I have just had a momentous epiphany: The Bee Movie is an allegory for the failures of communist revolutions. Think about it.
First, we begin in the wholly capitalist society. Bees represent the workers, the exploited proletariat; they slave away day after day without receiving any substantial compensation for their work. The hive represents factories, of course. Honey serves as the symbol for the material products created (reluctantly) by the proletariat (the bees).
If the bees are the proletariat, it is obvious that the humans play the role of the bourgeoisie, They are the factory owners, the tyrannical capitalists that take advantage of the desperation of the proletariat. They force the bees to work in unsafe work conditions, as seen in the heart-wrenching smoke-gun scene.
Barry, the protagonist, is obviously the revolutionary leader of the communist uprising. He is dissatisfied with the status quo; he feels confined by societal expectations. He wants to break free. Barry’s character transformation truly begins when he meets Vanessa, a character who embodies the moral turmoil of the empathetic, reluctant bourgeoisie who seeks change, but is hesitant to risk their own livelihood.
The taboo nature of Barry’s and Vanessa’s relationship speaks volumes about the difficulty of attempting to bridge the societal divide.
However, the true revolution begins when Barry discovers the mass exploitation of his people, the bees, in order to make profitable material items, in this case, honey. Through clandestine investigation, Barry discovers just how cruel the humans are when he comes upon the dastardly beekeepers, who no doubt represent the police and bruisers who were instrumental in the oppression of the working class.
In an ingenious twist, Barry’s revolution happens not in the streets, but in the courthouse, where he attempts to sue the human race for their unlawful exploitation of the masses. Using his masterful rhetoric, Barry is able to convince the judge and jury of the injustices taking place. This moment shows the ideals of communism are spreading. Each individual is entitled to the same resources, regardless of occupation or class.
Unfortunately, in a brilliant reversal, after they reclaim their rightful resources, the bees lose their motivation to work. Without any incentive to perform labour or seek higher education, the proletariat ceases to work. Immediately, society begins to fall apart; this is conveyed by the wilting and dying of the flowers throughout the nation. The society is no longer sustainable, as resources plummet without any production.
In a slow and painstaking scene, Barry realizes the errors of his ways. He was too idealistic in believing that communism could truly succeed. Reluctantly, he admits his mistakes and orders the bee proletariat to again submit to the shackles of capitalism. The ending of course seems optimistic in face of the inevitable oppression, creating a clever juxtaposition of joy and pain.
It saddens me that it has taken me this long to truly appreciate Seinfeld’s cinematic masterpiece. It is time to recognize Seinfeld as the politically and philosophically gifted visionary that he is.