Quick – what is the greatest single cultural export of the UK from the 1990s? Is it Oasis? The Spice Girls? Leatherface? Not even close. The answer is the lovable, bumbling mute, Mr. Bean. The popularity and staying power of this god of physical comedy is immeasurable and to this day his antics are enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people the world over. In honor of the rare occurrence when the Brits actually manage to get something right, we’re taking a peep at some sweet Mr. Bean tattoos.
Mr. Bean sprang from the mind of Rowan Atkinson, who was already a very popular comedian before creating the character that he would become synonymous with throughout the entire world. British audiences were already well-versed in his work thanks to the flawless sitcom Blackadder. But while highly regarded and popular in its own right, it was quickly eclipsed by the worldwide success of Mr. Bean.
The show began its run on January 1st, 1990, which makes it about as synonymous with the ‘90s as you can get. The series followed the exploits of the eponymous title character who is essentially a child trapped in a man’s body (something which many of us here at Tattoodo relate to almost painfully). It was an instant hit. Viewership of several episodes reached upwards of 18 million people, which by our calculations is practically everyone in England.
The public became insatiable for the slapstick mishaps of Mr. Bean. The television show only ran for 15 episodes, which likely gives it some sort of record in the realm of volume of content vs. popularity. An animated series followed (where it is eventually revealed that Mr. Bean is likely an alien and there is a race of creatures just like him) as did two full length films and an appearance at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.
Atkinson keeps Mr. Bean under tight wraps, having often claimed to retire him completely. Despite this, the character popped up in a few film just a few months ago. Sadly, Top Funny Comedian was only released in China. We can only speculate as to how many boatloads of money it cost producers to change Atkinson’s tune. We think it’s three.
While there is certainly no new Bean in sight, the character is still getting miles out of the series’ original run. Mr. Bean is currently one of the most popular shows in developing areas of the world where television is a recent addition to the home. His physical comedy transcends language and plays incredibly well in places where little or no television programming has been produced in the native languages.
We’d all love to see an episode of Mr. Bean where he gets a tattoo, but since the likelihood of that is nil, we’ve got the next best thing – Mr. Bean tattoos. Just take a look at the skin of these superfans and marvel at how one man has made such a cultural splash without ever speaking a word.
We hope these Mr. Bean tattoos inspire you to revisit the series or check it out for the first time. It truly is one of the finest pieces of television ever produced anywhere in the world. Oh, watch Blackadder while you’re at it. And then get some Blackadder tattoos so we can write about them.