A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mr. Bean is a popular British comedy series that features lots of slapstick humor and running gags. While it's pretty mild, some of the sketches feature non-sexual bare bottoms (which aren't always blurred), and drinking. Gags occasionally lead to some crashes and bumps, but no one is seriously hurt, and while he doesn't talk much, rude hand gestures are almost made.
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What's the story?
MR. BEAN (1990-1995) is a British sketch comedy series starring Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean, a lovably mischievous adult who always finds interesting, child-like, and offbeat ways to deal with life's little problems. From getting his head stuck in a turkey while cooking Christmas dinner, to accidentally returning a baby to its mother by tying balloons to its carriage and watching it fly away, Mr. Bean lives his life unaware of his ability to turn every day trials into laughable moments, one disaster at a time.
Is it any good?
Mr. Bean, which is based on a quirky character that Atkinson developed while in graduate school, relies on running gags and slapstick humor for laughs. But what makes this show particularly noteworthy is that aside from rare repeat appearances of secondary characters, like girlfriend Irma Gobb (played by Matilda Ziegler), Atkinson successfully carries the show himself with little use of the spoken word.
The series serves as a study for those interested in physical comedy. In fact, US television sitcoms like Friends have borrowed a gag or two from Mr. Bean to score some laughs. But while the series is overall pretty mild, some folks may find a few of the sketches a little too risqué for younger viewers. But outside of these occasional moments, it offers lots of quirky entertainment for older kids and adults of all ages.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about comedy. What is the difference between stand up and slapstick? What is a running gag? What kind of training do people have to have in order to be good at it? Is it hard for people to be successful comedians?
When does comedy go from being funny to being stereotypical and/or offensive? Why are some TV shows and films considered funny in other countries, but not in the United States (and vice versa)?