I’m a pretty pro-America guy overall. I like to support local markets in hopes those goods and services will continue to be available to me, but I have strong limits on this thinking. I am usually first to check out new new businesses for services such as oil change places, salons, eating. Big chains have been tried and I understand the experience of going to Taco Bell, but sometimes I want something new and different, something unique to my area and maybe even unique to me. I’ll shop around on the big ticket items and won’t put locality above price for example. I support the market if the market supports me.
In one part of my life, I continue to dismiss domestic brands and lean toward foreign though and that is in entertainment. For much of that, I look to England. Everything from the BBC to their far superior sense of humor has enticed me since I was a young lad to the present time of being an old bloke. My interest began where many others did, with Mr. Bean. I ripped through the entire series of Mr. Bean in about a day, no big feat considering it’s only 14 episodes and loved every second of it. I knew virtually nothing of the world in which it was created or even of the people on screen. I just knew something about its presence was hitting me hard like nothing before it had done. I had been interested in comedy my entire life and still consider it first on my list of creativity. Sure, I had been interested in many things before then, mostly Alf and Perfect Strangers and while I loved them, I felt something about their voice was more limiting in nature than something created in a British culture. Mr. Bean was my first window into that world of allowing for virtually anything to occur. That was not something I sensed from watching Alf or Perfect Strangers.
As you probably know, Rowan Atkinson is the star of Mr. Bean. My huge liking of his portrayal of Mr. Bean lead me quickly to his other work and before long it was not odd as a viewer to see him speak. I started with his one man show and laughed harder than I ever had before. He was conniving and willing to be quite rude and put others in harm’s way for his own selfish drives. This is not something I personally like to see reflected on screen, but the fact a character was willing to be vindictive and almost unlikable in attempts to get a laugh really spoke to me at an early age. I felt these characters were not willing to sugarcoat anything for me. I was being shown another angle than I was getting in any American sitcom and I was enjoying its darkness immensely.
They call it dark or black humor when not so nice things happen to people while trying to make them laugh. It’s a genre of comedy you either love or you don’t. It’s surprisingly more mainstream than one may suspect. Anything from Death to Smoochy to Death at a Funeral or other death related comedies are all examples. Mr. Bean didn’t deal much with the darker side of comedy, but Rowan Atkinson most certainly has. His other material is much more adult oriented and after years of growth something I have found far more appreciation for. To me, there’s just more substance in an episode of Black Adder than Mr. Bean. There’s something they are trying to say about the world, about hierarchy, about trying to get ahead both figuratievely and in some episodes literally.