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.

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.

PDR’s Controversial Beliefs: Sneed’s isn’t a good joke

There’s a joke from an episode of the Simpsons, from the period that I consider “later” Simpsons, but which is actually probably less than a third into the run of the show by this point. The joke is that there is a store with a sign that says “Sneed’s Feed and Seed” with the information that the store used to be called “Chuck’s”. I mean, I’ve got the image right there, you can see it. The “joke” is that back when the store was called Chuck’s, it would have been “Chuck’s Fuck and Suck”, get it? It makes you think of a dirty word! How subversive and cool! It is to laugh. And yet I’ve seen people online cite this as a good joke.

I don’t find it that funny. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t seem to get the same value from using “curse words” as most people. I don’t get it. They’re just words to me. I find them neither offensive nor thrilling. But at least I understand that other people do enjoy them on some level I don’t get, so I can understand what the Sneed’s joke is trying to do. It may only be a minor step above having a character just say “Fuck” and then bleeping it as far as jokes that put a swear into the listener’s mind without actually saying it out loud, but that is still a step above that. That little bit of cleverness should count for something.

But here is what ruins the joke: business signs don’t work like that. If the store used to be Chuck’s, it was Chuck’s Feed and Seed. If it was an entirely different business, they wouldn’t put what it used to be on the sign. If an accountant’s office moves into a place that used to be a Pizza Hut, they don’t but “Formerly Pizza Hut” on the damn sign. If that accountant’s office changes its name, but remains an accountant’s office, then they might put their former name on the sign so that customers would know they’re the same business. Even if accountant’s names rhyme with Pizza Hut! It’s irrelevant that Sneed’s used to be Chuck’s unless Chuck’s was the same business. The leap in logic is too great for it to work.

It frustrates me to see people laud this joke. But hey, if people love it, I must be missing something.

The Most Misused Names on Superman and Lois

The television show Superman and Lois has recently finished its first season. It’s not often I try to keep up with a piece of live-action superhero media as it comes out, but this show, and its cousin Supergirl, are obviously things I feel required to keep up on. But that’s okay, because it’s been mostly decent.

But one thing this show does that I’ve seen in too many adaptations of stuff from comics: it uses names from the source material in ways of which I do not approve.

Here’s what they did wrong (Full of Spoilers):

Captain Luthor

For the first couple episodes there is a man identified to the audience as Captain Luthor, whom we’re led to believe is the Lex Luthor of an alternate universe. Eventually, this is revealed to be false. He’s actually the John Henry Irons (aka Steel) from an alternate universe.

This is the most forgivable misuse of a name on this list, in part because I genuinely think the show’s creators named the character without knowing where the show was doing. I genuinely believe they did some rewriting and that Luthor was original what he appeared to be. I can understand wanting to change if you think something will work better, but I think they missed a storytelling opportunity here. As far as I can remember, none of the characters are ever led to believe that Irons is Lex. It’s fully a trick played on the audience, never used within the story.

Even so, the reason I find it so easy to forgive is that the Steel reveal was just great. One of the high points of the season.

Morgan Edge

The use of Morgan Edge as a name on this show is another trick played on the audience, because the character began as he’d appear in comics and went WILDLY different places.

In a way I was pleased, because I was worried that Morgan’s presence meant that they’d be bringing in Darkseid, and as I’ve said, I don’t care for Darkseid in my Superman stuff. But, as I’ve also said before, I prefer Morgan Edge when he’s just a supporting cast member who happens to be a jerk businessman, not a supervillain. That’s not what they did here either.

Nat Irons

In the show, there’s an alternate universe in which John Irons and Lois Lane had a daughter named Natalie (I don’t remember catching her surname). In the comics, John Irons has a niece named Natasha. Both go by Nat.

The thing is, I love Natasha. The existence of Natalie on this show almost certainly guarantees that Natasha will not appear. And that’s a dang shame.

Dabney Donovan

And then the worst of all these nominative crimes! They gave the name Dabney Donovan to a normal run-of-the-mill superscientist who was perfectly pleasant, cooperated with authority, and was utterly normal.

Dabney Donovan in the comics is the kind of unhinged loose cannon of science that he created a miniature planet! That had horns! And he hid it in a cemetery! And created life on it that he raised with horror movies! AND THAT IS JUST HIS FIRST APPEARANCE!

At no point should anyone involved in this show have said “We have a scientist here, we could throw in a name from the comics” and landed on Dabney Donovan. Call him Emil Hamilton if you want to phone it in. Call him Harold Vekko if you want to be more obscure. Call him Bernard Klein maybe. Call him Professor Pepperwinkle if you need to. But don’t waste Dabney Donovan on this minor character.

Look, television people. I can promise you that an appropriate name exists within the Superman franchise for anything you’ve got cooked up. I can name those characters for you. Just ask me before you cast Dabney Donovan as the kind of scientist who WOULDN’T create a horned horror planet.