Julien Neaves, Editor
Just hearing the name “Mr Bean” is guaranteed to put a smile on the face on many people. The character originated in the eponymous British sitcom created by Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis. Atkinson also starred as the titular imbecile, or as the actor described him, “a child in a grown man’s body.” And with the opening credits showing him dropping from Heaven to the sounds of an angelic choir, it does appear he was born fully-formed and that is why he is so utterly daft. The show ran for 15 episodes from 1990 to 1995 and was massively successful, spawning an animated series and two feature films.
I grew up watching (and laughing uproariously at) Mr Bean’s crazy antics, and the show holds a very special place in my heart and the hearts of many others. Each episode comprised one or more sketches, with the final episode “The Best of Mr Bean” being a collection of various sketches with a framing device. For today’s article we will be ranking the top 12 sketches and restricting it to one sketch per episode, though you are guaranteed at least one laugh from every sketch. With a SPOILER ALERT, and a thank you to the official Mr Bean YouTube page, let’s get to ranking.
Sketch #12: Driving and Dressing, Episode 5, The Trouble With Mr Bean
Mr Bean (apparently his first name is “Mr” and says so on his passport) is late for a dental appointment and has to rush over. Instead of quickly getting ready at home like a normal human being, Bean decides to dress, brush his teeth and get ready while driving to the appointment. It is equal parts remarkable and bonkers crazy.
One of the highlights is him using the windshield sprinkler to wash his mouth and then spitting toothpaste on a guy’s exposed butt crack. How can you not love Mr Bean?
Runner-up: Anaesthetised Dentist
Sketch #11: No Entry/No Exit, Episode 8, Mr Bean in Room 426
Rewatching the episodes for this list I was surprised at the shots of Atkinson’s bare butt and all the implied nudity. British comedy for you, I guess.
In this episode Bean he gets locked out of his hotel room naked he finds some inventive (and innuendo-filled) items to cover up his naughty bits. The icing on the cake is seeing him in drag at the end. It wasn’t pretty, but it was pretty funny.
Runner-up: Bad Oysters
Sketch #10: Mr Bean the Barber, Episode 12, Hair By Mr Bean of London
You know those crazy ideas that just randomly pop into your head and you just laugh and let them pass? Well Mr Bean acts on every single one of them. I have a theory that he may be a high-functioning sociopath.
In this episode when he goes to a barber shop for a trim the barber gets distracted by a ringing phone. Bean then decides to pretend to be the barber and cuts the hair of a boy, a middle-aged man and an older man. And let’s just say his barbering skills leave much to be desired.
Runner-up: Sack Sneaking
Sketch #9: Cardiac Arrest, Episode 6, Mr Bean Rides Again
Atkinson is a master of physical comedy and this sketch is one of the best examples. While standing on the street he sees a man suffering a heart attack. In a rare act of selflessness Bean tries to resuscitate him. His efforts, which include ridiculous methods to provide CPR without actual mouth-to-mouth contact, culminate in him jury-rigging a defribillator with some electrical wires.
In a shocking twist (no pun intended) the man is revived. Bean then shocks the revived man in the back for fun. His efforts may have been for naught, though, as uses the ambulance that came for the man to jump start his car, leaving it without power. Classic Bean.
Runner-up: Barf Bag
Sketch #8: Diaper Change, Episode 10, Mind the Baby Mr Bean
This was one of the rare episodes where all the sketches are connected by a single theme. And the theme here is a cute baby that accidentally comes into Mr Bean’s “care”. After an unsuccessful attempt to leave the baby and carriage with a bunch of other baby carriages, Bean decides to carry the child along while he enjoys himself at a fair. A rational person would search for the parents, but we all know he is not playing with a full deck.
The best of the sketches is when the baby poops and Bean improvises a diaper using a teddy bear. The dirty diaper then goes flying around the fair, smacking people in the face. Now that is foul play right there.
Runner-up: Something fishy
Sketch #7: Meeting the Queen, Episode 2, The Return of Mr Bean
During the course of the episodes we see Bean in his apartment, driving a car and with some people who appear to be work colleagues during his New Year’s Eve party, but we have no idea what is his regular job, if he has one.
Maybe he just has a series of odd jobs, as in this sketch we see him showing up for work as an usher awaiting the arrival of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. But when he realises his deportment is below the standard of his fellow ushers he decides to fix himself right then and there, including shining his shoes, using a postcard as a pocket handkerchief, and stealing a string from a female coworker. But his efforts turn out to be in vain as he promptly knocks The Queen Mother unconscious with his excessive bowing. The real MVPs of this sketch is his fellow actors who were able to keep a straight face throughout.
