“The Bear” is fresh. But not just for its food. It’s the punch: eight episodes, each 22 minutes. Through star Jeremy Allen White’s arresting performance, protagonist Carmen comes off as relentless. Carmen will stop at nothing for a five-star kitchen. Anxiety-inducing at times, “The Bear” follows Carmen ‘Carmy’ Berzatto as he is forced to takeover the family restaurant. After his brother, the owner of “Chicago Beef”, dies by suicide, Carmen gives up his five-star job to seize control. It’s a mess.
Everything about this show is seeping with the right kind of fat. From the close-ups of the half-made food to the tension in the relationships, “The Bear” is on the same level as the best. The only true discomfort that this show inspires is during its kitchen fights, which make you at once wish that you’ll never have to work in a kitchen again, or make you want to step up and run one yourself. It’s a wonder that “The Bear” is fiction.
Likely driven from the experiences of several of the writers –– led by creator Christopher Storer, known for producing the Hulu show “Ramy” –– the fights in the kitchen, the problems with each character, and the shady stuff in the alley all ring true. But it’s in part thanks to the actors that the writing flies. There’s no doubt that this is White’s best work. The amount of discomfort that they must have had to endure to bring Carmen’s anger and depression to life is painful to imagine. It’s the same with Amherst’s own Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Richie, Carmen’s cousin, who consistently pushes the ‘old system’. Carmen’s relationship with Richie constantly seesaws.
Tension abound, plenty of sabotage, and early mornings. Boston native Ayo Edebiri shines as newcomer-chef Sydney. Additionally, there are quite a few technical feats, such as the long take (one continuous, unbroken shot) at the end of the seventh episode. The action is stressful but consuming.
If you liked “Uncut Gems,” or the recently-released FX drama “The Old Man,” The Bear is a must-watch. But prepare yourself for friction. 4.5/5.
Gavin King is a Marblehead High School graduate and a film major at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Created by: Christopher Storer
Release date: June 23, 2022
Platform: FX via Hulu
Renewed for Season 2 on July 14, 2022