The Bear by Christopher Storer | Kitchen as a Battlefield
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The Bear by Christopher Storer | Kitchen as a Battlefield

The Bear by Christopher Storer | Kitchen as a Battlefield

Posted on 11 June, 2024
More Info

Year

Country

USA

Seasons

2

Runtime

20' - 66'

Original language

Genre

In the heart of Chicago‘s culinary scene, there’s a place where time seems to stand still, oil sizzles and the air fills with claustrophobia. A restaurant. Yet a kitchen is not just made up of food and stoves, but of people. The Bear is more than just an urban restaurant: it is a place where the kitchen becomes the mirror of the battling human soul.

Created by Christopher Storer, produced by FX Production, and distributed on Hulu, The Bear is a two-season TV show that was born in 2022. Through the characters’ lives, the viewer is invited to explore the intrinsic problems of those who have made food a job and whose ingredients make lives full of stress, mourning, and personal growth.

In The Bear, the frenetic kitchen of the Chicago restaurant becomes the stage for the return of Carmy (Jeremy Allen White, already known for Shameless), a renowned chef who finds himself managing the family business after his brother’s suicide. Between the clanging of pans and the buried secrets of the past, every day is a fight for professional and personal survival.

As Carmy tries to renovate the restaurant and cope with daily challenges, his journey becomes intertwined with the fates of his colleagues, including longtime friend Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) and new hire Sydney (Ayo Edebiri), who brings with her fresh perspectives and a contagious ambition. But there is a story behind every dish, and Carmy understands that the path to redemption has just begun.

Each season to its own challenges

Beyond the steaming stoves and screaming in the kitchen, The Bear offers a profound look at the universal themes of love, loss, and personal growth. In the first season, Carmy struggles with the weight of his past and a sense of responsibility towards the family restaurant, The Original Beef. This struggle manifests as a sense of drowning in the mud, a feeling of immobility that drags him further down as he tries to avoid imminent failure.

However, in the second season, the series takes a turn. As Carmy and her team prepare to transform the place into the fine dining restaurant called The Bear, new dynamics and tensions emerge, and the narrative moves to explore other characters beyond the protagonist. Carmy is the misunderstood genius who carries the weight of existence and talent on his shoulders, but who is not damned by self-centeredness.

The TV show explores everyone else’s challenges, too, which can be tied to ambition, family identity, and the cost of an obsession. Everyone, especially in the second season, has a private and personal journey, even moving more outside the kitchen and Chicago. Like Marcus, the local pastry chef, who embarks on a journey of culinary discovery in Copenhagen.

Hope and personal connections are equally important. The characters in The Bear find comfort and strength in the bond that unites them. Whether it’s friendship, love, or family, interpersonal bonds are the beating heart of the series.

Images courtesy of FX

Finding purpose in a raw world

It’s like, I think, being an athlete or being an actor in some cases where I think you have to feel this is the only thing I can do with my life to really go far. Because it’s so much sacrifice. So, I have a tremendous amount of respect now [for people in the kitchen], certainly.

Jeremy Allen White for UPROXX

The Bear‘s special dish stands out for its ability to immerse viewers in the fast-paced and often chaotic world of professional cooking. Its realism and authenticity tell the story, starting from the atmosphere full of frenzy and chaos, and ending with the comradely solidarity between colleagues. The sharp dialogue and biting humor add a touch of levity, cleverly balancing the stress that emerges at every work shift.

The shots are tight, the cuts frequent, and the soundtrack incessant, as everyone screams and fights to complete their tasks. Spectators experience for themselves the claustrophobic sensation and incessant pace that characterize restaurants. A bit like series on the world of medicine, such as Scrubs or Grey’s Anatomy, describe the world of hospitals, The Bear is an example of a TV show to approach to learn about the world that could hide behind a well-cooked dish, which often it’s not just about glamour.

Images courtesy of FX

The Bear’ best episodes so far

Storer opts for diametrically opposite choices to convey the series’ frenzy: episode 1X07, The Boiling Point, is shot entirely in a long take, like perfect choreography in the stuffy kitchen environment while the timer goes off.

The same technique is used in Fishes, episode 6 of season 2, the flashback to a Christmas lunch in which the full origin of Carmy and her siblings’ traumas is revealed. This episode, too, is a (fake) sequence plan full of close-ups that insist on the psychology and vulnerability of the characters. It is an hour of TV enhanced by the illustrious cameos of Jamie Lee Curtis and Bob Odenkirk, which has already made the episode an (anti) Christmas classic.

The journey is still far from complete

Like Ted Lasso but with a lot more drama, The Bear is about people learning to treat themselves and others better. One can win without being toxic and can be brilliant without being unbearable.

However, the journey to success is not without its challenges. The season ends with Carmy falling into the trap of the myth that one must necessarily suffer to achieve success. Yet, despite the difficulties, The Bear tells how, throughout their lives, people are allowed to fail more than once because learning is not magic; it is repetition, attention, and persistence, like in cooking.

Images courtesy of FX

The Bear has been recognized for its quality thanks to numerous awards, including numerous Primetime Emmy Awards and Golden Globes, crowning Jeremy Allen White as one of the most prominent actors of the moment—even his consecutive advertisement for Calvin Klein made talk for weeks.

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