Runner-up: Unwanted dinner dilemma
Sketch #6: Maths Exam, Episode 1, Mr Bean
This is the very first sketch from the very first episode and it is a banger. Bean is doing a math test and is horrified when it appears that the subject he studied did not come on the paper. He then engages in some increasingly nonsensical methods to copy from the guy next to him.
The best part comes at the end when he discovers there was another paper with the subject he studied, and he tries to finish it in the remaining two minutes. Spoiler alert: he doesn’t. In this sketch we hear Bean’s unusually low-pitched and garbled voice for the first time, and get our first glimpse at Atkinson’s wonderful physical comedy talents.
Runner-up: Church Nap
Sketch #5: Scary Movie, Episode 3, The Curse of Mr Bean
This sketch is the first appearance of Bean’s long-suffering girlfriend Irma Gobb (Matilda Ziegler) and she would return in the episodes Mr Bean Goes to Town and Merry Christmas, Mr Bean. Here we see her going to a scary movie with her buffoon of a boyfriend. Before the movie Bean relentlessly pranks her, scaring her out of her wits. And then when the movie starts it is he who is the terrified one.
He then comes up with various ways to not watch the movie, including sticking popcorn in his ears. Of course he eats the popcorn after. Eww! All I can say is, if Bean can find a significant other then anybody can.
Runner-up: Making a sandwich
Sketch #4: Trouser Assault, Episode 11, Back to School, Mr Bean
This episode set in an adult education open house has its share of funny sketches, including Bean blowing up a chemistry lab and running away from a judo instructor.
But the best is a brief sketch when after the judo class a man puts on Bean’s signature brown trousers. When he discovers the man using the toilet instead of, I dunno, waiting until he finishes and explaining the mix-up, Bean drags the man halfway out of the stall and pulls the trousers (and inadvertently the guy’s underwear) off of him. It is wild and wildly funny.
Runner-up: Art Class
Sketch #3: Christmas Gift, Episode 7, Merry Christmas, Mr Bean
Christmas is a season for spending time with loved ones, and in this episode we see Bean with his beleaguered girlfriend Irma. While out on the town she indicates that she wants him to buy her a shiny ring. But Bean in his muddled brain thinks she wants the display picture behind the ring. After she is disappointed by his nonsensical gift he then produces a ring box. But it’s not the ring; it’s a ring to hang up the picture. What an idiot.
The sketch ends with Irma storming out and Bean is sadly left all alone. At least he will always have his Teddy. This episode also features the memorable scene of Bean getting an entire turkey stuck on his head and startling Irma like a B-movie monster. Poor girl.
Runner-up: Nativity Scene
Sketch #2: Couch Seat Driver, Episode 9, Do-it-yourself Mr Bean
From our number 12 sketch we already established that Bean is a maniac of a driver. There is even a running gag of him repeatedly abusing a light-blue van with an unseen driver. In this sketch it’s the New Year’s Day sale, Bean just bought an armchair and his only transport is his Mini. A normal person would hire a van or a truck to transport it. Not Mr Bean. As the world’s best and worst life hacker he decides to put the armchair atop his car, sit on it and drive the car from up there using some ingenuity.
The iconic image of him driving around and staring at people staring at him is just gut-busting. How he was not jailed for reckless driving, or at least had his licence revoked, is a mystery for the ages.
Runner-up: Painting Hack
Sketch #1: At the Disco, Episode 4, Mr Bean Goes to Town
Throughout the episodes we see the many moods of Mr Bean. We see him happy, angry, frustrated and mischievous. Mostly mischievous. But in this sketch is the only time we see Mr Bean jealous. In the previous linked sketch he takes his girlfriend Irma to a magic show. When Bean is called up from the audience to assist the magician he makes a complete mess of things and turns the show into an unintentional comedy.
Frustrated by his antics Irma leaves and goes to a nightclub next door. Bean follows her and tries to woo her with his dancing skills. And by “dancing skills” I mean a pelvis-thrusting dance move which we in Trinidad and Tobago would call a “jook”. Irma is unimpressed and proceeds to go dance with another guy, making Bean insanely jealous. He then uproariously tries to get between them and separate them, but all his efforts are in vain and he leaves the club alone and utterly devastated. Rarely one to listen to his better angels, Bean spitefully switches off the power in the building. It’s a slightly tragic but increasingly amusing sketch, and my pick for the best of the bunch.
Runner-up: Camera thief
And for sticking around to the end your reward is this GIF of Mr Bean doing the “jook”.
So that’s my list. What’s your favourite classic Mr Bean sketch? For my Top 10 ‘Allo ‘Allo Catchphrases you can click here.
Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. I can also be found posting about TV and movie memes, news and trailers on Facebook at Movieville. And to stay on top of all Redmangoreviews articles you can like and follow us on Facebook here.