Mr Bean – Barber Bean – Getting a Haircut 1/4.
The title character, played by Rowan Atkinson, is a childish buffoon who brings various unusual schemes and contrivances to everyday tasks. He lives alone at the address of Flat 2, 12 Arbour Road, Highbury, and is almost always seen in his trademark tweed jacket and a skinny red tie. He also usually wears a digital calculator watch. Mr. Bean rarely speaks, and when he does, it is generally only a few mumbled words which are in a comically low-pitched voice. His first name (he names himself “Bean” to others) and profession, if any, are never mentioned. In the first film adaptation, “Mr.” appears on his passport in the “first name” field, and he is shown employed as a guard at London’s National Gallery.
Mr. Bean often seems unaware of basic aspects of the way the world works, and the programme usually features his attempts at what would normally be considered simple activities, such as going swimming, using a television set, redecorating, or going to church. The humour largely comes from his original (and often absurd) solutions to problems and his total disregard for others when solving them, his pettiness, and occasional malevolence.
At the beginning of episode two onwards, Mr. Bean falls from the sky in a beam of light, accompanied by a choir singing Ecce homo qui est faba (“Behold the man who is a bean”), recorded by Southwark Cathedral Choir in 1990. These opening sequences were initially in black and white in episodes two and three, and were intended by the producers to show his status as an “ordinary man cast into the spotlight”. However, later episodes showed Mr. Bean dropping from the night sky in a deserted London street against the backdrop of St Paul’s Cathedral. At the end of episodes three and six he is also shown being sucked right back up into the sky in the respective background scenes (black scene in episode 3 and street scene in episode 6). Atkinson has acknowledged that Bean “has a slightly alien aspect to him”. In the animated series (episode, “Double Trouble”) he is taken inside a spacecraft with “aliens” who look exactly like him and even have their own plushy toys. In an obvious homage, the aliens send him back home in a beam of light and music similar to the opening of the original Mr. Bean series. Whether Bean is an extraterrestrial is not clear.
Teddy is Mr. Bean’s teddy bear and perhaps Mr. Bean’s best friend. The little brown bear is a knitted oddity with button eyes and sausage-shaped limbs, which invariably end up broken in half or in various other states of destruction and disfiguration. Although Teddy is inanimate, Mr. Bean often pretends it is alive. For example, when Mr. Bean hypnotises Teddy, he snaps his fingers and the bear’s head falls backwards as if it had fallen asleep instantly (Bean used his finger to prop Teddy’s head up). Mr. Bean behaves as if the bear is real, buying it a Christmas present or trying not to wake it in the mornings. The bear is often privy to Mr. Bean’s various schemes and doubles as a tool or other items in emergencies; it has been decapitated (“Mr. Bean in Room 426”), used as his paint brush (“Do-It-Yourself Mr. Bean”), and shrunk in the wash (“Tee Off, Mr. Bean”). Teddy is also Mr. Bean’s “pet” in “Hair by Mr. Bean of London” and is used to win a pet show.
The Teddy used in filming sits in the windscreen of the replica of Mr. Bean’s mini that is on display at the National Motor Museum. Over the years, Teddy has undergone several changes. When it debuted on “The Trouble with Mr. Bean”, it had a smaller head. Two episodes later, its head reached its current size, but its “eyes” were not present until Bean placed gold thumb tacks on its face. The “eyes” have since been replaced with two small white buttons sewn over Teddy’s face, giving it a distinct image.