Just when you think Dickinson can't get any weirder, everyone starts doing opium at a house party. You know, as 19th century teens do. Enter comedian Jason Mantzoukas as a bee that Emily Dickinson hallucinates and dances with. In a show in which musician Wiz Khalifa plays a sexy, blunt smoking personification of Death, it's only right that Mantzoukas voices this opium-induced hallucination of a dancing (and somehow wise?) insect.
In case you missed him somehow, Mantzoukas is likely in one of your other favorite shows, movies or podcasts. He's starred in TV shows such as The League, The Good Place, Parks and Recreation, Transparent, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Enlightened, Playing House, Legion, and Drunk History, among others. He's also been in a slew of movies, including The Dictator, Baby Mama, The House, John Wick: Chapter 3, Parabellum, and The Long Dumb Road. Likewise, you might have recognize his voice from podcasts such as How Did This Get Made, Comedy Bang Bang, or the Gilmore Guys, in addition to his other voiceover work in Comrade Detective, Big Mouth, The Lego Batman Movie.
Now he can add "Emily Dickinson's bee friend" to that resume. As an improv staple in New York and Los Angeles, Mantzoukas is the kind of comedic actor that instantly makes everything funnier, including a trippy sitcom about a 19th century poet. If you haven't seen his episode of The Chris Gethard Show with Paul Scheer and a mysterious dumpster, take a 43 minute break and watch it right now — it's probably one of the best episodes of television ever.
Mantzoukas often jokes in interviews that he gets typecast as scumbags, cult leaders, and bums. While that may be true from a certain point of view, there are seriously so many interviews and profiles about him getting typecast as a dirtbag that it's getting old. There is definitely a faction of fans out there that is trying their darndest to turn Mantzoukas into an internet boyfriend. Maybe dancing with Dickinson can be another push in that direction, even though he's big and fuzzy, and not actually on the screen human form in the Apple TV+ series.
Who knows if the bee will show up in Dickinson beyond Episode 3? There's hope, if you look to the source material. Bees actually appear pretty frequently in Dickinson's poetry. There's "To make a prairie," for example, "Like trains of cars on tracks of plush," "Fame is a bee," and a longer poem simply titled "A bee."
Hopefully that means that Mantzoukas will inspire as Emily's pollen-covered companion again.