Beekeeper Review: Charlotte “Chuck” Charles

Charlotte “Chuck” Charles appeared in the show “Pushing Daisies”. Unfortunately, she was killed off in the very first episode. Fortunately, this was a show where that doesn’t stop her, for the protagonist, a piemaker named Ned, has the ability to raise the dead with his touch. There are rules about how this works, but those are his deal and this is about Chuck, so let’s focus on her.

The facts are these: When Chuck was young, her father died. Afterward, she was raised by her aunts, who introduced her to beekeeping. After growing up and being murdered, she was resurrected by Ned. Now ‘Alive-Again’ (a term she prefers over undead), Chuck resumes her beekeeping career on a roof in the city (“Operation: Urban Honey Pioneer”).

Does she have any powers? Well, she probably won’t age, that counts for something. If I really want to push it, I can say that she has used mood-enhancing drugs while baking pies, which is sort of like being knowledgeable with potions and stuff. She keeps her cool even when being swarmed by bees that aren’t her own, which is good and actually beekeeping-related. More significantly, when her bees are killed by “rogue pesticides” she has Ned reanimate them all, creating a hive full of ageless Alive-Again bees. That’s pretty neat. Finally, she has claimed that the honey that she and the bees make now is the best she’s had, though she admits that most things taste better since her death, so we can’t be too sure. There is no legacy of beekeeping in her family, though. It seems that her aunts simply found an ad for some bees in a magazine and thought it might cheer her up. The aunts seem to have helped out when she was a kid, but this is not one of those cases where a beekeeper comes from a lineage of those in the profession.

Well, what kind of person is she? It is implied that she has some sins in her past that she wants to make up for after her rebirth, but I don’t see the signs of Beekeeper Rage. In her post-death life, she joins Ned and his friends as they solve mysteries. I’ve not covered this before, but I definitely put solving mysteries in the same category as being a badass fighter. Solving mysteries is just fighting crime with your brain’s fists, after all. By the end of the series, she is even adopting a “superhero”-style nickname for herself: “The Alive-Again Avenger”. Sounds like she’s in this for keeps. Alright, so how does she stack up?

Three Honeycombs out of Five. She’s an impressive beekeeper with some supernatural elements, I’ll give her that. But, apart from one episode that made mention of the fact that Egyptians connected bees with death, the supernatural elements have little to do with her being a beekeeper. She’s a reanimated crimefighter who happens to keep bees.

Beekeeper Review: Ghost from Mission Impossible

Today’s beekeeper appeared in an episode of Mission Impossible titled “Zubrovnik’s Ghost”. First, let’s have a quick summary of the episode: Some enemy agents are trying to convince someone to defect to their side by telling her that her husband’s ghost wants her to. That’s a lie, though. Her husband, the titular Dr. Zubrovnik, wasn’t even dead for real. For the purposes of this ruse, the bad guys killed a beekeeper and burned his body to pass it off as Zubrovnik. That was a mistake. The beekeeper’s ghost takes its violent revenge on his killers, and the agents that Mission Impossible sent (I’m not going to bother learning which organization stars in the show) get to stand around wondering why this show isn’t about beekeeper ghosts every week.

We never get to see this beekeeper alive, or even learn his name. He’s an unfortunate victim of a murder before the episode even begins, which suggests he may not be the best fighter, but from his position in the afterlife, he displays some real power.

The first suggestion that things are not as they seem is that the bees around Zubrovnik’s mansion are active at night, and even during thunderstorms. Of course, they also wind up swarming the murderers, so it is pretty clear they’re doing the dead beekeeper’s bidding. The ghostly apiarist also displays control over smoke, another standard supernatural beekeeper weapon. Furthermore, his ability to shut and lock doors from beyond the grave should be mentioned. Sure, that’s more Ghost Power than Beekeeper Power, but it is his Beekeeper Rage that brings him back from the grave in the first place.

We do have to address that Beekeeper Rage, though. Now, I’m not going to say getting murdered is something one shouldn’t get a little ticked off about, but as is so often the case, Beekeeper Rage goes above and beyond rational anger. Mission Impossible’s psychic agent tries to contact Zubrovnik’s ghost, but instead find’s the beekeeper, whom she describes as having “unquenchable power”. “It hates,” she says. “It hates!” The beekeeper is using his ghostness to strike out at some bad guys, so I can’t say he isn’t using it in a productive way, but it sure seems to have completely overwhelmed his humanity. Hopefully once the murderers are dead he can find some peace.

