The Bear: Season 2, Full Season
June 24, 2023 4:00 PM - Season 2 (Full Season) - Subscribe

From The Beef to The Bear, this season tears down the restaurant to build something entirely new and exciting.

That Feast of the Seven Fishes episode was amazing. God, I love this show.

NPR: 'The Bear' deftly turns the 'CORNER!' into Season 2

Los Angeles Times: ‘The Bear’ Season 2 is chaotic and quiet, meditative and loud. It’s perfect

Esquire: The Bear Season 2: A Satisfying Swerve
posted by Stanczyk (44 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
So obviously the Christmas episode is the standout that's going to have everyone talking. But I most loved Richie's arc peaking during episode 7-10, watching this guy humble himself and find his sense of purpose and inspiration in hospitality/front of house management. Seeing everyone chalk up quiet little growth victories in the face of chaotic adversity is something that drives the show for me and I'll always be a sucker for it. Great show, great season.
posted by windbox at 10:56 PM on June 24, 2023 [17 favorites]

This season was amazing… just beautifully done.
posted by pearlybob at 3:33 AM on June 25, 2023 [5 favorites]

It was really terrific.

I am impressed at the Bear, how it makes me love the show while also delivering scenes that are so anxiety-riddled that it is hard to watch and leaves me physically feeling it for the rest of the day. The Feast of the Seven Fishes was an emotional death march.

And then, there was such sweetness in so many of the other episodes (especially Marcus in Copenhagen, and Richie's arc). And that made the meltdowns on the final episode extra brutal.
posted by entropone at 6:39 AM on June 25, 2023 [8 favorites]

The fork thing brought back a somewhat lost memory. It wasn't cousins or brothers throwing a fork, it was my mom. I said some smart ass thing and she threw it at me from across the table. I remember looking up and seeing it like a diving board sticking out of my forehead. I remember pulling it out, going to the bathroom and cleaning up the four little holes, and then returning to the dinner table where I didn't say a word for the rest of the meal. I knew a Donna, though probably more troubled by mental illness than alcohol. Jamie Lee Curtis captured her brilliantly.
posted by Stanczyk at 10:50 AM on June 25, 2023 [10 favorites]

Wait, did they drop the full season? I thought Hulu usually went week to week.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:49 AM on June 25, 2023 [1 favorite]

I love this show.

Direction and editing: It's so good to see media that is well-directed. I understand where everyone is and what they're doing the first time around. Closeups are used to highlight food or raise tension. Compare that to a lot of big budget messy/bland direction.

Plot: I love watching people just trying to do something well and growing. No easter eggs or bucket of cameos needed (except for one episode).

I love Richie trying to talk Buddhism in the last episode!
posted by Freecola at 12:27 PM on June 25, 2023 [1 favorite]

An absolutely perfect 10-episode season. You feel the growth and struggles of every character, and it’s a little crazy to think that they dropped season 2 before season 1 has even been able to rake in its Emmy accolades.

Besides the stacked guest cast of episode 6, the cameo in episode 7 was also perfect.

Just jaw-dropping writing, direction, and acting in every episode.
posted by jimw at 9:32 PM on June 25, 2023 [5 favorites]

Great job all around -- though I will say, everyone keeps enthusing over Jamie Lee Curtis as the standout, and I don't really agree. I'd be fine if she won an Emmy for it, but it would absolutely make me think of that joke-rule that the award goes to the person who does the most acting, not necessarily the best. (John Mulaney made the Christmas episode worth it for me, for knowing exactly the right moment to let his nervous rambling turn into genuine terror. And then reel it back in.)

That Christmas episode was so tense! Even without getting locked in the fridge, I feel like Carmy would've put himself into a terrible headspace by invoking so many fraught family and work memories (the 7 fishes, the cannoli, evil Joel McHale) when he hasn't really come to terms with so much of it.

I loved how much of this season was devoted to expanding the horizons of the original crew. Richie's was the most satisfying because we got the most complete arc (his deciding 5 years ago that he wanted to be doing something other than making sandwiches for the rest of his life, his accepting that the particular frills of fine dining might not just be pedantry, his discovery that he was well-suited to front-of-house work, his ability to step up in a crisis and help resolve it, even his willingness to de-escalate the fight with Carmy rather than commit fully -- which, ok, he did end with "I hope you freeze to death" but honestly who wouldn't). But it was great to see how excited Marcus and Tina were to expand their knowledge and build confidence in their abilities...and good to see that they were smart enough to plan how to keep Gibson around in a functional role (The Beef at the Bear, or the Bear at the Beef -- either way, smart to come up with a way to keep making money off a popular, established lunch when Gibson wasn't comfortable with the switch to fine dining).

