Jerry Seinfeld Apologizes for 'Sexual Aspect' in 'Bee Movie'

Jerry Seinfeld publicly apologized for one of his most infamous movies last week: Bee Movie. In an interview on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Seinfeld said he was sorry for the "subtle sexual aspect" of the children's film. This acknowledgment vindicates years' worth of memes based on Bee Movie.

Seinfeld joined Fallon last week to discuss the arrival of his lauded sitcom Seinfeld on Netflix. Of course, it was inevitable that they would discuss other parts of his career, for better or worse. The 67-year-old confirmed that he has seen some of the Internet's retrospective commentary on Bee Movie - specifically, the strangely intimate relationship between his character, a bee named Barry B. Benson, and Renée Zellweger's character, a human florist named Vanessa Bloome.

"I apologize for what seems to be a certain uncomfortable subtle sexual aspect of the Bee Movie, which really was not intentional," Seinfeld said with feigned reluctance. But after it came out, I realized, 'This is really not appropriate for children.' Because the bee seems to have a thing for the girl. We don't really want to pursue that as an idea in children's entertainment."

Seinfeld co-wrote and produced Bee Movie in addition to starring in it. It was released by Dreamworks Animation in 2007 and did not make much of a splash - positive or negative - at the time. However, social media later pulled clips out of context to highlight the romantic and sexual undertone of the interspecies relationship between Barry and Vanessa.

Seinfeld is not the first person involved with the movie to acknowledge its unique romance. In 2017, director Steve Hickner told The New Statesman that Barry and Vanessa were "never going to be sexual or anything like that... It was purely this friendship... maybe in Barry's mind he thought... but it was never going to be that." On the other hand, writer Barry Marder acknowledged that the movie's premise was "kind of weird to begin with."

Writer Spike Feresten said that there was never meant to be an explicit "interspecies love affair" in the movie, but that over the years he had seen viewers be "entertained or repulsed" by the implication. He said that the writers didn't mean to "sell" that idea to the audience, but he believed the interpretation stemmed from the fact that he and the other writers had subconsciously ignored the characters' physical forms while writing the script.

"They would just be Barry and Vanessa, and we would write this dialogue for Barry and Vanessa, and read it over and have to remind ourselves, well, this is a tiny bee saying this, and the tiny bee is fighting with her boyfriend, so let's dial it back to friend, and make it less romantic, because it's getting weird," he said.

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This month, millions of people are expected to binge-watch Seinfeld on Netflix, but for those looking to delve into Seinfeld's stranger creations, Bee Movie is streaming there as well. You can also rent or purchase the movie on most digital stores.