It is my understanding, from Internet research, that the Mission Impossible franchise has maintained a continuity that goes all the way to the movies that still come out to this day, rather than having been rebooted like so many franchises. I also understand that the truly supernatural events in this episode are not in keeping with the general tone of Mission Impossible. Since this is supernatural beekeeper exists in a world where that sort of thing is not common, it is actually more impressive that he has these powers.

Three Honeycombs out of Five.

Beekeeper Review: G.O.B. Bluth

George Oscar Bluth Jr. could have been an ideal example of a beekeeper, but his development was stunted by his less than virtuous personality. Born into a rich family, G.O.B. was overwhelmed by all the pressure to be bright, and wound up as a pretty big jerk. Still, he’s a beekeeper. He must have something going for him, right? Let’s find out:

G.O.B. got on board the bee business mostly to spite his family. Even though his business plan isn’t particularly well thought out (“How do you make money from it?” “You know, honey. Or just as gifts.”), he’s stuck with it a lot longer than many of his schemes. For a time, G.O.B. kept his bees in his apartment, keeping them in line with his magic smoke, which is pretty badass. Unfortunately, this only resulted in a very sick swarm of bees (“My bees are dropping like flies, and I need them to fly like bees.”). He kept them at an expensive bee hospital, but got kicked out of there because his bees were a risk to all the other bees in the place. After that, he kept them in a limousine. This is, perhaps, the best phase of his beekeeping career. Not because he’s at all successful, but because he gets to identify himself as a “gentleman honey farmer” and his swarm attacked an entourage of young celebrity jerks (though G.O.B. didn’t even notice). That’s a plus.

Okay, he’s not good at realistic-style beekeeping, but that’s not what I’m about here. G.O.B., like all the best beekeepers, is more than just a beekeeper. His primary occupation is magician. Magic beekeeper? That’s a good combination. Or it would be, if his magic career wasn’t full of failures even more spectacular than his bee business. Okay, but what about fighting prowess? G.O.B. is pretty prone to getting into physical altercations (usually with his brother). But he’s not particularly good at that either. And Beekeeper Rage? Well, G.O.B. manages to circumvent that one by not being beekeeper enough to attain it. He’s got plenty of regular rage, though.

So what is the final countdown of G.O.B.’s score? It’s not good. I gave the beekeepers from the Simpsons a bonus for just being from a great show, and Arrested Development is certainly a great show, but I can’t do that for G.O.B. His failure is just too strong a part of the character. And I don’t think he ever collected a single bit of honey. It’s almost like they were trying to make him comedically bad at the job. Come on!

One Honeycomb out of Five. GOB Bluth is possibly one of the worst beekeepers in the history of beekeepers, but he’s still pretty great. Maybe when the show comes back, he’ll find some success and get the last laugh. He’ll be the laughingstock of the beekeeping world.

Beekeeper Review: Doc Beebles

By now it is clear that it is too common for beekeepers in the superhero/supervillain world to just be called “The Beekeeper”. Clearly that is an appeal to the pure mythic appeal of beekeepers as a profession, but you’d think they could come up with something more imaginative.

Anyway, today’s beekeeper is called “The Beekeeper”. He appeared on a show called Johnny Test. I didn’t know about the existence of this show until I was researching beekeepers, so I don’t have much to give as far as context is concerned.

Here’s the deal: Doc Beebles is an old man who runs a company that makes honey bars, a healthy snack. Nobody buys his product because they assume healthy snacks are gross. Beebles becomes the Beekeeper and goes on a citywide crime spree, stealing candy so that people won’t have any choice but to buy his products. His plot is foiled by Johnny Test and friends and, though they admit that the honey bars are actually good, Beebles is arrested. In a later episode the Beekeeper is trying to get his revenge on Johnny, but is mostly unnoticed as Johnny is trying to come up with a new holiday. That one ends with Johnny and the Beekeeper working together, with the Beekeeper as a sort of Santa-figure, using his bees to deliver his honey bars to all the kids in the world. The Beekeeper has, as far as my research can tell, remained reformed since. So he gets a happy ending, at least.

