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Mr. Bean / Rowan Atkinson
category: Britsh Comedy
Category: Physical Comedy, Sketch Comedy
category: the stuff is mostly all ages
Black Adder is adult humour
Created By: Rowan Atkinson, Richard Curtis, Ben Elton
Star: Rowan Atkinson
Number of Episodes: 14
Original Run: January 1, 1990 to October 31, 1995
Related Shows:(Animated TV Series)
Mr. Bean is a British comedy television series of 14 half-hour episodes starring Rowan Atkinson as the title character. It was written by Rowan Atkinson, Robin Driscoll, Richard Curtis and Ben Elton. The self-titled first episode was broadcast on 1 January 1990, with the final episode, "Goodnight, Mr. Bean", on 31 October 1995.
The series followed the exploits of Rowan Atkinson's character, described by Atkinson as "a child in a grown man's body", in solving various problems presented by everyday tasks and often causing disruption in the process.
During its five year run the series gained large UK audience figures, including 18.74 million for the 1992 episode "The Trouble With Mr Bean", and was the recipient of a number of international awards, including the Rose d'Or. The show has been sold in over 200 territories worldwide, and has inspired two feature films and an animated cartoon spin-off.
The title character, played by Rowan Atkinson, is a slow-witted, sometimes ingenious, childishly selfish and generally likeable buffoon who brings various unusual schemes and connivances to everyday tasks. He lives alone in his small flat in Highbury, North London, and is almost always seen in his trademark tweed jacket and skinny red tie. He rarely speaks, and when he does it is generally only a few mumbled words. His first name (he names himself "Bean" to others) and profession, if any, are never mentioned, though he has been shown in the first episode to have a strong knowledge of trigonometry. (In the first film adaptation, on his passport "Mr." appears under the "first name" field and he is shown employed as a guard at London's National Gallery. In Mr. Bean's Holiday, "Rowan" is seen on his passport name field. In a Blind Date parody, when asked of his first name, he responds "Mr.")
He often seems unaware of basic aspects of the way the world works, and the programme usually features his attempts at what would normally be considered simple tasks, such as going swimming, redecorating or taking an exam. The humour largely comes from his original (and often absurd) solutions to any problems and his total disregard for others when solving them, his pettiness, and occasional malevolence.
At the beginning of episode two onwards, he falls from the sky in a beam of light, accompanied by a choir singing Ecce homo qui est faba - Behold the man who is a bean. These opening sequences were initially in black and white in episodes 2 and 3, and were intended by the producers to show his status as an "ordinary man cast into the spotlight". However, later episodes showed Him dropping from the night sky in a deserted London street, against the backdrop of St. Paul's Cathedral; later, in the animated series, he was shown to be an alien. Atkinson himself has acknowledged that the character "has a slightly alien aspect to him".
Teddy is his teddy bear, generally regarded as his best friend. Although inanimate, the bear is often privy to his various schemes and doubles as a good dish cloth or paint brush in an emergency. The bear is a dark brown, knitted oddity with button eyes and sausage-shaped limbs, invariably ending up broken in half or in various other states of destruction.
Occasionally, he pretends Teddy is animate. For example, when he hypnotizes Teddy, he snaps his fingers and the bear's head falls backwards as if it has fallen asleep instantly (he used his finger to prop Teddy's head up). Certainly, he behaves as if the bear is real, buying it a Christmas present or trying not to wake it in the mornings. He seems to have a supply of Teddy bears, as his bear was decapitated ("Mr. Bean in Room 426") and shrunken in the wash ("Tee Off, Mr. Bean"), and has been revived in later episodes.
His car, a late 1970s MK IV British Leyland Mini 1000, developed a character of sorts. At first, an orange 1969 Morris Mini MK II (registration RNT 996H, although the body of the car was actually from an MK1 car of 1963/64) was his vehicle of choice, but this was destroyed in a crash at the end of the first episode. From then on, the car was a 1977 model (registration SLW 287R), luminous lime green in colour with a black bonnet. It made its first appearance in "The Curse of Mr. Bean".
The Mini was central to several antics, such as he is getting dressed in it while driving or steering it while sitting in an armchair strapped to the roof. It also had a number of innovative security measures; he fitted the door with a bolt-latch and padlock, rather than use the lock fitted on the car, and he always removed the steering wheel instead of the key, which formed a running joke in several episodes, at one point deterring a car thief. In One show "Rides Again", he also hid the ignition key under the car bonnet, the key for the bonnet was kept in the boot, the key for the boot was attached to the sun visor above the driver's seat. The key to the car door was the only key he kept with him. The car, confused with another demonstration car of the exact same model (registration ACW 497V), was crushed by a tank in "Back to School, Mr. Bean", but returned in later episodes, perhaps having actually been the identical demonstration car from that point on.
