Nothing forever remains.
The trees will wither in time, the oceans will boil, the mountains will crumble to dust.
And nothing confirms the transient absurdity of the world like the news that Rowan Atkinson no longer wants to be Mr. Bean. “This week, Atkinson said of Mr. Bean in a Radio Times interview, “I don’t enjoy playing him very much. The burden of duty is not enjoyable.
And it’s just as well, because Mr. Bean has been around for 31 years now, and he’s made it to a TV show, two movies, an animated film, a sketch for the Olympics nine years ago, and four books – somewhat unlikely. In addition, Atkinson is now in his mid-60s, and it’s only natural that his tastes shift with the times.
He had the physical power to wiggle about with large eyes in his 30s. Now that he has an older man’s experience, he tends to devote that energy so vehemently to bashing Cancel Culture that you would think Mr. Bean was simply a boundary-pushing political satire about Islamic fundamentalism, not a TV show about a man with goggly eyes making ‘ooh’ noises at inanimate objects. In his preparations for retirement, Bean is not alone. Sacha Baron Cohen announced this week that Borat is also extinct now, telling Variety, “I brought Borat [out of retirement]because of Trump. There was a reason for that movie, and I don’t really see a reason to do it again.” In a matter of days, we’ve lost two indelible comedy figures? Who do you think the next one will be? From Edina Monsoon? Bucket Hyacinth? But don’t worry, the developers haven’t lost their shtick entirely.
After all, everyone who has seen Cohen’s This Is America series knows that it was essentially a bunch of Boraty Borats beating on a bunch of oblivious Borat-style troublemakers like crazy.
Similarly, this year, Atkinson will make his streaming debut in a Netflix series called Man Vs Bee, which sounds a lot like he marched into the headquarters of the organization and said, “What if Mr. Bean, but as an insect? ” Still, letting Borat and Mr. Bean die is only fair.
Since the 1990s, both characters have been around, and both are so widely drawn and familiar that everything else Rowan Atkinson and Sacha Baron Cohen have ever done is immediately eclipsed. They are profoundly imaginative individuals, and perhaps they will be free to pursue other possibilities through these final murders. Plus, never say never. You’ll note that Alan Partridge was once angry with Steve Coogan because he thought the series had become a millstone around his neck.
It looked like we had seen the character forever, but he felt more secure with Partridge’s legacy after Coogan proved his creative integrity with Philomena.
So, he’s currently shooting BBC One’s This Time With Alan Partridge for the second season. David Brent went down with the ship as well in 2003, when Ricky Gervais finished The Office.
But in the 2016 film David Brent: Life on the Lane, Gervais’ subsequent success gave him the freedom to revive his most famous character.
Even though, in truth, that movie was horrible and made me hate The Office. Borat and Mr. Bean might be better off dead, on second thought.