Beebles is at the borderline between awesomely competent beekeeper and not one of those. Sure he has good control over his bees, but he also loses that control very easily to Johnny in a bee costume. He owns his own business and makes a good product, but apparently his product doesn’t sell. He’s got cool gizmos (A beemobile, some sort of balloon floatation system, a “honey blaster” which seems to basically be a laser gun) but he is, of course a victim of Beekeeper Rage, as evidenced by his anti-candy crusade. Still, he’s quite active for an old guy, wants people to eat healthier, and he enjoys making bee-related puns. I admit it’s a close call. It has to be taken into account that, while they’re probably superheroes or something, Beebles, especially in the second of these episodes, was foiled repeatedly and casually by children.

Two Honeycombs out of Five. Maybe if he just had a better name than “The Beekeeper” he could have rolled over to a third comb.

Now, I just want to point out that my Beekeepers Reviews are never intended to be a review of the work in which the beekeeper appears, but I need to point out that I don’t much care for Johnny Test. I actually do think, based on these episodes, that the humour of the show could be in the right place, but it has this supremely annoying tendency to make unnecessary noise. Every second of the show contains a sound effect, or a musical sting, or both. I assume this is (the creators’ idea of) an attempt to appeal to kids with short attention spans, but I hate it. So much.

The Souls of the Venture Bros

Okay, today I’m going to do something a little different: I consider the Venture Bros to probably be my favorite thing on television these days, so sometimes I like to read about it on the Internet. Now, I’m getting into a pretty big spoiler for the show here (though, one from the start of the second season and that was like forever ago), but I want to offer my own thoughts on the topic of the titular brothers, Hank and Dean, being clones. The idea is that the boys are so death-prone that their Super Scientist father has clones of them ready to go when needed and the boys’ beds record their minds as they sleep, so that the clones will have their memories. Simple enough. What I want to talk about today is… well, I occasionally see people on the Internet talking as though the fact that the Hank and Dean of today are cloned from the original Hank and Dean, it somehow means that these are not the “real” Hank and Dean, that they are, in fact different people who just happen to have the appearance and memories (in fact, Dean himself is going through a sort of existential crisis about that in the show as of this writing). So, in the interests of amassing evidence to argue against people who will never, ever see this website, here I will present my case:

Point I) In the universe of the Venture Bros, souls and the afterlife are confirmed to exist. Dr. Byron Orpheus, friend of the Venture family, is an accomplished necromancer and all manner of ghosts have been encountered (Abraham Lincoln in Guess Who’s Coming to State Dinner, Major Tom in Ghosts of the Sargasso, and a Native American tribe in Assassinanny 911, for examples). Knowing that the soul, in that world, is an actual thing, we would kind of have to say that who a person is would be defined by their soul.

Point II) The current clones of Hank and Dean have the souls of the previous incarnations. In the episode Powerless in the Face of Death, the episode that reveals the clonal nature of the boys, Orpheus travels to the afterlife in search of the boys’ souls and finds that their souls are not there. Continuing his search for the souls he comes to Dr. Venture’s lab, where he senses the souls within the machinery that Doc uses to record the boy’s memories. While Doc doesn’t believe in using the supernatural designation of “soul” preferring to think of it as just the boy’s “memory synapses,” but Orpheus is the expert in the supernatural and he says the souls are in there. It seems that one’s soul goes where a person’s “memories, hopes, and dreams” goes, and that’s what Doc has on store. Thus, with this information fed into the boys clone slugs every time they die, they are in essence carrying their soul with them.

To further my case, I point to The Family That Slays Together Part One, in which Hank notes that he “I jumped off my roof in a Batman costume. I think. I might have just dreamt it.” That was one of the ways that Hank died. Hank remembers this though it was probably not something that would have been recorded by his bed, and that indicates to me that he has carried a bit of memory from a previous body to his new one. It is especially worth noting that the ghost of Abraham Lincoln was only able to affect the physical world through objects that bore his image (statues, paintings, money, etc.). For the souls of Hank and Dean, their own cloned bodies would be a perfect fit.

To me, it looks like this: When the boys die, their soul goes to those Earthly things that most connect them to the world, their memories in Doc’s machinery, and then on into the clone slugs. That continuity of soul would mean that the clones of Hank and Dean now present are as much Hank and Dean as any Hank and Dean that ever came before. I fully agree that if we took a clone and let it live without downloading the souls into it, it would be a new person (look at D-19, the rejected Dean clone from Perchance to Dean). But the Hank and Dean of Season Four are still the Hank and Dean of Season One (and the dozen Hanks and Deans that died before that).