The Mini is often seen in conflict with a light blue Reliant Regal Supervan III, (registration GRA 26K), which will usually get tipped over, crashed into, bumped out of its parking space and so forth. This conflict originated in the first episode, when the three-wheeler held his Mini up on the way to a mathematics exam, and subsequently became a running joke throughout the series.
One of the original Minis is on display at the Cars of the Stars Motor Museum in Keswick, northern England. Both the Mini and the Reliant re-appeared as characters in the animated cartoons, and in the film Mr. Bean's Holiday yet another Mini appears – a lighter yellow/green than the original, registration YGL 572T. Also seen is a French version of his Mini, owned by the character Sabine which wears a Paris registration and is left hand drive. In the animated series his Mini's registration plate number is STE 952R.
Matilda Ziegler's last appearance as Irma Globb
His "girlfriend" Irma Gobb, played by Matilda Ziegler, appeared in a number of episodes. She is treated relatively inconsiderately by Bean, who appears to regard her more as a friend and companion than a love interest. However, he does become jealous when she dances with another man at a disco in "Mr. Bean Goes to Town", and she certainly expects him to propose to her on Christmas Day in "Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean", with his failure to do so resulting in her leaving him for good (she does not appear in any subsequent episodes). The character later appeared in the animated series. The spin-off book Mr. Bean's Diary (1993) states that he met Irma Gobb at a local library.
Although he is the only significant human character in the programme, other characters appear, usually as foils for his various antics. Other than his girlfriend, his only friends appear to be Hubert and Rupert, who appear as New Years party guests in the episode "Do-it-Yourself, Mr. Bean" (although they altered his living room clock and fled to the party in the flat opposite, gaining real friends in the process). However, several notable British actors and comedians appear alongside Atkinson in sketches as various one-off supporting characters, including Richard Briers, Angus Deayton, Nick Hancock, Caroline Quentin, Danny La Rue, David Schneider and Richard Wilson.
Ep # Ep Title 1 Mr. Bean 2 The Return of Mr. Bean 3 The Curse Of Mr. Bean 4 Mr. Bean Goes To Town 5 The Trouble With Mr. Bean 6 Mr. Bean Rides Again 7 Merry Christmas Mr. Bean 8 Mr. Bean In Room 426 9 Mind The Baby, Mr. Bean 10 Do-It-Yourself Mr. Bean 11 Back To School Mr. Bean 12 Tee Off, Mr. Bean 13 Goodnight Mr. Bean 14 Hair By Mr. Bean of London Special Ep Title Director's Cut Sketch The Library Director's Cut Sketch The Bus Stop Special Ep Title Comic Relief Sketch Blind Date Comic Relief Sketch Torvill And Bean Comic Relief Sketch Mr Bean's Wedding
Origins and Influences
The character of Mr. Bean was first developed when Rowan Atkinson was studying for his MSc at Oxford University. The character is based on a former acquaintance of Rowan Atkinson's who he met whilst at university, John Bell, and who now teaches at Hymers College, Hull, UK. A sketch featuring the character was being performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in the early 1980s. A similar character called Robert Box, played by Atkinson, appeared in the one-off 1979 ITV sitcom Canned Laughter. In 1987, one of his earliest appearances occurred at the "Just For Laughs" comedy festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. When program co-ordinators were scheduling Atkinson into the festival program, Atkinson insisted that he perform on the French-speaking bill rather than the English-speaking program. Having no French dialogue in his act at all, program co-ordinators could not understand why Atkinson wanted to perform on the French bill. As it turned out, Atkinson's act at the festival was a test platform for the Mr. Bean character and Atkinson wanted to see how the silent character's physical comedy would fare on an international stage with a non-English speaking audience.
The name of the character was not decided after the first programme had been produced, with a number of other vegetable-influenced names, such as Mr. Cauliflower, being explored. Rowan Atkinson has cited the earlier comedy character Monsieur Hulot, created by French comedian and director Jacques Tati, as an influence on the character of Mr. Bean. Stylistically, the series is also very similar to early silent films, relying purely upon physical comedy, with him speaking very little dialogue. This has allowed the series to be sold worldwide without any significant changes to dialogue.
The first episode won the prestigious Golden Rose, as well as two other major prizes at the 1991 Rose d'Or Light Entertainment Festival in Montreux. In the UK, the episode "The Curse of Mr. Bean" was nominated for a number of BAFTA awards; "Best Light Entertainment Programme" in 1991, "Best Comedy" (Programme or Series) in 1992, and Rowan Atkinson was nominated three times for "Best Light Entertainment Performance" in 1991, 1992 and 1994.
