How The Bear became my ultimate comfort show
A lot of series and television shows being produced these days are caricatures of real-life – flashy with unrealistic, out-of-touch dialogue annoyingly cuffed with long, dwindling scripts that lead nowhere in particular. But the same cannot be said about FX's The Bear.
The Bear is a hyper-realistic depiction of the scenes behind the lives of people running a small Italian-American family restaurant. The main character, Carmen Berzatto is a culinary prodigy who returns to his hometown in Chicago to take the reins of his late brother Michael's sandwich shop "The Beef".
We find them at a time and place where the business is running stale and the dysfunctional family dynamics are pouring into the working atmosphere. The restaurant has stagnated and people like Michael's best friend Richie, who Carmen addresses as "cousin", along with the older staff all struggle to accept Carmen's new adjustments partly due to them still secretly grieving the loss of Michael.
The genius of The Bear is no secret and since airing in early 2022, it has been rightfully hailed as the best series of the year.
Viewers are served an overwhelmingly chaotic walkthrough of what gruelling hard work looks like in the service industry and everything from resistance to change, interpersonal conflicts, contempt for authority, and rage quitting is packed in the show's eight episodes.
The camera work does a brilliant job of making viewers feel like they are physically present in the kitchen alongside the staff. It is almost as if we get to watch the chefs working from over their shoulders and feel the nail-biting pressure of having to keep up in a fast-paced atmosphere or getting uncomfortable as the several heated arguments erupt.
However, what adds finesse to the episodes is the fact that at the end of the day, it is a show about love for those around you and how grief can manifest in different ways in different people.
Now comes the main question – how exactly did kitchen nightmares unfolding in a crammed sandwich shop make it to the top of my favourite's list?
Apart from the stunning close-up shots of delicious, mouth-watering food, the credit for it goes largely to the characters. The characters in the story prove to be personalities one can go from hating to loving at any moment, and the writers have done a fantastic job in showing their growth as people who learn to be passionate about their craft.
It was refreshing to see young people throwing themselves hard at work and the raw realism of heightened emotions in a frustrating workspace shown convincingly. Endless profanities and screaming and the overall crudeness in their day-to-day operations give the series the humour necessary to perfectly balance the characters' deeper struggles.
Watching The Bear had been an indirect approach to venting. Additionally, there is a great jazz soundtrack and many moments to laugh out loud to. Then again, the show may be too intense in nature but regardless of that, it is an undeniably heartwarming watch. At the very least, one will pick up on some kitchen jargon like "corner!" and "heard!" by the end.
Season 2 of The Bear is set to be released this year and given the first season's ending, we can expect another hot serving of comical drama and a plot of refined taste.
Irina suspects she may have a milk-tea addiction. Feel free to reach out to her at [email protected].