On a chilly Friday afternoon of late 2016, I stumbled upon a face, again.
A face that defined a small but significant part of my childhood. The face that — with each twist and turn — made me laugh. To be honest, it wasn’t just the face but the entire visual — the scenes, the movements, the situations — that have now become an unforgettable experience that I relive then and now.
An epitome of visual comedy. A language that surpassed the boundaries of over 200 countries and filled each one of its viewers with an eccentric kind of joy.
I remember Mr. Bean for his many colours. Do you remember the very first thing you see? A dark street in London lights up, and Mr. Bean falls from the sky, looks around, and then walks off.
A very peculiar thing that went easily unnoticed amidst the chaos Mr. Bean was constantly surrounded with. The man who made living and being alone, cool.
He was super self-sufficient.
Mr. Bean had everything in order amidst the bizarre bedlam that incessantly surrounded him.
Being alone (or solitude) is a beautiful state of being and it teaches one a lot about how to be awesome in the absence of people. It teaches one, how everything can be taken care of without the help of anyone. I am definitely not saying that we must disengage with people completely but being self-sufficient is a great quality and Mr. Bean does an exemplary portrayal of the same.
In an old interview, Rowan Atkinson remarks,
I have always been self contained. I wasn’t a loner but I did not require the constant company in order to enjoy myself.
He replicated the same emotion in the character of Mr. Bean very meaningfully which is sort of amazing.
All of us get into tough situations but Mr. Bean handled all of it, alone with top-grade optimism.
Despite the vivid emotions that would cross his face, Mr. Bean solved every problem and kept moving ahead. This is what solitude does. It rids you of all inhibitions that you’d otherwise have, because of lack of exposure to difficult situations. Or even the simplest of problems in life. Sometime, not taking help, makes it even more fun as we saw in the case of Mr. Bean.
And can you imagine, he just went for it in the day and age of NO INTERNET? It is crazy. Although, no one is denying the fact that his ways were not ordinary, not even one degree ordinary. But look at it this way, through Atkinson’s work, we get a glimpse of how a problem can be solved in a way that is unimaginable and just ridiculous to most of us. Being alone gives us a chance to look at a problem in a different light, the light that we create.
Mr. Bean was aware of his weaknesses and was smart enough to always have a plan B and C in place.
There are several instances in the show where Mr. Bean is shown exposing his weaknesses like his fear of heights or not being able to get up early. But hardly has he ever been shown quitting. He faced his fear of heights to taking the plunge despite his fear and had a weird water non-snooze system to wake him up if the alarm clock didn’t wake him out of the bed. (He didn’t wake up even then but at least the man tried.)
What we need to focus on here is his ingenuity. He came up with the most creative ways to overcome his weaknesses on his own which was actually the most delightful thing to notice throughout the show. We all cringed for sure but well, he left us thinking of all the things we can do to find our way to the solution.
He took care of himself in his own quirky way but his needs were his top priorities.
(Yes! He was an asshole at times but we’ll leave that bit of discussion for another day.)
Mr. Bean was Mr. Bean’s top priority. There are so many instances where we see this man giving the kind of attention he thinks he deserves to himself. Even though he is like an alien among human beings, he doesn’t feel he deserves any less than anyone else.
This happens to the best of us. We start feeling that just because we don’t belong anywhere and don’t necessarily fit in, there must be something wrong with us. This directly affects our self-worth but Mr. Bean clearly doesn’t give a damn and so shouldn’t any of us. It is just that simple.
He was comfortable in his own skin.
Not being able to fit in brings me to another very important point about Mr. Bean’s existence. He is outrageously comfortable in his own skin. This man who stays alone in a tiny apartment, treats a teddy bear like a human being, drives a weird yellow car and is so socially awkward but doesn’t care how he looks to other people. He is unapologetically himself at all points of time.
This is what being alone teaches us. To be oneself and still be awesome.
Mr. Bean made grieving feel okay.
One more important aspect of Mr. Bean’s personality was that he wouldn’t shy away from lamenting in public or otherwise. Feeling sad, angry, frustrated and other negative emotions is okay. We are all humans after all and sometimes when we feel a certain way, we start believing that we are that person.
But, you FEEL sad, you ARE NOT sad. And feelings come and go but you as a person are still the same. Just like Mr. Bean. He feels sad and next scene he is happy again. So being alone might make you feel sad but it’s momentary and it shall too pass.
He proved to us that you don’t always need people to have fun.
There are so many things that one can occupy themselves with. Mr. Bean was not trying to create chaos, as it may seem, but simply figuring a way to make his own life work. It is the same with us. We have to create our own goals and this can only be done if you spend enough time thinking about them and eventually doing them.
Even though there wasn’t a lot of social interaction in his life, he made it a fun place to live by just being himself.
Perhaps, you should try that, too. You have nothing to lose, do you?