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Look Who's Talking
For the writer/producer/performer, having Barry as a bee out of his element provided Seinfeld with the opportunity to take a very distinct and funny look at our culture: "Barry's a college graduate and — a little like the character in ‘The Graduate' — he's just not quite sure where he fits in,” Seinfeld observes. "By a series of circumstances he ends up outside the hive, where he learns a little bit about the culture when he makes a human friend. And he gets thrown off-kilter by this, distracted and excited by the human world. So his life spins off in another direction, completely off the track of what bees are supposed to be doing.”

While human culture is ever-changing and evolving, bee culture has remained largely unchanged for about 27 million years. You're born, you go to school, you graduate, you go to work, and then you pass on. Not so bad, as long as there are choices to make along the way. But in the one-company hive of New Hive City, about the only choice a bee gets to make is which job to accept in the conglomerate that runs every aspect of bee society, with the end result being honey. In Barry's case, that corporation is Honex, and it offers a roster of 3,000 different positions (e.g., heating, cooling, viscosity, stirrer, pouring, crud remover, etc.). Once a bee chooses, that's it; his job for life. No lateral moves. No advancement. No vacation. No days off. No quitting. And for Barry, that adds up to No Way.

Without knowing it, Barry mimics humans when he hesitates between graduation (he's an alumnus of the Class of 9:15 a.m.) and going to work at Honex. His loving parents, Martin and Janet Benson, are hoping that their son will follow in Martin's footsteps and become a "stirrer.” However, what stirs Barry is a desire to see the world outside of New Hive City.

There's only one way out of the hive, and that is by becoming a member of the squadron of elite, buffed brave hearts known as the "pollen jocks.” The militaristic operation is responsible for gathering nectar and pollinating flowers. It's a real man's job. The "pollen jocks” are the only ones allowed to leave the hive to execute this essential duty of beedom. The somewhat average-sized Barry signs on for an expedition that will ultimately change his life. "In our film, there are lots and lots of bee rules,” says Seinfeld. "When you make an animated movie, you get to create a fake universe, so you get to make up the laws of that universe and it can really be anything you want. We came up with laws like no weird shapes, such as circles and triangles —only hexagons. Bees invented the hexagon. There were laws like no buzzing past 6:00 p.m., when people are sleeping. But in the end, the main law of the story is that even though bees have always talked, they have never spoken to humans — they get enough trouble from them as it is, thank you very much.”

Barry's expedition with the "pollen jocks” is an eye-opener, to say the least. The human world he sees is beyond his wildest imaginings, full of fantastical shapes and colors — and so many people. After a rather frightening and wholly unpleasant experience on a tennis court, an enlightening encounter on the windshield of a truck and getting caught in the rain, Barry winds up inside the apartment of a sweet Manhattan florist named Vanessa. "Barry meets his female friend Vanessa because she saves his life in her apartment, when her other guests attempt to kill him,” observes Seinfeld. "And he just feels that if someone saves your life, you have to thank them — you don't just fly away. So, to thank her, he has to speak to her, even though that's breaking the law. And he decides that that's what he's going do, because it would just be too impolite to not thank someone for saving your life.”

Having always been a fan of Renée Zellweger, Seinfeld immediately thought of her for

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