(TV Series, 1990-1995)
A series of wickedly hilarious episodes featuring one of the funniest characters ever created...
I was first introduced to Rowan Atkinson's famous role, the eccentric Mr. Bean, in the 1997 movie Bean. I thought that movie was pretty funny. Years later, I saw the three-DVD set for all the episodes of the original Mr. Bean TV show at a video store. All fourteen episodes plus two never-before-seen sketches and some extras. I bought it since I remember the 1997 movie. It was not a planned purchase, but I'm really glad I spent the money. These episodes are truly classics in the world of comedy.
Mr. Bean is a mysterious man because we don't know where he came from. As the opening sequence in each episode suggests, it's as if he simply fell down to Earth from above (whether from heaven or a spaceship is not clear). We don't even know what he does for a living, because none of the episodes features him at some kind of job. Rather, we see him in situations at home and in his free time, including an appointment with a dentist, taking an exam, going to a public swimming pool, Christmas shopping, and karate class. Whatever happens, there are bound to be little problems here and there.
This is where the hysterical laughs begin. Mr. Bean is the kind of man who doesn't really think. Well, never mind that. He does think but not in the way an ordinary person usually does. He often does not look ahead to think cleverly enough. He thinks of any solution that just works. He doesn't care how unusual, roundabout, or indirect it is. As a result, some of his solutions lead to more problems. This leads to more laughs for the audience.
For example, in an episode where Bean is at a hospital emergency room, he is in a hurry to see a doctor. Patients check in and take a ticket with a number because they are called by number. Bean manages to get a ticket with the number 52 on it. He sees a box on the counter with a digital display of the number to be called. When it says 24, he looks at it upside-down and gets the clever idea of turning the box upside-down so that the next number will read 52 instead of 25. Unfortunately, when number 52 does get called, Bean misses his opportunity because he falls asleep after waiting for so long.
Many words can describe Bean: eccentric, weird, silly, awkward, and just plain goofy. He is like a child trapped in a man's body, or a man with a childlike personality. He lives alone and sleeps with a teddy bear. Sometimes, he takes the teddy bear with him when he leaves his apartment. He drives a small car that he locks with a padlock on the outside. He remains silent most of the time, and when he does speak, he speaks few words in a croaking voice. He is what you may call a stupid man who doesn't fit in with society. You can see him do the weirdest things out in public, surrounded by more civilized people. And yet, in the end, he's a very lovable guy.
Some of my favorite sketches include Mr. Bean driving his car with an armchair on top, installing a new television set, packing a suitcase, and putting on swimming trunks at a beach. Though I wish there were more than fourteen episodes of Mr. Bean, I still enjoy what has been made. Perhaps it's a good thing that there isn't a new episode each week, as American television shows tends to do, because quality would be sacrificed for quantity otherwise. I could watch them over and over and still lose my breath from laughing. Rowan Atkinson is a very funny fellow, and Mr. Bean is not just his greatest creation, but also a comic character we can cherish in our hearts.
For more information about Mr. Bean, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews of the spinoff films Bean and Mr. Bean's Holiday.