Our family loves Mr. Bean. My youngest son (12 and autistic) is obsessed with him. He watches the dvds until they're ruined and I have to buy more. Autism is a language disorder, autistics can't communicate conventionally. In Mr. Bean there is almost no language. The few words that are spoken are not needed, it's all context. And he's hilarious. Mind The Baby, Mr. Bean is probably the funniest episode, but there are so many to choose from. I don't know what my son is thinking, but he really seems to understand Mr. Bean.
I had a close friend a few years ago, mother of 6, who was dying of liver cancer and her thing was that she wanted to laugh. So I bought her a dvd set of all the Mr. Bean episodes. She's dead now, so I'm glad I have that memory.
Internationally, he's a big hit, but it stands to reason. There's no language barrier. Here in the Philippines the show is popular and the animated series is well known. There are t-shirts and backpacks, notebooks, and all kinds of merchandise here. I also saw episodes in China and Hong Kong. If you're ever faced with bridging a culture gap or language barrier, mention Mr. Bean, you'll see a face light up.
Remember when the British Sailors were taken captive in Iran, and they kept reporting that they were treated well? After they got home, the government pressured the captives to try to change the tone of the event for PR purposes (that's my take on the whole thing, anyway), and one story came out, "They mocked me and called me Mr. Bean!"
Now, I know I'm supposed to be aghast, but I couldn't help but laugh. Iranians holding British sailors captive, and what do they think of? Mr. Bean!
Even if it was meant as the worst possible insult...think about it...how bad is that? I think it's cute, and I also feel that Mr. Bean has bridged gaps that haven't even been contemplated. I wonder how many closed societies have seen Mr. Bean...I hope all of them.