Man vs. Bee tells the story of a humble man and father who finds himself working as a caretaker in an opulent mansion. The comedy series really picks up steam when the man is confronted with what appears to be a normal bee. The titular duo’s hysterical comedic struggle grows ever more outrageous, causing some serial damage to the luxurious residence where the story takes place.
Rowan Atkinson, the comedian, is at his best on the show doing what he does best. The ridiculously simple premise is transformed into a continuous comedic narrative peppered with slapstick humor. If you can’t get enough of the heartbreaking laughs that series like this offer, we’ve looked around and found some great recommendations for you! You can find most of these TV series similar to Man vs. Bee on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
7. The Thin Blue Line (1995-1996)
It goes without saying that Rowan Atkinson will make a few appearances in this list (you’re welcome!), so let’s start with this short-lived but worthy series. The Thin Blue Line is set in a fictional British town where the chief of police (Atkinson) regularly tangles with the chief of crime. Initially receiving mediocre reviews, the series has since achieved classic status and features some of the comedic actor’s best early work. As with Man vs. Bee, this series features a central duo who constantly feud with the other, resulting in a seemingly endless supply of comedy.
6. The Sarah Silverman Program (2007-2010)
Another comedic genius with a well-deserved show, comedian Sarah Silverman plays a fictionalized version of herself in The Sarah Silverman Program. Again, the premise is simple, and the show follows Silverman in her absurd everyday life marked by her ruthless self-infatuation. Through various anecdotes, hilarious interactions and cheeky songs, the main character jumps from one embarrassing situation to the next. As with Man vs. Bee, this show focuses on the comedic genius of a versatile actress who single-handedly provides constant laughs.
5. An Idiot Abroad (2010-2012)
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the duo that brought us the original version of The Office, are behind An Idiot Abroad. The show follows two friends who take their narrow-minded third friend, Karl Pilkington, on a world tour of the Seven Wonders of the World. The comedy here comes from all three main characters constantly getting in each other’s way. While the characters of Gervais and Merchant urge Pilkington to embrace local culture, the latter has his reservations, leading to some hilarious results. Anyone who enjoyed man versus bee’s fish-out-of-water comedy will love Pilkington’s battles abroad.
4. I’m Alan Partridge (1997-2002)
Continuing our foray into British comedy, I’m Alan Partridge is about the failed DJ and TV presenter who is dumped by his wife and fired by the BBC. Desperate for a serious job, Partridge kills time hosting a local radio show while brainstorming ideas for new shows. The relatively simple structure, which leaves plenty of room for comedy, will fill the man versus bee hole in your heart.
3. The Black Adder (1983)
The return to one of Rowan Atkinson’s most well-known early roles, The Blackadder, is the first in a series of sitcoms centered around the eponymous character, played by the comic actor. Set in medieval Britain, the story has a convoluted backstory that revolves around Edmund (who nicknames himself The Black Adder) as the Duke of Edinburgh. The comedy of the show lies in Edmund’s various attempts to impress his father, eventually overthrowing him. If you enjoyed Atkinson’s antics in Man vs. Bee, you’ll love watching his younger self in The Black Adder at its best in offbeat comedy.
2. Fawlty Towers (1975-1979)
An all-time classic, often considered one of the best comedy shows of all time, Fawlty Towers is set in a fictional hotel run by Basil Fawlty (portrayed by the distinctive John Cleese). Other characters include his bossy wife Sybill, sensible maid Polly, and messy, mostly lost Spanish waiter Manuel. The story revolves around the day-to-day operations of the hotel, which given the eccentric characters is a rich field for comedy.
The laughs are non-stop here, stemming from a perfect blend of slapstick and absurdist comedy. The series makes a fine addition to any comedy series, but those who enjoyed the slapstick humor of man versus bee will find the annals of Fawlty Towers just as messy and hilarious.
1. Mr Bean (1990-1995)
A top pick so obvious it’s almost anticlimax. If you’re one of the few comedy lovers who haven’t seen Mr. Bean, you should do so once you’ve read this post. Rowan Atkinson plays the ill-fated title character in what is perhaps his most iconic role. The special thing about Mr. Bean is that you are constantly in the dark as to whether the main character is stupid or a true genius.
The daily work of the titular character becomes a slapstick adventure with more comedy than most other series and films combined. Imagine laughing for an entire episode where Mr. Bean is just trying to get a clear signal on his TV. This series is legendary for a reason, and if you’ve only recently become a Rowan Atkinson fan from watching Man vs. Bee, you have Mr. Bean to look forward to.