I remember my seven year old self popping a DVD into the player and plopping on the couch. When it came to my comedic taste, I didn’t need variety. I just needed my daily dose of Mr. Bean. I wasn’t like most kids that spent all waking hours watching the typical cartoons, such as Courage the Cowardly Dog or The Teen Titans. From the first episode of Mr. Bean there was something that made it remarkably different from all the other humor.
I think his performances are funny and memorable because they brought a funny light to everyday life. He did not go on faraway missions to and encounter strange things in order to do something funny. Instead, he brought strangeness to the way he dealt with his everyday problems. Many of his performances revolved around the simple but real “struggles” in real life. Often times, the laughs didn’t arouse from the problem itself, the true humor lied in his often exaggerated reactions.
Little me easily laughed at the his incoherent mumbling and his moments of rage.
Oh yes Mr. Bean, the rage is real indeed. We can also never forget the facial expressions. Whether it’s because he is stuck in line or he has lost his watch preparing a turkey, his reactions are always suitable and hilarious. They’re the best part.
Fast forward into the future I’ve watched many other comedies. I still laugh just as easily as I did when I was little. One thing did change though. The elements of humor in popular movies have become less diverse. The performance of the actor has lost some of its original importance. Modern humor in movies often achieves comedic effect by making sexual or simply controversial references.
I realized this when I sat down two months ago and watched Johnny English Reborn. It was a major blast from the past. I had completely forgotten what it was like to watch a movie and laugh without any inappropriate dialogue to cue it. It made me wonder if Rowan Atkinson is some mystical human being because he communicates humor like no other that I’ve seen today.
“I want to express myself in a different way. I have a performing inclination.” -Rowan Atkinson
In my opinion, what makes Rowan Atkinson stand out the most is that he acts in the manner that is outside of social norms in the most carefree manner. We live our lives fighting to not sleep during church, resisting the urge to mess around with dentist tools, and trying not to mess up laboratory experiments. So when Mr. Bean does it on the big screen, it’s a nice relief. For just a while, you forget about what’s socially acceptable and what isn’t. You just laugh because of all the trouble that he gets into for caving.
So that leads me back to my question: Is he a mystical human being? Maybe he is. He’s brought laughter to the biggest and smallest of stages ranging from the 2012 Olympics, Snickers commercials, radio, and my very own home by just being himself.