Series Created by Christopher Storer.
In Christopher Storer’s The Bear, we follow the employees and cooks at the dirty, failing Italian beef sandwich shop, the Original Beef of Chicagoland, as its owner has died by suicide and his brother, Carmen ‘Carmy’ Berzatto (played by Jeremy Allen White), takes over. Carmy, an experienced chef with fine-dining experience, wants to change the way things are done in the restaurant much to the frustration of some of its employees, including the de-facto manager of the shop, Richie (played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach), who is the most unruly of the bunch.
The Bear is one of the most discussed new shows this year that, to be specific, isn’t based on a previous franchise or series. It took quite a while to reach Danish screens (out now on Disney+), which is odd given how often the show references Denmark. As a Dane, I was constantly thrilled by the references to Noma and the Richard Hart Bakery in Copenhagen, and, when you add to that the fact that I, a foodie, am also a Chicago sports fan, I can honestly say that this show had me grinning from ear to ear a surprising amount with all of the references visually and through dialogue.
The first season consists of only eight episodes, and most of the episodes are relatively short half-hour experiences. In an episode, you’ll feel and see the energy of Chicago, see delicious, mouth-watering food porn-like glimpses of great dishes, and experience how the cooks in the sometimes quite disorderly kitchen slowly gain an understanding of each other and start to become somewhat of a family, even though the restaurant itself and the stresses involved with changing it from top to bottom aren’t necessarily conducive for a great work environment. You’ll certainly gain a new understanding and appreciation of restaurant workers and cooks, and perhaps it’ll even make you think twice before you send a plate of food back.
I was immediately enthralled by the energy and intensity of the show, as it sometimes feels like you’re watching cooking in real-time (and in the breathtaking episode “Review,” we do), and the wild pace of the show (and the sharp editing) can make it feel like the kitchen is one mistake away from freefall. But it isn’t just about the cooking here. In actuality, it is really a show deeply committed to showcasing how these characters’ grief materializes. To add to that, addiction is another potent theme of the show. Through it all, the main cast is excellent and never misses a beat. Ebon Moss-Bachrach is electric as ‘Richie,’ Ayo Edebiri is also quite good as ‘Sydney’ the inexperienced sous chef growing more and more confident by the day, and, at the heart of the show, Jeremy Allen White gives a really convincing performance as he captures the right energy for this character.
Instantly hooked by the brilliant way the frenetic and energetic cuts add to the show’s pace (and further excited by the Danish references and excellent ‘food porn’ on display), I am thrilled to be able to confirm that you should believe the hype. The Bear is awesome. Well directed, edited, and acted. I can’t recommend this enough. It has all the right ingredients that make up a must-watch series. Don’t skip it.
– Review Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.