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In review: Why FX’s 'The Bear' works so well

As award season kicks into action, there is one series that is demanding audiences attention. 

FX’s series “The Bear” in 2024 has already collected six Emmy awards, four Critics’ Choice awards, and three Golden Globes. But why is this comedy show taking over award season? 

“The Bear” is known for its acting and writing. Christopher Storer, the show’s creator, is very distinct in what “The Bear” stands for. A reflection of restaurant culture and a mirror to society. At its core, “The Bear” is an exploration of family and workplace dynamics — a captivating character study that reflects the world.

“The Bear” focuses on the dynamic between two families, the Berzattos, and the employees who run their family-owned restaurant, The Beef. The Berzattos are a Chicago-native family made up of three siblings.  Carmy, who was “chef de cuisine” at one of the country's best restaurants before inheriting The Beef from his late brother Mikey, who was the head operator of the family-owned restaurant. Their sister Natalie is a co-owner in the restaurant and seemingly the glue of the family, as she spends the majority of the first season trying to restore her relationship with Carmy as they are both grieving Mikey's death. 

The Berzattos are the family that own The Beef, but the crew behind it is what keeps it alive. The kitchen staff consists of Mikey’s best friend Richie, who was managing before Carmy took over. Tina and Marcus two workers who have worked at The Beef since before Mikey death. Lastly, there's newcomer Sydney, Carmy’s sous chef who has a soft spot for The Beef because it’s her father’s favorite restaurant spot. 

As mentioned, the first season of “The Bear” revolves around Carmy grieving his brother, whom he lost connection with before his passing. The only attachment they share now is The Beef. Carmy isn’t good with emotions and he avoids them as he dives deeper into his work as a chef. The hours he spent learning culinary arts gave him a successful career at the expense of family relationships. Natalie spends the first half of season one reaching out to Carmy to ask him to go to group therapy, something that takes a little convincing but he eventually attends. These relationships evolve in season two and it’s pointed out that Carmy has struggled saying “I love you” to his family for quite some time. The detachment that he has never escaped him and those three little words cause his breakdown in the season two finale where he gets into a screaming match with Richie on the night of the restaurant reopening.

Carmy avoids his family, that’s what he spends most of season one working on with Natalie. He spends the rest of his energy restoring the restaurant where he’s met with a new extended family in The Beef’s kitchen. A family that works together and makes mistakes. Tina is a character who has longstanding history with The Beef and she's cautious of new faces. When Sydney is introduced in season one as Camry’s sous chef, Tina, takes an indifference to her even playing tricks on her in the kitchen and ignoring her commands. Fast forward to the development they have working together in season two Sydney asks Tina to be her sous chief for the new restaurant that will open in The Beef’s place. 

When watching “The Bear” what stood out to me the most was the scenes in the kitchen where cooks were preparing. The morning meetings the staff held in getting ready for the day. It was an interesting insight because I have no knowledge when it comes to kitchen management, but also because I loved seeing the characters interact. The fights that Richies and Sydney would get into. Marcus’s eyes light up as he discovers his passion for baking. Tina and the respect she has for Carmy as a chef but also as a boy she saw grow up before her eyes. The fast-paced energy of the show makes you peel your eyes for these special moments that can a lot of the time go unnoticed. 

The relationship dynamics in this whole show can be defined in a line Richie says in season 1 episode 6. “This is a delicate ecosystem and it’s held together by a shared history, and love and respect.” In the scene, he's talking about the growing gentrification of Chicago. His words coincidentally represent the whole cast of characters, and even if that love is loud, ask any fan of “The Bear,” it is an anxiety-inducing show, it's there and that's all that matters. 

To me, as a fan of “The Bear,” this is a show about passion as well as relationships. There is a spark driving the narrative of this show and its characters. You just want to root for Camry, Sydney, and the rest of the cast. You want to strip back layers and figure out what makes characters tick. And I feel as though “The Bear” is amazing at testing audiences patience. Every new piece of information you get on a character feels well-earned as you learn through the progression of the show. 

Actress Ayo Edebiri who plays Sydney in her acceptance for an Emmy in the category of outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series said, “This is a show about family and found families and real families” a confirmation that this is the true heart behind “The Bear” as it is a show grounded in reality and the humanity of that is what keeps audiences coming back. 

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