Beekeeping is Jules Beachum’s dream. It started as a mere hobby, but he liked it, so it has become the thing that he yearns to do with his life. Before, he owned a restaurant, but that was just a family business that he’d inherited from his father. When Jules took over, his heart wasn’t in it, and the customers could tell. The business failed.
But Jules’s heart is in beekeeping! Admittedly, he’s off to a rough start. He kept his first two bees in a jar until they died, after which he was surprised to learn that you don’t get honey by mushing up the dead bees. After that failure, he was surprised to learn that you also don’t milk them for honey. Basically, Jules began with an absolute zero in his Beekeeping skills. But unlike the failure with the restaurant, Jules isn’t giving up on Beekeeping. He’s been studying and he’s bought the proper equipment, and it seems like he’s on the path to becoming an professional Beekeeper.
And that heart boosts Jules’s rating in another way as well. As I’ve gone about reviewing Beekeepers there’s one trope I’ve come across far too often: the Apiarist In Distress. If you look back at Holofernus Meiersdorf or Fullan you can see the problem. Those are beekeepers who are just sitting around waiting for a protagonist to come solve their problems. That’s not how high-rating Beekeepers do it. But when Jules appears in an episode of Bob’s Burgers he has a problem: he wants to get back a flat top grill from the failed restaurant so he can keep it in his family. And while the Bob’s cast does get involved, Jules wasn’t waiting for them before he acted. They encountered him in the midst of his scheme. He attempts to steal the grill using disguises and secret passages. Jules is not an Apiarist in Distress, he’s an Apiarist in Action. He may not have supernatural powers or incredible combat skills or more than basic beekeeping talents (yet), but he’s got that extra-special something that can get a Beekeeper an extra point. And all that when he’s got an allergy to bees.
I must include the caveat that there’s always a chance he could reappear on the show and they’d pile on more jokes about his terrible beekeeping and that would hurt his score. But until then: Three Honeycombs out of Five.
Harrison Wilton is a beekeeper that appears on a television show called American Horror Story. The season in which he appears has the subtitle “Cult” and that is appropriate, because Harrison is a cult member. And it seems to me that what drew Harrison to the cult in the first place was a typical case of Beekeeper Rage. In general he was unhappy with his life and his job and that led to Rage that manifested especially as paranoia. He built up a massive gun collection because he was worried the government was going to take away his rights. When the power went out in the area, he immediately assumed it was a terrorist attack. He’s clearly the kind of guy who worried a lot a cult leader came along and was able to take advantage of that. It’s a tragedy.
It’s a shame especially because I think he could have been a good beekeeper otherwise. Like the best beekeepers, he would wax poetic about the inspiring insects: “A hive is the perfect natural community because every single member of the hive is completely committed one hundred percent to a singular task. There’s no arguments. There’s no complaints. There’s no ‘me’. I admire them.” In addition to the beekeeping, he was a personal trainer at a gym, which indicates the kind of healthy lifestyle of a good beekeeper and suggests (along with his gun collection) that he may have actually been decent at Beekeeper Combat. And on occasion he seemed nice. He offered candles to his neighbours during a blackout, for example. Granted that may have been part of the cult’s plot, but I expect he would have been capable of such kindness before the cult as well.
But he never got to be the kind of beekeeper he should have been. The cult lifestyle led to his murder by chainsaw. And while that’s a metal way to go, it’s still not ideal. And that’s the true horror story here, America.
Two Honeycombs out of Five.
Well, the show Krypton was finally cancelled, so I was finally willing to sit through it all at once. The show was not what I wanted, but I knew that going in. I considered it a chore to get through. But it wasn’t without its successes. I’d say the show’s General Zod was definitely my favourite live-action Zod to date. The special effects gave us the best looking Brainiac or Doomsday we’ve had. There is also some (maybe not enough, but some) stuff in there about how the rulers of Kryptons are jerks and there is a whole oppressed class of people who need help and that’s important for the Superman franchise. And I remember laughing at at least one or two jokes. So with that out of the way, the rest of this post will be about the stuff I didn’t like.
First of all, it suffers from the same problem Smallville did (and which I assume most prequels do) in which everything is about how big and important things in the future are. Man, I hate that. When I worked my way through Smallville (similarly a chore), I decided that my enjoyment of the show would have greatly improved if they were not ever allowed to use the word “Destiny”. If a prequel is going to work, it needs to be a story, not just be about how great the story that comes later is. With that there comes the time-travel that this show used to make sure all the characters knew how important the future was. If the show NEEDED to have a time-traveller from Earth to help the audience relate (I’m not convinced it did), I definitely would not have used a non-Superman-related DC character like Adam Strange. For me it would have been Kristin Wells, not in her Superwoman identity, but just as a researcher who maybe gets trapped there or something.
