There is a lazy way of explaining certain memes that goes a little something like this: “Because internet.” That’s it. To expand, the general idea is that the internet is so vast and tangled that you’re bound to see weird junk on a regular basis and that trying to discern meaning or motive from it is a fruitless endeavor.
This is often not the case. Many memes have simple explanations, like that they are funny, or universally applicable, or they invert a well-known trope, or are coated in a thick balm of irony. “Because internet” is rarely the end of the story.
But for the life of me I cannot figure out what the hell is up with this new Bee Movie trend where people edit the movie or its trailer in ways that are best described as exceedingly stupid. Consider “Bee movie trailer but every time they say bee it gets slower,” which is exactly what it sounds like and got more than 4,500 upvotes on Reddit yesterday.
Here’s “Bee movie trailer but every bee is duplicated.”
But let’s back up. Bee Movie is a 2007 computer-animated children’s movie written by and starring Jerry Seinfeld. He plays Barry B. Benson, a bee who falls in love with a human and sues the human race for stealing honey from bees. It has a heavily ironic online fandom because it is crazy-dumb. One running joke involves sending the entire script of the film to random recipients.
If you have any interest in watching the entire movie, you can watch it in 3 minutes at 20,000x speed.
Here’s the trailer, “but every ‘Bee’ is replaced with another letter.”
“The entire bee movie but every time they say bee it gets faster.”
“The Bee Movie but it Keeps Getting More Intense.”
It appears that the rise of Bee Movie video remixes was inspired by the preceding rise of remixes of “We Are Number One,” a song from the kid’s show Lazy Town. They’re an update on an old format known as YouTube Poop, a type of video mash-up that tweaks audio from existing programs mainly in order to confuse and shock the viewer. YouTube artiste MrMrMANGOHEAD has been posting Lazy Town remixes for the past three weeks with tweaks such as “but the word ‘one’ triggers duplication and makes the video slow down + get louder” or “We Are Number One backwards however, every ‘we are number one’ is forwards.”
Like all collaborative media, these confounding remixes are a game of one-upsmanship, and the winner is whoever makes the most uncomfortable rule set.