Back in the 1990s, the collaborative writing talent of Richard Curtis combined with the physical comedy genius of Rowan Atkinson culminated in the creation of Mr Bean: British comedy’s most lovable buffoon.
The awkwardly adorable bumbler’s birthday was attributed by his creators as 15 September, meaning that he celebrates his 29th birthday this year. If Mr Bean were to stay true to form, he will be celebrating quietly at home, pointed party hats for himself and his Teddy bear (imaginatively named “Teddy”), a pre-wrapped present and some hilarious consequences. He won’t be lonely though, as almost 2.5 million people will be wishing him many happy returns from his Facebook fan page.
So here are 20 examples of Mr Bean’s finest brand of physical comedy. These scenes have caused viewing audiences to crease up from China to California, from Moscow to Madagascar.
Mr Bean Gets Packing
An absolute favourite. The proud satisfaction Mr Bean shows when he figures out another space-saving method is completely at odds with the audience’s amused reaction to the destruction he caused to his own belongings. Fortunately, Teddy survives unharmed…this time!
Mr Bean Gets Biblical
Quite possibly the best use of a nativity scene model in programming history. It’s not how the Bible tells it but I think a T-rex, a marching band, a Panzer tank and a Dalek would have spiced it up no end.
Mr Bean Overdoes the Oysters
The child-like pleasure Mr Bean takes in playing copycat games and the one-upmanship of the eating competition provides another perfectly poised performance from Rowan Atkinson.
Mr Bean Don’t Need No Room Service
Never expect a tip from Mr Bean, lack of understanding of social conventions will leave you disappointed. However, his love of everything new won’t fail to have you chuckling along as he tests the novelty factor to destruction.
Mr Bean Gets His Cheat On
Although generally naive and innocent, Mr Bean certainly had his malicious moments. He wasn’t above playing a trick or being underhand to get his way. However, these momentary dabbling with the dark side had a nasty habit of backfiring. This is Atkinson at his best, allowing his full range of facial expression to portray the futile frustration of Bean.
Mr Bean Conducts Pure Awesome
Atkinson shows his physical comedy prowess without needing to utter a word. His iconic poked-out tongue coupled with some progressive jazz/brass carol band mixology nets Mr Bean another classic Christmas performance.
Bean Faces The Tank Rush
The most painful of parking experiences. At least the cake wasn’t a lie this time, even if it did cost him the snappiest of vehicles.
Mr Bean Nails it in One
The air of nonchalance as Mr Bean sinks this hole in one is priceless. “No big deal” his face says clearly in any language.
Mr Bean’s Finest Hour
Without a doubt this is the greatest stunt pulled off from the roof of a Leyland Mini 1000. Now if he could just modify an armchair roof for bad weather, he would be onto a winner.
Mr Bean – Steak Hider Extraordinaire
Mr Bean sure was innovative when circumstances required it. A steak-hiding operation that big requires a lot of skill, timing and some dumb luck. Mr Bean’s luck would often run out, but always with our comic appreciation in mind.
Mr Bean Doesn’t Drop Trou
Rowan Atkinson shows off his party tricks, along with his legs. Sturdy corded trousers are harder to pull through a pair of speedos than you would think. One false move and Mr Bean’s signature deep voice would jump an octave higher.
No White-Knuckle Ride For Mr Bean
As with so much of Mr Bean’s comedy, Rowan Atkinson’s use of facial expression here is priceless. The detached and vacant absorption of the situation perfectly contrasts with the shrieking excitement of his fellow passengers.
Mr Bean Tastes His Own Medicine
Always have an exit strategy planned Mr Bean! Unless you grow to like the taste of fabric softener.
Mr Bean Can’t Stand Long Sermons
Another YouTube favourite. Mr Bean speaks for all of us (without words of course) who have drifted off to a particularly boring bit of church business. But Lord knows, nobody can top that sleep-balancing act.
Mr Bean Is a Wuss When It Comes to Horror
Normally its people talking too much at the cinema that’s the problem. The normally quiet Mr Bean makes an exception this time with his noisiest scene of them all. Whatever, they’re watching, its not Silent Hill. Featuring Mr Bean’s long-suffering girlfriend, but what is her name? If you think you know, take the Mr Bean quiz on his home site and scrub up on your comedy knowledge.
Mr Bean Gets His Hair Done
Mr Bean pops in for a haircut and choas ensues.
Time Waits For No Bean
But he’ll have to wait for the elder generation.
We’ve All Bean There
It always works when you’re at your furthest from the screen.
You’ve Bean Had!
Not the smartest of cookies, Mr Bean’s naivety was at once charming but also heart-breaking as the crueller element of the world sometimes had its way.
Bean There, Done That
At 30,000 feet, being stuck next to Mr Bean would seem pretty torturous after hours of childish antics. For the viewing audience however, it’s just great in-flight entertainment.
So there you have it, 20 years on and Mr Bean is still making us laugh with his quirky charm and peculiar take on problem-solving. Before the rush of “How could you forget this scene?!” starts up, don’t forget that there’s a whole host of other awkward Bean antics out there, so by all means get reminiscent about your favourite scenes from the most universally adaptable British comedy export.The easiest way to get your fix of Mr Bean is to check out his dedicated channel on YouTube.