And...interesting to see that Sydney is still so focused on failure. Her character was an absolute star all season, but the season finale was not at all a triumph for her. When her father congratulates her and communicates that he understands what she's been aiming to do, she's literally puking up the efforts of their labors. I'll be really interested (worried) to see where her head is at next season. In her favor she has her father, who just...seems like a really great dad. I think The Bear gets to do really fraught things like that Christmas episode because they also show such good behavior between people. For every Jamie Lee Curtis character, there's a Robert Townsend. For every evil Joel McHale, there's an Olivia Colman and a Will Poulter. It's such a relief every time!

I don't care about Claire! Also, I think Carmy should've been more focused on the restaurant!
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:54 AM on June 26, 2023 [13 favorites]

Is the show still as much of a restaurant horror flash bomb like the first season was? (I'm not a smoker and I still wanted to go find a milk crate to sit out back on while watching the show)
posted by drewbage1847 at 10:10 AM on June 26, 2023 [3 favorites]

The restaurant is mostly closed this season, but, uh, yes.
posted by grandiloquiet at 10:33 AM on June 26, 2023 [1 favorite]

Speaking of Will Poulter - the Copenhagen episode was so quiet and intimate that I expected Luca and Marcus to get it on.
posted by entropone at 1:25 PM on June 26, 2023 [5 favorites]

You can keep your Christmas episode, the apogee of the season for me was Richie finding his purpose and embracing Taylor Swift
posted by Molesome at 1:58 AM on June 27, 2023 [18 favorites]

I LOVED this season. The characters really continued to develop and I found myself just randomly smiling. I think what it does well is show the true passion of the field. I think it's really easy to eye-roll at the high end food industry. I know I'm a basic-bitch with food. Give me some chicken nuggies and I'm happy. (Although I'm decent at baking and making pie!) I will likely never end up in any restaurant like that. But the show unlocks the art and passion. And it makes ME "get it." Seeing the characters unlock their potential, making someone smile with taste, it's beautiful.

And everyone feels very real. The acting and writing makes it all just like... someone you know. The dialogue is perfect. The cross talk. The joking. It's great.

My spouse was in the room during the Christmas episode and he looked at me and said, "What the HELL are you watching?!" I said, "Eh, it's a drama about restaurants. Don't worry about it." He enjoyed what he watched.

I could have kept watching for another 10 episodes right away.
posted by Crystalinne at 12:14 PM on June 27, 2023 [9 favorites]

I needed a content warning for that Christmas episode; growing up with a 1/10th as much dysfunctional Italian-American family, that had so many details right it gave me agita.
posted by cobaltnine at 9:42 PM on June 27, 2023 [8 favorites]

The second thing I want to say about this season is:

Just wow. Tearing up over a chocolate banana? That's never happened to me before. Same with Richie watching the high school teachers get a free meal. So many wonderful small moments with a smart and powerful emotional punch. Beautifully filmed and edited, brilliantly written and acted, with characters you really give a shit about as you follow their stories. An amazing season, astonishing in the way it deepens and expands on the first, while keeping everything that made the first season so great.

Which brings me to the first thing I want to say about this season:


Working as a staff writer, I was still broke, still on Medicaid. The studio wouldn't fly me out to the writers room in LA, so I worked from my Brooklyn apartment. My heat was out that pandemic winter, my space heater blew out the lights. I worked on episode 8 from a library.

All I can say about Hollywood is this: all that glitters is not gold. I won the lottery, and landed a gig on a low-budget show that became a national sensation. The Bear was a gift, but in the end, The Bear was a gig. And between gigs, I barely survive.

98% of staff writers work for the minimum. We don't receive residuals based on the success of our streaming shows. We don't have a way to stay afloat between gigs, and every gig feels like a miracle. Without a strong union, we have no safety net.
posted by mediareport at 8:14 AM on June 29, 2023 [35 favorites]

Is the show still as much of a restaurant horror flash bomb like the first season was?

