“Bee and Puppycat: Lazy In Space” is the Lofi Girl of Animated Shows (REVIEW)

The first time I came across Bee and Puppycat was in 2020, when I stumbled upon Season 1 in its entirety on the Cartoon Hangover YouTube channel. It quickly became one of my favorite animated shows, as it isn’t made for young audiences, but, rather, for adults. There are jokes from the show that I still think about, like the crab who says “Cleavage” throughout “Beach Cats” or the Puppycats’ many, many violence-related threats. It was the first show I’d seen that used a cute and cuddly, Studio Ghibli-esque art style but was made for me

Title card from the original Bee and Puppycat. (COURTESY: Netflix)

The best way I can describe Bee and Puppycat is that it reminds me of listening to Lofi Girl while wearing a thick sweater and drinking warm soup. It doesn’t exactly evoke “cozy autumn vibes,” but it definitely does come across as a chill-and-unhinged (in a chaotic good way) adventure show that redefines what adult animation can look like. And after many, many years, and a lot of controversies, I am very glad that Bee and Puppycat is finally available for everyone to enjoy on one of the largest streaming platforms (if not the largest). I’m beyond excited for new audiences to discover the show and fall in love with its characters, and for its success to allow other adult animated shows to find an audience – like Kid Cudi’s animated romance Entergalactic, which also just released on Netflix.

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Allyn Rachel as Bee and Vocaloid OLIVER as Puppycat in Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space. (COURTESY: Netflix)

Having said all that: as much as Bee and Puppycat was a cultural phenomenon and trendsetter, Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space falls a bit flat. Watching the 16-episode season was a feat that took a long time. And that’s not because I don’t think the show is any good; rather, it relies too heavily on casual viewing and thus its story doesn’t come together as strongly as I’d like.

Before I get lost in the sauce, though, I would like to point out before that the animation; art; sound design; soundtrack; and voice acting are all top-notch. The show is stunning, colorful, fun – it has all the makings of something phenomenal. Its art is a refined version of the original Bee and Puppycat and you can tell that a lot of time, care, and love went into making it this beautiful. Allyn Rachel continues to be such a unique performer as Bee that she shines all the way through; I am obsessed with Ashly Burch, forever and always; and the use of Vocaloid OLIVER for Puppycat is a testament to just how well technology and animation can go hand-in-hand. 

Spoilers ahead for Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space.

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Allyn Rachel as Bee and Vocaloid OLIVER as Puppycat in Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space. (COURTESY: Netflix)

To say that Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space Season 1 initially disappointed me would be an understatement. This might just be my experience, but I struggled mightily to get invested, to the point where I had to force myself to make it through the first few episodes. This is troubling when you consider that the first few episodes are meant to bring the new audience up to speed on what this show is all about. I had been under the impression that Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space was meant to be Bee and Puppycat Season 2, something that I very quickly realized was not the case. I’m unsure if Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space, which restarts the entire show, was always meant to do so.

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Allyn Rachel as Bee, Arin Hanson as Wesley, and Vocaloid OLIVER as Puppycat in Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space. (COURTESY: Netflix)

The easiest way to describe Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space Season 1 is “No thoughts; just vibes.” A lot of the new stories follow the same whimsy-and-chill format as the original, something that I’m very glad to see continuing. However, because “vibes” seem to be the main focus, much of the story and substance aren’t as strong as I’d like them to be. The set-up for a lot of these episodes seemed to take up at least half of the runtime, which left too little time or focus for the part of the episode where we get the fantastical space exploration.

I also didn’t fully get the show’s humor. It comes across as somewhat shocking, and intentionally so – but it nonetheless lacks intention; it’s almost like something random a kid would say to confuse you. Some of the humor is also very repetitive, like Toast’s overwhelming desire to fight Cas, which quickly became boring. 

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Allyn Rachel as Bee and Vocaloid OLIVER as Puppycat in Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space. (COURTESY: Netflix)

The show picked up for me in Episode 11, “Bird Friend.” Its overall structure finally comes together in an exciting and heartfelt episode that not only showcases Bee and Puppycat’s storyline, but also delves into Cas’ in a way that is satisfying and shows a new side of her. And while I do think that Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space Season 1 does suffer a great deal from not having Deckard around, I do enjoy the shift away from him being Crispin’s romantic interest. It’s really interesting to watch Bee and Crispin interact – especially from an autistic and ace perspective, as the show reveals the two of them had been in a relationship. From Bee’s point of view, their relationship wasn’t that big a of deal – but then they even lived together for a period. Seeing the other side of this was rewarding, to say the least.

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Alexander James Rodriguez as Cardamon, Allyn Rachel as Bee, and Vocaloid OLIVER as Puppycat in Bee and Puppycat: Lost in Space. (COURTESY: Netflix)

I also adored Cardamon’s storyline. Ever since the original show, I’ve been enamored of his character. He’s a seven year old landlord, for crying out loud, and a tiny Virgo, and he’s living alone because his mom is in a coma. I think Cardamon is the ultimate “Had to grow up fast” character, which makes his every appearance tug at my heartstrings. While it’s clear that Bee doesn’t know how to take care of herself as a young adult, Cardamon doesn’t really have a choice: he’s alone in the world, and any adult who might do something to help him doesn’t care enough to try. His story is tragic and sad, a cold splash of water that reminds us while Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space looks cute and ultra-positive, the realities of its characters – especially Cardamon – are not. Episode 14, “Why Don’t You Help Me,” is a painful reminder of this, as Cardamon’s breakdown finally shows us another side to his always-cool, calm, and collected demeanor. 

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Allyn Rachel as Bee and Vocaloid OLIVER as Puppycat in Bee and Puppycat: Lost in Space. (COURTESY: Netflix)

I also thoroughly enjoyed the expansion of Puppycat’s lore. The original pilot hinted that Puppycat was a space outlaw who had fallen in love with the Space King’s daughter. The two had planned to run away together – but when Puppycat was found out, the King’s warlocks turned him into the cat-dog hybrid we have today. The warlocks play a much larger role in Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space, and their appearance in the Season 1 finale is a nice way to tie up the season’s overall arc. By then, everything had melded together enough to make me genuinely intrigued for Season 1.

That being said, Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space also took so long to get there that even I had begun to lose patience. If Netflix greenlights a Season 2, I hope the show is allowed to finally delve into its serialized portion; doing so would give its episodic nature a lot more drive and purpose. All in all, though, I am just excited to see where the show goes and what kinds of other silly, weird, wild stories they tell. 

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Allyn Rachel as Bee and Vocaloid OLIVER as Puppycat in Bee and Puppycat: Lost in Space. (COURTESY: Netflix)

And above all, Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space thrives because of its relatable approach to adulthood. It’s a joy to watch Bee struggle to take care of herself, because her struggle is also a nice reminder that you don’t have to have your life figured out by your early twenties – figuring it out is what your twenties are for. What’s so much more important is making sure that you’re surrounded by people who love you and care for you.

Whether you’re an OG Bee and Puppycat fan or are tuning in for the first time, I think you’ll have a good time. Just don’t go into this expecting the most. Instead, much like Lofi, put it on in the background while you play a cozy game of Animal Crossing or bake a loaf of bread. 

Rating: 7/10

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