It’s also very clear that the show was trying to tap into the Game of Thrones type of scene. It had a lot of characters whose names and motivations I had trouble remembering and they’d stand around having big vaguely-British-accented conversations about the various factions vying for control of the land and their words would be dripping with hints of importance and betrayal and haughtiness. I get that that was intentional. That was what the show wanted. So they did that. But it’s definitely not the way I would have gone with it. The Krypton show as created by PDR would have been 75% less Game of Thrones and that space would have been filled up with an X-Files sort of scene.
My proposal is thus: We make Seg-El a paranormal investigator. I’m assuming we still need to base the show on Superman’s grandfather specifically, so we go with an older Seg-El, already raising a young Jor-El. This would place us closer to Krypton’s destruction. My Seg would not be a high-ranking member of the Science Guild, but his work would involve wandering the planet investigating strange seemingly-paranormal things. There are plenty of tales of weird stuff on Krypton that could be adapted to play as spooky occurrences. Things like Lar-On becomming a werewolf-style beast or Nam-Ek making an immortality serum that turns him into a monster. Before the Phantom Zone is officially discovered, it could be the cause of various phenomena. What about the Juru Wizards. The coming of Brainiac. The lost history of the Vrang invasion. The aforementioned time-travel. At least one visit from Mxyzptlk. All of this adds up to enough weirdness to sustain a paranormal investigator’s career.
And, over the course of the show, he might notice that the strange occurrences have a common thread: a chain reaction of some kind is beginning in the planet’s core. I wonder what that’s all about? Oh well, I guess we’ll never know.
Gonna bring Superman Thoughts back for a bit, I think. Maybe not weekly, but more often. Gotta be getting something up here.
The reason for today’s Superman Thought in particular is the news that we almost got a Superman cartoon that looks like it would have been very close to what I’d want from a Superman cartoon.
As reported in this article, there was a proposed Superman Family cartoon. It would have combined Silver Age sensibilities with the diverse cast of Superman characters that have been introduced since the Silver Age. It probably would have been pure gold.
“Never underestimate the powers of nature”
Today’s Beekeeper comes from an old-school episode of Doctor Who called Delta and the Bannermen. Goronwy Jones (using the surname that only appeared in the script because I like to be thorough) is a Welsh Beekeeper who gets caught up in one of the Doctor’s wacky adventures and doesn’t bat an eye. That’s the main thing about Goronwy: he is not surprised by much. In this story a time-travelling alien asks Goronwy to help protect some other aliens from an army of still more aliens. During none of this does Goronwy question anything, he just happily lends his home and beekeeping supplies to the cause. During the tense confrontation, Goronwy takes the time to explain beekeeping stuff to anyone who will listen and can be seen casually reading a book. The only explanation is that Goronwy has seen weirder stuff before.
Am I suggesting that Goronwy may even know the Doctor before this in some time-travel sense? Am I suggesting that he may even have been, in his youth, a companion to some version of the Doctor that we have not yet seen? Am I suggesting that he may be the most important character to ever appear in Doctor Who and even the Doctor doesn’t know it yet? Of course I am suggesting all of that. That’s what these Beekeeper Reviews are about, aren’t they? But actually, the episodes do make the case that Goronwy has a history, if not with the Doctor, with weirdness at least. When some Americans looking for a fallen satellite ask if he’s seen anything strange fall from the sky, Goronwy says “I’ve seen many things fall out of the sky, but nothing that could be described as weird” and he talks of strange lights (presumably UFOs) that he’s seen around the area. And does his own history with the bees seem supernatural? Well, it’s certainly mysterious that he can’t even say how long he’s been doing the job (because of time travel or old-person memory? Who can say?) and he suggests that he can talk to his bees, saying “They know everything that happens.” Even without my bias, we’ve got hints that this guy is far from an “ordinary” beekeeper.
At the end of the story, Goronwy gives the Doctor some honey and, as the Doctor furtively slips away from the Americans in the Tardis, Goronwy gives the camera a knowing wink. There’s definitely something up with this guy, everyone.
Three Honeycombs out of Five.