TV Review: Merry Christmas Mr. Bean

Posted: December 17, 2009 in Holiday, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , ,

Merry Christmas Mr. Bean

I’m never the same on Mr. Bean. Either I find him amazing funny, or I want to hit him with a shovel and bury him in the back yard. It’s either a hit, or a complete miss. This one, I find hilarious. Now it’s always kind of hard figuring out where a British TV show’s Christmas episode fits. Normally they were always done as specials, but when they come to America the distributors will often just label it ‘Episode 7’ like they’ve done here. However as it has an Original Air Date of the 29th of December, 1992 and the last episode before that was in February of 92 I’ll assume this is a special. Like most British shows at the time it was shot on video although it’s a little unusual as outdoor scenes were normally shot on film while studio work was video. On that point, I never realized how tough screen capping video was. Clearly the muddy blurriness is how I can always tell video from film.

We start with Mr. Bean in a store doing some last minute shopping. Now normally almost the entire show is pantomime, at least the episodes I’ve seen. About 93.8% of this pantomime, but there is a lot more actual talking than normal. Mr. Beans plays around in the store, causing no end of silliness to happen. He unplugs the outside lights for the entire store, plays with the nativity set, eventually bringing in a dalek and having the infant flown away by an angel to a Barbie Dream house sort of set up until the floor walker comes and gives him his bag and he leaves.

Then he goes outside into the town and Mr. Bean meets his girlfiend, relieves a pickpocket of his goods, giving them to a Salvation Army band leader who asks him to take over for a second, leads the band, steals the town tree and goes back to his place for the evening. It’s hard to explain all of this in text form, because this is all done without any dialogue. I will say that I found the band leading section to be the funniest thing in the entire episode, it’s almost like a cartoon.

Anyway! Mr. Bean goes home and does all the normal Christmas Eve things. We see that he’s cut just the top 3 feet off the massive tree he’s stolen and throws the other 23 feet into the street. He mails himself some Christmas cards, makes a massive Christmas cracker out of about 7 little ones, puts up stockings for himself, his teddy bear and a mouse. He tires to watch TV, but finds nothing seasonal on but hears some children singing at his door. He grabs some chocolates, eats them and then closes the door on them instead of offering them any.

Then we have the morning itself and Mr. Bean acts rather like a 4 year old might. He opens the stockings, finding that Santa brought Teddy a new pair of buttons for the eyes he lost long ago. In his own sock he finds the mate to that sock and the mouse got a small bit of cheese with bean then puts on a mouse trap.

Teddy is left to watch Christmas TV, while wearing glasses while Mr. Bean tries to make dinner out of the turkey. This goes badly and he ends up wearing the turkey on his head. His girlfriend shows up, helps him get the turkey off his head, loosing the turkey in the process and they eat salami sandwiches instead. She gives him his present and it turns out he totally got the present she wanted wrong. He gets it so wrong in fact that she leaves him, never to return. Sadly, he decides to open the cracker and we see the explosion from the outside window.

This isn’t a bad show, quite the reverse, it’s just I find pantomime hard to talk about and these are more little moments than a real connected story. It’s very good to watch as part of a group of programs I’ve noticed. When I sit down to watch specials I like to slip this one in the middle. It sort of cleanses the palate as it were and we can all use that sometimes.

Official Score:
7 Degrees on the Graffiti Bridge Scale.

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