong because there’s simply no chemistry between the two? Or does it go right, but she decides she can’t be with Chas because of her devotion to the job? There’s so many possibilities and I just don’t have any evidence to go on. It’s almost like this is a character I’m being ridiculous by reviewing at all!

From what I can tell by looking at descriptions of the series, I don’t think that true supernatural stuff is commonplace in the world of Rugrats, so I can’t give this mystery woman the benefit of the doubt of maybe being a magical Beekeeper. Maybe she’s good at fighting and adventures, but we simply don’t know. Gonna have to go with a “normal beekeeper” rating.

Two Honeycombs out of Five.

Reviews like this one I can really point to when I want to prove I’m the world’s foremost reviewer of Fictional Beekeepers. Plus they’re really easy to write.

Planet Gurx: Gurxian Animals Again

Once again I’m seeking to speed up the process of working through all the Gurxian animals I’ve drawn by posting a bunch of them that aren’t connected by any single region.

Iakeab

A species of nocturnal predator that hunts in the dense forests of Gurx, the Iakeab are stealthy creatures with excellent lowlight vision and a tendency to grab onto their prey and just hang onto it until it tires itself out. Iakeab like to build nests in the rotting remains of vegetation.

Uuggovoau

Uuggovoau are a grasslands species that has specialized in eating nests of smaller animals, especially small Vootuph that live in tunnels in the dirt. Their claws are perfect for digging open the tunnels and they can insert their long Rel to catch their prey.

Simauginis

Living in the shallow waters near shorelines, Simauginis are soft-tissues filter-feeders that walk along the sands in the day, and burrow into it at night. If they are divided into chunks, each can grow into a full-grown Simauginis over time. This, and their rapid reproductive rate, makes them a plentiful food source for a variety of predators.

Otyanoa

Large, aquatic creatures with eyes on stalks, the Otyanoa are docile and often farmed by Strondovarians in cooler oceanic regions. It is generally assumed that Otyanoa would be extinct if not kept by Strondos, so they’re treated as an example of the Strondos’ mastery over shaping their planet.

Tesses

The flying Vootuph species called Tesses fill the same niche on Gurx that honeybees do on Earth. They fly around collecting the Gurxian equivalent of pollen and turning it into a honeylike substance called Vaumian. And yes, there are Strondovarians who care for Tesses colonies to farm that Vaumian, the Gurxian equivalent of beekeepers.

Imbaukla

Another predatory species from the dense forests, the hindmost limbs of the Imbaukla have curled forward into limbs used to move the detritus that gathers at the forest floor to flush out smaller animals to eat. Imbaukla are tall creatures, standing as high as an adult Strondovarian, with eyes that can move independently to help them spot prey to grasp with their sticky Rel.

Oaushaue

A flightless species related to the Glounaph line, the Oaushaue are nearly endangered and now only exist in captivity. This has made all three-hundred and seven remaining Oaushaue extremely notable and they are prized possessions of famous individuals and organizations. It is good luck for the Oashaue, at least, that their captors want to take care of them, lest they lose their status symbol.

Beekeeper Review: Eustacius Jericho

Professor Eustacius Jericho, the Scourge of Scoundrels, is not the first Beekeeper I’ve covered that comes from the Doctor Who franchise. That would be Goronwy Jones. But Jericho comes closer than his predecessor to becoming an actual Companion of the titular Doctor.

Jericho was a British soldier in the Second World War, and saw many terrible things. When he returned home, he threw himself wholly into academic life, seeking largely (consciously or otherwise) to be detached from the “real world” because of the darkness he’d seen. By the 1960s, he had some rapport with the people of his village, but avoided close attachments. And, because science often pairs well with the keeping of bees, it was in this era that seems to have taken it up. We don’t know how many hives he had, but we know he liked to use their honey in tea. “Nature’s own shock remedy,” he called it. I suspect he found it useful treating his trauma left from the War.

When supernatural events barged into Jericho’s life, he doubted them at first, but his scientific rationale quickly caught him up. Even in dangerous situations, he hoped to continue researching and learning. And when he wound up stranded in the early 1900s with the Doctor’s Companions, he and they went on a years-long, world-spanning quest to help prevent the end of the world. And when that crisis came to its climax, he allowed himself to be captured by an alien army as part of the plan to bring them down. The plan worked, though Jericho didn’t make it back alive. He was, at least, happy in the end that after his sedentary decades, he got to have a big adventure in his final years.

The only problem is that we never got to see Jericho doing any Beekeeping. We only get that one reference to his bees’ honey. Certainly he couldn’t have been doing it after being stranded in the past and started travelling the world on a mission. That means that the part of Jericho’s life that is full of adventure and the part where he keeps bees are decidedly separate. That’s not the ideal situation I look for here in these reviews, and sadly that brings his rating down from what it otherwise could have been:

Three Honeycombs out of Five.