Ep.7 Mr. Bean's Holiday

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Intro
When movies first came out, they didn’t have sound. So stars like Charlie Chaplin became famous by using their hands and eyes to act.
Over the last 17 years, Rowan Atkinson has become famous with a similar technique. Although his movies have sound, his character, a child-like man named Mr. Bean, speaks very rarely.
Since so many of Mr. Bean’s jokes are non-verbal, the movies are just as funny when translated into other languages. Listen to Kevin tell Beren about Mr. Bean’s success abroad.
Dialogue
Kevin: So I heard that, like, Mr. Bean’s movie’s on like the top charts of Chinese films…movies in China.
Beren: Mr. Bean?
Kevin: Yes.
Beren: I heard he died like five years ago.
Kevin: No. He’s been making movies. Rowan Atkinson, right?
Beren: Yeah yeah yeah yeah.
Kevin: Do you like him?
Beren: He’s funny. He has his moments...slightly charming in a really obnoxious way. Did you like the first movie?
Kevin: I thought it was entertaining. I mean the guy made a career of like, just being silent.
Beren: Totally, it’s like the old silent film comedies, very physical comedy, lots of visual gags. I could see it being big in a foreign market for some reason.
Kevin: I guess.
Beren: Yeah. Maybe. I don’t know.
Kevin: I mean, it definitely has, like, a niche market, I guess. I don’t know what you would call it. He’s interesting.
Beren: Yeah yeah. He’s uniquely British.
Kevin: And I love British humor.
Discussion
Kevin read somewhere that Mr. Bean’s Holiday, the follow-up to 1997’s Bean, is doing extremely well in China. This surprises Beren because she thought that the actor who plays Mr. Bean was dead. Obviously, she isn’t a huge fan.
But Beren admits that while Mr. Bean can be somewhat annoying, he is entertaining at times. His work reminds her of silent films. It’s a style that she can understand being popular in other countries.
Do you prefer physical comedy or intellectual humor? Physical comedy is universal, but sometimes there’s nothing funnier than a pun in your native language.
Quiz
❶ When did Rowan Atkinson die?

  • Five years ago.
  • Just recently.
  • He is still alive. ✓

❷ Mr. Bean is famous for…

  • ...witty dialogue.
  • ...silent films.
  • ...non-verbal humor. ✓
  • ...dying tragically

❸ What does Beren mean when she says Mr. Bean is “uniquely British”?

  • He couldn’t possibly be from anywhere else. ✓
  • He is the only British person who uses physical comedy.
  • He is purely British. Not a drop of foreign blood.

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