Clickable Advent Calendar, 16: Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean
English funnyman Rowan Atkinson is one of the last, best practitioners of old-school physical comedy and sight gags, which have won him international fame through his bumbling man-child alter ego, Mr. Bean. Mr. Bean: The Ultimate Collection, which goes on sale today, is one of those unbelievably exhaustive DVD sets that gathers seemingly every Bean appearance and piece of pop ephemera in existence beginning with the original 14 episodes of England's "Mr. Bean" series, which aired from 1990-1995. The seven-disc collection includes materials from other media, such as the two theatrical films Bean: The Movie from 1999 and Mr. Bean's Holiday from 2005 and the 26-episode "Mr. Bean: The Animated Series." "Mr. Bean's" seventh episode, "Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean" from 1992 features this three-minute gem involving a nativity scene, which makes my wife and daughter both laugh out loud:
Mr. Bean's scarcity of dialogue makes him accessible to children and non-English speakers, but cuts Atkinson off from his flair for verbal humor. Prior to being Bean, Atkinson created one of television's most scathing characters, Edmund Blackadder, in the various "Blackadder" series through the 1980s. Atkinson plays not just one person, but a line of unlucky schemers througout English history. "The Blackadder Christmas Carol" gives the premise a delightful twist: in Victorian England, Ebenezer Blackadder is a kind, saintly soul, but glimpses of his past lives convince him that "Bad guys have all the fun" and the nasty strain in the Blackadder DNA takes over.