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Meet the Staff
Georgia Cutting
Staff Writer

Olivia Magalio
Staff Writer

Charlotte Mendel
Charlotte Mendel
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Hope Mallon
Hope Mallon
Staff Writer

The Bear: The Kitchen That Consumes You

The+Bear%3A+The+Kitchen+That+Consumes+You

Sitting in the thick, heavy grandeur of a Michelin star restaurant, we experience food distinctly, in ways that we will never feel again. That experience, and the work that the kitchen scrambles to keep up with, is the focus of FX’s new show, The Bear.

Shameless star Philip “Lip” Gallager acts as the center of the show, now Carmen “Carmie” Berzatto. He arrives in Chicago to save the restaurant of his brother, who committed suicide only a little while before the show’s beginning. It is in these opening shots, of seeing Carmie’s desperation to save his brother’s restaurant, that The Bear shows its expertise. The viewer feels the impact of each order, the stress of the kitchen as Carmie and his crew struggle to save their dying restaurant.

And as the kitchen breaks down, The Bear shows its unmistakable sense of humanity in its writing. From the constant yelling in the kitchen to all too familiar breakdowns in the fridge, the audience is thrown into the chaotic and complex lives of what feels like real people. And although Carmie is the main lead, the show nurtures the stories of the entire main cast just as heartily.

Take Sydney. Known as “Syd” in the show, she is one of the only new hires that Carmie takes on while rebuilding the restaurant. She is majorly overqualified from the outset, a graduate from the Culinary Institute of America with a promising future. A bad writer would fail to separate her character from Carmie himself, as he is a Michelin star chef who similarly “dropped down” to work at the Original Beef. However, her motivations, personality, and even the way that she approaches the stress of the kitchen starkly contrasts Carmie, and her character evolves into Carmie’s “co-chef” in only one or two episodes (depending on the viewer).

Sydney is not the only one to keep an eye on in the kitchen, however, as almost all of the other employees of The Original Beef have distinct stories that tie them to the restaurant. Take Ricky, a wholly “unlikeable” character by film standards, someone who hates Carmie from the outset. Or Tina, an older chef tied with Rickie that fights the change Carmie brings. Although “unlikeable” at first, the viewer grows to love the complexity of each character as their lives are exposed.

The Bear does many things right, but at its best, it shows the creation of a family, and how the imperfections of people come together to create communities. Everyone in the show is heavily flawed, but this only contributes to the reality that the show presents: being in the kitchen is nothing like the glamourous life of Master Chef, where ingredients are handed in sparkling containers to a crowd of hungry customers. And in the end, the cost of running a restaurant will never return on its investments, but it is worth the battle.

 

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Carolyn Chen, Staff Writer

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