Only 14 episodes of this silent comedy classic have been made. Which is the best?
Thirty-one years have passed since Mr. Bean first fell on our TV screens, a teddy bear tucked under one arm and a wide-eyed expression plastered on his face. Rowan Atkinson’s legendary comic book character only appeared in 14 original episodes (the 15th is a “best of” episode so doesn’t count), but Bean lives on. Everyone knows who Bean is; today, he has 86 million followers on Facebook, and he doesn’t even exist. This humble ’90s sitcom has transcended time, language and borders, making Mr. Bean a global comedic phenomenon.
What is behind this lasting love affair with the ultimate TV antihero? Yes, Bean drives a cool car, but he’s also an inept, selfish man-child who creates havoc wherever he goes. His best friend is a stuffed animal. He lies and cheats, he’s a menace on the roads, and most shockingly, he only reached 12th in The Spinoff’s best bean rankings. Bean is so wrong he’s right, and it seems 86 million of us can’t get enough of his wacky antics.
Maybe it’s because there is a little bit of Bean inside of each one. He is the underdog in a world designed to deceive and confuse, and he is as intelligent as he is absurd. He shares the same hopes and dreams that we do, even though his dreams end with a Christmas turkey head. Bean moves in mysterious ways, communicating the complexity of human emotions without uttering a word, forever reminding us that there is humor in the smallest, dumbest thing.
But which of the Mr. Bean episodes is supreme? We’ve been waiting for these rankings for 31 years, so like a terrified Englishman standing on the edge of a high diving board, let’s get into the belly.
14) watch out for baby mr bean
Bean accidentally steals a baby and takes her to the fun fair. Babies are a bad date because they poop and cry and then you have to come home so they can sleep while you swing around the corner remembering the time you drank too many Fantas in the morning. A&P show and vomited all over the ghost train. None of this happens to Bean, but we can’t allow him to steal a child, even if he gives him a nice ride on the bumper cars. Babies can’t even drive. Sad.
13) Back to school Mr Bean
Bean goes to a community education open house to ruin a science experiment, spoil a karate lesson, and draw a naked woman’s breasts. Boobs will only get you so far, and it’s at # 13 in this equally boring set of leaderboards.
12) good night mr bean
Sweet dreams are bean, so the next time you have insomnia, channel your inner bean by putting socks over your ears to bark at local cats. It works for Bean, and I’m fed up just thinking about it.
11) Hair by Mr Bean of London
The last episode of Mr. Bean ends with our hero trapped in a bag on a mail train bound for Moscow. As that other hapless Englishman, the Postman Pat once said: when one door closes, another mailbag opens. Have a good trip, you troublesome legume.
10) Mr Bean in room 426
Excuse me, I have to declare a NUDE ALERT. Our hero on vacation sweats seafood thoroughly and locks himself out of his hotel room, naked as the day little Bean was born. Send that bad seafood to Moscow! Make him bark at neighboring cats! It’s a crime against Bean that can never be avenged.
9) Tee Off Mr Bean
Bean plays crazy golf and finishes with a score of 3,427, the same number of Fantas that I threw up on the ghost train.
8) Mr. Bean goes to town
Bean buys a new TV and has his camera stolen, but worst of all, his girlfriend abandons him for a disco dance fuck in a charming costume. Bean doesn’t cope well with rejection, probably because his girlfriend’s name is Irma Gobb, which apparently means “divine linen-haired goddess among clowns.” OMG, IMAG.
7) The problem with Mr Bean
Featuring two classic Bean scenes – dressing while driving and a shady dentist appointment – this episode is a shining example of Bean’s ingenuity and bravery. He’s a hero for the ages, a role model for anyone late for work.
6) Mr Bean rides again
There’s a lot to unpack here, including the many boxes of baked beans that Bean takes on vacation. This episode is probably best known for the classic “pop the plane bag full of vomit” gag, but never forget that Bean saves a man’s life by restarting his heart with jumper sons. If I ever collapse at a bus stop I want the glorious sight of Mr. Bean running to my rescue, the smell of cold baked beans overwhelming us as someone else’s chewing gum hangs down to his ears. Call me Irma Gobb, my fantasy is mine.
5) Mr. Bean’s return
This 1990 episode saw Bean accidentally butt the Queen Mother, which history proves was officially the start of the fall of the Royal Family and the main inspiration for the award-winning documentary series The Crown.
4) Do it yourself Mr Bean
Can you even say you had a Happy New Year if you haven’t put a chair on the roof of your car and made it home, or if you haven’t quickly decorated your house with exploding a can of white paint? Absolute scenes.
3) Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean
It is the most wonderful time of the year, and there is nothing more joyful than a man with his head glued to a dead bird. Six years ago Friends did it, Bean is at his best as he cooks up a memorable party meal. Irma Gobb is expecting a marriage proposal, but all she gets is Turkey Head Bean, God rest you, happy turkeys.
2) Mr. Bean’s curse
A sweet symphony of classic Bean getaways, including the high diving board sketch, the DIY sandwich scene (lettuce in a sock, yummy), and the horror movie that terrifies Bean beyond his wildest dreams. If it’s an adult, I’ll take it.
1) Mr. Bean
Our first, our last, our everything. Mr. Bean’s first episode is officially the GOAT, his simple scenes singing like an old man in church. Whether he’s cheating on an exam or sneaking out of a parking lot without paying, Bean is at his most awkward and inventive in this episode. There is no better bean. The nerd is king, long live the nerd.
All 14 episodes of Mr. Bean are on Amazon Prime Video, and the 30th anniversary documentary Happy Birthday Mr Bean is on TVNZ OnDemand.
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