Maybe you’re a fan of Rowan Atkinson because he’s a car nut that has owned a McLaren F1 (one of the world’s rarest and fastest cars). It could be that you know the man or grew up with him in England. Or did one of the television shows in which he starred, like The Thin Blue Line or the darker Black Adder series, grab your attention? He’s been in the movies Rat Race and Johnny English – and maybe others as well – so that might be your hook. He’s published articles in Car and Evo, two well-known British car magazines (and ones which I always seem to leaf through at the Barnes and Noble magazine stand), maybe that’s your thing.
And maybe you still have no idea who Rowan Atkinson is. Ok…he was born on January 6, 1955 and if you like birthdays, there’s always that.
But that’s you. What about me? Well, it could be a couple of those. I’ve seen a couple episodes of The Thin Blue Line and Black Adder. I love cars. I own the movie Johnny English. For me, however, it pretty much comes down to two words.
Now maybe you know what I’m talking about.
Mr. Bean is sort of a one-man sketch comedy created and played by Atkinson. He plays all kinds of characters, but generally it’s a socially inept guy, a kid in a grown-up’s body, who continually gets himself into zany situations, and then tries to extricate himself in the most oddball fashion. The sketches feature little or no dialogue – and what little there is comes in a goofy low-register voice – but it would be completely superfluous anyways. Atkinson is a master of facial gestures and his different looks and gazes pretty much tell the story.
And I think the stories are simply hilarious.
There’s one where he goes to the beach and has to put on his swimming trunks. But he’s not alone and doesn’t want to go all the way back to his car. His solution left me in stitches. Speaking of swimming trunks, another sketch has him at the pool, trying to garner enough bravery to jump off the high diving board. Yet another has him with his girlfriend at a slasher movie…that’s not how you eat popcorn!!
And throughout the sketches, there are these returning idiosyncrasies. Mr. Bean walks with hands slightly askew, doing a little dance of their own. There’s that blue three-wheeled car that often shows up, only to be turned on its side. And of course, Mr. Bean himself always drives a Mini…and drives it very poorly. There’s the girlfriend that makes occasional appearances, but Mr. Bean just doesn’t know how to act properly with a lady. And there’s his stuffed teddy bear.
I have to say that the “beach” sketch is one of the better 3-minute escapes you’ll find, and all of them are really funny in their own fashion. But my favorites are Mr. Bean’s lunch break when he makes a sandwich (“just popped out for lunch!”) and the Christmas episode. The latter features a hysterical “play time” scene in the store, and another with him conducting the Salvation Army band in God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen…that alone is worth the purchase of the video.
I could go on and on, but suffice to say that you should watch a couple of sketches and see for yourself.
Happy Birthday, Mr. B…uh…Rowan Atkinson!!