On Mr Bean & Dr Sheldon Cooper (and why they resonate)

mr-bean-671027_640Who doesn’t love the characters of Mr Bean and Dr Sheldon Cooper?

They are both endearing, yet annoying at the same time.

We laugh at them and their social inabilities because they are characters on TV … but what if you lived with one of them? If we laughed then, we could be rightly accused of being intolerant of special needs.

I do not know that it has ever been explicitly stated, but I believe that both Mr Bean and Dr Sheldon Cooper (from The Big Bang Theory) have Asperger’s Syndrome.

Why?

There are three main reasons:

  1. They both behave in ways that are deemed to be socially inappropriate.
  2. They both say things we cringe at for their ability to offend – but neither of them are aware of this. (Yes, occasionally Mr Bean does actually speak.)
  3. They both have interests that they are obsessed with.

I remember reading somewhere that Rowan Atkinson based the Mr Bean character on his brother. The article said his brother has Asperger’s.

I also remember being highly offended at the time, and swore that I would veto this show in protest of Rowan Atkinson making money by poking fun at his brother’s disability.

I felt the same way when I saw my first episode of The Big Bang Theory.

Then, I started noticing similarities between Geordie and these two characters.

Should I have been even more offended?

I wasn’t.

I was, however, impressed  because these actors have ‘nailed’ the characteristics of a person with Asperger’s Syndrome – while making them come across as quite charming in their own way. I believe we laugh with them and not at them.

Three ways  Geordie is similar to Mr Bean and Dr Sheldon Cooper

  1. If you have ever seen the episode where Mr Bean is at the swimming pool – try to recall how he runs down the length of the pool. Geordie runs the same way. (I thought it was a coincidence the first time, but he does it all the time.)
  2. Thankfully, Geordie has developed a good knowledge of what is socially appropriate to say – and when not to say something … but I know he thinks it (because he asks me stuff later that I am SO GLAD he did not ask in public).
  3. Mr Bean’s go-to ‘friend’ is his stuffed bear, Teddy. While he treats the bear poorly at times, Mr Bean confides in Teddy and is rarely without him. I look at this and think: Geordie and FiFi.

(I could go on here …)

The funny thing is:

Geordie LOVES Mr Bean and Dr Sheldon Cooper. He laughs at their antics and cringes at some of the things they say and do.

I have asked Geordie on a few occasions what he likes about these characters.

‘They’re funny … I don’t know, I just like them.’

I also asked him, on separate occasions and several years apart, if Mr Bean/Sheldon ‘reminded you of anyone’.

I got a blank look each time, ‘No,’ then an eye-roll, ‘they’re just TV shows you know.’

That was good enough for me.

PS. Can I just add that Geordie’s eyes and eyebrows are nowhere near as freaky as Mr Bean’s … but they appear to share the same spindly legs and knock-knees (as do I).

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2 thoughts on “On Mr Bean & Dr Sheldon Cooper (and why they resonate)

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