mini_cooper_bean2 Mini Cooper and Mr. Bean

Since I have been living in China I have not been impressed with their sense of humor.  When jokes have been told to me I have found them tasteless, offensive and just plain not funny.   One joke in particular made me a bit angry…

Why don’t Black people eat dark chocolate?

Because they don’t want to eat their fingers.

A student told me that joke.. and I was not pleased.  Although, he seemed to laugh hilariously.  I begin to inform him why he should never tell this joke again and how it was not acceptable. This is one of many irritating jokes I have heard from Chinese people here.

Besides their taste for bad racial jokes they have a strange obsession for Mr. Bean. A British comedian that tends to rarely speak but does a host of silly things to down right stupid things to get laughs.   The Chinese love this guy with all their heart.  If you just say his name the giggles start.

Not only children of all ages but adults also.   I thought it was only in my area where this obsession was until my husband and I were taking a bus to Shanghai and playing on the television located at the front of the bus was none other than Mr. Bean.  At that time I knew that these people were really lost.

I even had a student name herself Bean because she loves him so much.  I began to research why this character, played by Rowan Atkinson, is so popular.   Created in 1990 in the UK by Atkinson, this series became a mega hit international in 1992 with The trouble with Mr. Bean.

When I asked my students why they like Mr. Bean so much,  one student told me it was because he was so clever.  He can always figure out a way to fix the problem in a creative way.   I then began to watch Mr. Bean in a whole new way.   Was this guy clever?  Was I missing something?   …. No…. I wasn’t no matter how many time I watched the shows I thought he was just a little silly and stupid… so stupid that I actually laughed a couple of times.

All in all, I have come to the conclusion that Mr. Bean is so well liked because he is easy to understand.   People from any country can understand the actions of  this  slow-witted and selfish man who brings various unusual schemes and contrivances to everyday tasks.  There is no language translation needed because he never speaks, and no confusion in what he is doing,  just plain slap-stick humor.

When I look at the humor that is on the local tv here, it is also more of a slap-stick humor.  Maybe that is why they do not quite understand my sarcastic humor.   Anyway, I can try to join in on their laughter and  watch dear old  Mr. Bean with them….The sacrifices we make for acceptance….. oh how I miss American humor.

until next time….