Saturday, February 24, 2024

Entertainment Review: The Bear

The first season of The Bear turned out to be one of the most watched and beloved shows that year, and won too many awards to count. It followed the brilliant but troubles chef Carmen ‘Carmy’ Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White), who gives up his career as a Michelin-star chef in New York to come home to Chicago to run his family’s chaotic sandwich restaurant after the suicide of his brother. A lot of the humour was created out of the different approaches to the food business and Carmy’s difficulties with the staff. Would it be possible to replicate that brilliance in Season 2?

Creator Christopher Storer has achieved it, and at the recently announced Emmys, the show matched the six awards won by Succession (in a different category), sparking a debate of sorts on why The Bear should even be competing in the comedy category, when the second season is more serious than shows nominated for Best Drama.

Be that as it may, the 10-part series (on Disney+Hotstar) is worth a binge, and a lot of it has to do with the performances and the luscious shots of food being prepared, served and displayed. It also has the universally popular plot points about loyalty, struggle, success and love.

This time round, Carmy wants to rebrand and relaunch the restaurant as a fine dining place, but the place is falling apart. Outdated appliances and damaged pots can be replaced, but how do they raise the money and the will to fix the drywall, get rid of the mould, update the plumbing and the other never-ending problems that keep popping up just when they know the budget has been stretched to the limit. Carmy has the support of his sister Natalie (Abby Elliott), his brother’s unstable friend Richie (Ebon Moss-Bach), the rest of the crew and most of all the expert chef Sydney (Ayo Edebiri)—all of whom, for reasons of their own are willing to support Carmy’s over-optimistic vision. He is distracted, however, by the entry of school crush, Claire (Molly Gordon).


Eventually, as taxes and expenses mount, Carmy has to approach Uncle Cicero (Oliver Platt) for a loan, promising him the property if he is not able to repay in 18 months. It is a huge and desperate gamble that stresses out the team but also motivate them to deliver.

The show is made up of small moments of bonding, of self-realisation and pushing oneself to the limit for a near-impossible dream. Carmy is blessed to be surrounded by people who help build his foundation—he doesn’t quite realise it. The series has been renewed for a third season, which will give him a chance to rediscover himself and mend fences with those he let down.

The performances, already lauded by awards juries are the beating heart of the show and the ensemble comes together as a well-knit team to show the audience just what goes into running a successful restaurant, and what goes on behind the scenes before the beautifully plated food is served. What happens when they fall short of forks or when the toilet backs up? There have been a lot of films and shows about food, but this one gets the ingredients just right. And the soundtrack is a bonus!

The Bear
Created by Christopher Storer
Cast: Jeremy Allen White, Ayo Edebiri, Ebon Moss-Bachrach
On Disney+Hotstar

Deepa Gahlot
Deepa Gahlot is one of India’s seniormost and best-known entertainment journalists. A National Award-winning fim critic and author of several books on film and theatre. She tweets at @deepagahlot

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