Cartoons of the modern age have learned a thing or two about telling stories to people raised in a pop culture-saturated youth. The creators of these shows are aware that they’re not just catering to kids, but also to people in their 20s and 30s who can relate to what our storytelling desires are; something fun and escapist, but a tale that can touch the millennial mindset of being adrift and at odds with the world at large. Adventure Time and Regular Show led the pack, with their clear adoration of cartoon conventions but adding some medicine in those spoonfuls of sugar. If Pen Ward and JG Quintel’s works blazed the trail then Natasha Allegri’s Bee and Puppycat is taking the torch and running into the candy-colored distance.
Allegri was an Adventure Time veteran – the creative mother of Fionna and Cake – and her pedigree shows in her creator-run Bee And Puppycat. Quite simply, it’s a story of an aimless young woman and her cat…puppy….Puppycat. They deal with the day-to-day of life and relationships, while at the same time dealing with being pulled into a mysterious-governed-by-bizarre dream logic, awkward social interactions combined with otherworldly chewing gum. It’s both a goofy little adventure and a bizarre fever-dream. Think of it as Sailor Moon for introverts.
There’s an ethereal quality to the animation that lends it a tenderness that other cartoons tend to lack. In the sweet wrappings are the little moments that are appreciated upon repeat viewings. The awkwardness of a hurried text to a boy Bee wants to cook with, for example. Fumbling fingers, hasty deletions, and random thumb pics – it’s a tiny moment that isn’t required in the grand scope of the story. It’s this type of personality, however, that adds a layer of heart to what could have been merely a breezy and silly romp. Like Adventure Time and Regular Show before it, the heart and character is what makes this shine.
Bee and Puppycat premiered on Frederator Studios’ YouTube channel as a brief two-part pilot and, due to generous Kickstarter backing, has evolved into a full-grown internet series. If these brief morsels are any indication of things to come then comparisons to cartoons that came before will be unnecessary. It will simply be its own unique jewel in the continuing golden age of animated episodic storytelling.
All episodes of Bee and Puppycat can be found on the Frederator Cartoon Hangover YouTube page.
Edited by: Kajsa Rain Forden