In 1997, Bean, a film version directed by Mel Smith, also known as Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie, was produced. This broke from the programme's tradition by using a subplot with more developed characters — instead of being the sole centre of attention, he here interacted with a suburban Californian family he stayed with while overseeing the transfer of Whistler's Mother to a Los Angeles art gallery. The movie grossed over USD$230 million globally on a budget estimated at $22 million.
News broke in March 2005 that a second film, Mr. Bean's Holiday was in development, with Atkinson returning in the title role. The film had been through several changes of name during its development, including Bean 2 and a French version. Filming began on May 15, 2006 and began post-production in October 2006. It was released in the UK on March 30 2007. On July 17, 2007, the North American premiere was held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, at the Just For Laughs festival; the launching pad for the Mr. Bean character 20 years earlier. The film was then released Nation-wide in North America on August 24, 2007.
The film followed the character on an eventful journey across France for a holiday in the French Riviera, which after a number of misfortunes culminates in an unscheduled screening of his video diary at the Cannes Film Festival. It was directed by Steve Bendelack and according to Atkinson is probably the last appearance of the character.
The Animated Series
The series was revived in a 2002 animated cartoon series, again featuring little actual dialogue, with most being either little soundbites or mumbling.
The series, which consist of 26 episodes (with 2 segments each), expanded the number of additional characters, featuring his unpleasant landlady, Mrs. Wicket and her evil one-eyed cat, Scrapper. Rowan Atkinson provided the voice for Bean, and all of the animated Bean actions are taken from Atkinson himself. Other characters' voices are provided by Jon Glover, Rupert Degas, Gary Martin and Lorelei King.
The cartoon series is notable for following up on the "alien" origin theory for the character, with its final episode revealing a race of identical Beans who come to retrieve their lost friend, only to have him opt to stay on Earth with his girlfriend.
Episodes The animated series was consist of 26 episodes (with 2 segments each).
Ep # Ep Title 1 In The Wild / Missing Teddy 2 No Parking / Bean's Bounty 3 Artful Bean / The Fly 4 Mime Games / Spring Clean 5 No Pets / Ray Of Sunshine 6 Roadworks / The Sofa 7 Camping / Chocks Away 8 Royal Bean / Young Bean 9 In The Pink / Dinner For Two 10 The Ball / Toothache 11 Haircut / Neighbourly Bean 12 Nurse! / Dead Cat 13 Super Trolley / Magpie 14 Cat-Sitting / The Bottle 15 Goldfish / Inventor 16 Hot Date / Wanted 17 Art Thief / Scared Bean 18 Car Trouble / Restaurant 19 Gadget Kid / The Visitor 20 Big TV / Keyboard Capers (aka. The Piano) 21 Bean In Love / Double Trouble 22 A Royal Makeover / Super Marrow 23 Birthday Bear / The Mole 24 Treasure! / Homeless 25 Egg & Bean / Hopping Mad 26 A Grand Invitation / A Running Battle
The sale of the series worldwide has meant that he has permeated popular culture in several countries. A number of people have been compared to the character, usually as an insult. Arthur Batchelor, one of the Royal Navy captives held by Iran during the 2007 Iranian seizure of Royal Navy personnel, claimed that some of his captors had mocked him calling him "Mr. Bean". NRL Referee Sean Hampstead is regularly nicknamed "Mr. Bean" in nationally broadcast commentary by Australian television/radio personality Ray Warren as a result of his similar appearance. In 2007, Vincent Cable, the acting leader of the Liberal Democrats generated hilarity in the House of Commons by describing the recent decline in Prime Minister Gordon Brown's fortunes as his "remarkable transformation in the last few weeks from Stalin to Mr Bean".
During a 2003 episode of The Simpsons when they visit London, they are greeted at the airport by then-prime-minister Tony Blair, prompting Homer Simpson to exclaim, "Wow! I can't believe we just met Mr. Bean!" In the Father Ted episode "Flight Into Terror", Father Ted accuses a blind priest of throwing pieces of paper at him. The blind priest denies doing this claiming he has been listening to Mr. Bean on tape. During the Family Guy episode, "Patriot Games", the mini is seen outside of the Griffins' house.
Several of the visual jokes in the series have been used as experiments on the Discovery Channel's MythBusters series. In episode 52 - "Mind Control", the idea of painting a room with a stick of explosives (Firework, or other) placed in a paint can, as in the episode "Do It Yourself, Mr. Bean", was tested and deemed impossible, as adequate coverage was not achieved.
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