Well, it tracks the weeks and months before a new restaurant opens its doors, so yeah, there's gonna be some tension and multiple crises there. But none of it feels gratuitous, and the season has so many quiet, slow, heartfelt sections that emphasize patience and art and creativity and honesty that they get the balance perfect.

The hour-long Christmas dinner flashback with Jamie Curtis, Bob Odenkirk, Gillian Jacobs, Sarah Paulson and Jon Bernthal, though, is definitely an endurance test. Well worth it for the backstory but wow it's intense - definitely enough to send you to a milk crate in the alley for a minute.

Wait, did they drop the full season? I thought Hulu usually went week to week.

Surprised me, too; I was waiting for the season to end before re-upping my Hulu sub, then saw they dropped the whole season at once and dove right in. So good.
posted by mediareport at 8:27 AM on June 29, 2023 [2 favorites]

What's the word for recognizing the interior of a Chicago restaurant before it's mentioned by name? The word is probably insufferable, but anyway. I loved seeing Avec featured so prominently in the third episode. I enjoyed a memorable dinner there with my wife almost a decade ago when she surprised me for my birthday with a trip to Chicago.
posted by emelenjr at 12:48 PM on June 29, 2023 [2 favorites]

I confess I have to agree with some of the comments I've seen about the Christmas ep--I found it excruciating but not for the same reasons most people have. It just felt super stagey to me and everyone was ACTING, and as much as I love most of the guest stars in it, it just felt overloaded with people acting as hard as they could. It might have something to do with what I've recently discovered is a factor that drives me batty--franticness/freneticness. I just can't stand that kind of thing, and it was one of the reasons I had a hard time getting into the first season and was kind of surprised when my irritation switched over to admiration.

The standouts for me were the quiet moments, the focus on what this all means to everyone and the way that shifted over the season. I absolutely loved the episode with Marcus in Copenhagen, and the little callback to it when Carmy mentions how much he loved living there and on the boat, and the invisible cat. That was a lovely bit of continuity. And in a season with tons of marquee guest stars, the quiet bits with Will Poulter and Olivia Coleman were just fantastic.

Since Richie is usually super annoying to me, I was surprised to find that his story was the one I ended up liking the most. Just his transformation at the restaurant, when he starts to connect those dots when the guy training him talks about his devotion to service...that was amazing. And seeing Carmy start to realize the different ways he's fucked up but wanting to try to be better was just so touching.

This show's kind of amazing in that it is totally something I can't stand (just the constant yelling, the frantic pace, the talking over each other...) and yet I adore it and I mainlined this whole season, when I hate binge-watching usually. It's completely worth it.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 3:02 PM on June 29, 2023 [6 favorites]

everyone was ACTING

The only thing I'd question in your comment , kitten kaboodle, is the above. I get the general "Best Actor Oscars go to the MOST acting" criticism, but I'm still left wondering: is there a scenario where you could imagine a screaming dysfunctional family holiday dinner scene that *wouldn't* set off your "this is too much ACTING" alarm? Because I'm not sure how that scene, or the acting, could have been done better.

(OK, I could, but saying I'd prefer Jamie Lee Curtis and Bob Odenkirk had been replaced with lesser-known stars to distract less from the excellent writing feels kinda like saying "Bob Odenkirk should never act in small thoughtful shows again, which is a terrible thing to think, so I'll restrain myself.)
posted by mediareport at 9:41 AM on June 30, 2023 [4 favorites]

Good lord, I didn't think episode 4 could be topped and then along came episode 7. Jesus wept.

Finishing up the season later today.
posted by cooker girl at 11:29 AM on June 30, 2023 [3 favorites]

Yesterday we realized that we hadn’t actually watched the full season but had stopped after episode 9. (Which would have been a really amazing cliffhanger that people would have been very mad about.)

Episode 7 is the peak for me, but still probably my favorite season of any TV show.
posted by jimw at 12:04 PM on June 30, 2023 [3 favorites]

I could watch episodes 4 and 7 over and over just to spend time on Marcus's and Richie's journeys. But I love Ayo Edebiri's face, so I'd need some of her sprinkled in too. Her bonding with Tina this season, Tina's beautiful karaoke moment.

It's so rare to have an episode like Marcus's time in Copenhagen, no villain, no real conflict. It was such a lovely, quiet gift, and then to pay all that sweetness off with a dozen missed calls from his mother's nurse in the finale. Heartbreaking.

