DVD Review: Mr. Bean: The Whole Bean



British comedy mostly known for it’s word play. The comedy of Shakespeare were all about tongues wagging. Monty Python’s Flying Circus routines were perfect for geek boys to exchange on the bus like a rap duo. Even the bawdy Benny Hill was all about delivering twisted monologues. Rowan Atkinson had struck comedy gold with the chatty The Black Adder series. Nobody was prepared for Atkinson’s next comic masterpiece that made words superfluous to the comedy. Mr. Bean didn’t rely on words to bring the laughs. Mr. Bean was a throwback to the silent era of his fellow Brit Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp. Except Mr. Bean didn’t try to be an endearing figure full of compassion, charm and dreams. He was the most annoying man in the world and people embraced him anyway. Mr.Bean: The Whole Bean – Remastered 25th Anniversary Collection gathers together all the flummoxing fun in one boxset.

Over the course of 5 year, there were only 14 episodes which makes sense since it’s so hard to create so many visual sight gags that don’t turn into merely stringing together old slapstick routines. “Mr. Bean” sets up the show so that words are not important. He arrives for a math exam and unpacks more than a number two pencil. He drives his fellow testers nuts with his antics. Contrary to the rumor, Mr. Bean is not mute. But when his character speaks, it’s guttural tone. He’s almost like an alien trying to pass for a human which might be ture. What’s interesting in the opening sketch is that Mr. Bean has a Pink Panther doll on his desk. Mr. Bean was kind of like an annoying human version of The Pink Panther except more prone to frantic behavior. “The Return of Mr. Bean” contains the classic sketch of his being in line for a movie premiere with the Queen in attendance. This sketch was shown in theaters in the early ’90s. “Mr. Bean Goes to Town” has him doing his best to get a proper television signal on his TV.

“Mr. Bean Rides Again” almost makes us think that Mr. Bean is a great guy. When a man might be having a heart attack, Bean calls in an ambulance. But then he screws things up with a completely unnecessary act. “Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean” dares to merge the Christmas story with Doctor Who. “Do-It-Yourself Mr. Bean” gives a New Year’s Eve party that his guests wish to forget. “Goodnight Mr. Bean” has him attempting to get his picture taken with the stoic Queen’s Guard. Will he get the soldier to break his stance? “Hair by Mr. Bean of London” is unique since the episode was originally only distributed on a VHS tape in 1995.

The boxset doesn’t include the two feature films they made about Mr. Bean. Neither rate up their with the TV episodes. Why? Because they did their best to make Mr. Bean more sympathetic. This character works best when he’s allowed to be a jerk in situations where manners are the normal. The show does have an international appeal since not relying on verbal comedy allows the humor to translate easily. Mr. Bean: The Whole Bean is as tasty now as it was 25 years ago.

The video is 1.33:1. The remastering tweaks up the resolution from the previous release. The audio is stereo. Things sound nice even though words don’t matter much here.

Missing Scenes (5:45) include Turkey Weight, Armchair Sale, Marching and Playing with Matches.

TV Sketches (15:15) are The Bus Stop and Library.

The Story of Mr. Bean (39:57) allows Rowan to talk about his barely verbal character. He came up with Bean while studying at Oxford. The biography explore both character and creator.

The Best Bits of Mr. Bean (61:47) is a massive clipshow that came out at the end of Mr. Bean‘s run.

Mr. Bean: The Animated Series Trailer (0:49) makes him look like a spin-off of the Pink Panther.

Mr.Bean: The Whole Bean – Remastered 25th Anniversary Collection contains all the irritating joy of a man who said little and inspired so much noise.

Shout! Factory and Fabulous present Mr.Bean: The Whole Bean – Remastered 25th Anniversary Collection. Starring: Rowan Atkinson. Boxset Contents: 15 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released: March 24, 2015.

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