For every Jamie Lee Curtis character, there's a Robert Townsend.

Despite his name in the credits, and him getting an on-camera speech in the early episodes, I couldn't place that actor. Of course it's Robert Townsend.
posted by gladly at 10:26 PM on June 30, 2023 [5 favorites]

The scene with Donna and Sugar’s dorky husband, and even more so, the scene where he is covering for her, but losing his shit, were truly amazing.
posted by snofoam at 12:13 PM on July 1, 2023 [22 favorites]

I wish someone had mentioned this show to me earlier as one that's about the beauty of sweating the details and caring a lot about making something good, because I would've been all over that. (I finally started watching it last week after someone described it to me as "gritty Ted Lasso," and honestly that's not a bad comparison, in terms of a show that's About Masculinity and also about dealing with trauma and also about wanting... not the fame and the glory (though yes, that too) so much as to make something dazzling, whether that's soccer or a really good doughnut.

I gotta say, though, that I barely made it through Seven Fishes, even though my own family holidays were never that loud or that dysfunctional.
posted by Jeanne at 6:14 PM on July 1, 2023 [3 favorites]

Jeanne: "I finally started watching it last week after someone described it to me as "gritty Ted Lasso,""

I was coming here to type something not quite as eloquent or economical, but yes.

Ted Lasso proved that a show without an antihero could be just as satisfying to audiences and critics alike — that “prestige television” is not synonymous with “people hurting one another.” And it's good for what it is, but it's ultimately still a Bill Lawrence show, and felt more and more like Scrubs the longer it went on.

I realized halfway through this season that The Bear takes a more realistic approach to the same idea. We are slowly watching characters evolve in spite of trauma and in spite of all the cards being stacked against them. They fuck up and yell at one another and find ways to move forward, to own up to their mistakes. When they're doing the fire suppression test and everyone is seeing their dark moments flash before them, observe how many of those things came from season one — because they're healthier people now and understand one another better.

Prestige television often treats conflict strategically — to the extent that when two characters get into a shouting match, part of me wonders if this is a real thing or just a fight that's happening because the plot requires it. The “I'm sorry” sign language gesture is such a great shorthand: it tells us stuff about the characters, but it also implicitly offers up a pathway for how people can de-escalate their own arguments… and it manages to let me know that this is not a load-bearing plot fight.

“Fishes” would’ve landed way better for me without the car crash at the end. I think they could've just had her break the dish and leave the room, but failing that I still would've preferred something not quite so over the top. I've been lucky not to ever be inside that sort of dysfunctional family gathering, but it feels entirely accurate to me for a matriarch to be slowly and loudly melting down and for everyone else to just pretend that it isn't happening… because trying to fix it will just make things worse. (Donna smearing butter on bread with her hand was such a great way of communicating that dysfunction.) I know Mulaney was a bit distracting as a casting decision, but he's the only one I would've wanted giving that speech as an in-law in a profoundly menacing environment.

“Forks” is the episode that deserves the Emmy. Richie has a life-changing experience in one week of in-universe time and 32 minutes of footage, and I'd have bet you $20 that nobody could've pulled that off. I was holding my breath because I was convinced he was going to drop the plate with the deep-dish pizza. And even until the end I was worried he'd go back to The Bear and be his old asshole self. But what Olivia Colman says to him at the end finally convinces him that he wasn't just sent there as a punishment: Carmy knows what his purpose can be. Ebon Moss-Bachrach deserves an Emmy nomination at the very least.

I'll forgive them for this (probably) but… Carmy was in the freezer for way too long. What I wanted to happen was for someone to get him out and for him to realize that his kitchen weathered the storm. He spent the whole time in there blaming himself for every mistake he'd ever made in his whole life… and yet they rolled with it. The restaurant had a great night. Everyone left happy. He deserved that catharsis. He helped build the sort of environment that could survive the head chef being trapped in a freezer.

Sydney, too. She had a great night. I hope she gets to a place where she can properly enjoy those wins.

I know there are going to be setbacks, that some occasional bad shit has to happen to characters because that's how the world works. I don't fault Claire for walking out. But if this is the last time we see her, then this show needs to learn some of its own lessons. Picture it from Carmy's perspective: his long-time crush admits to having a long-time crush on him and says she loves him, and it's all ruined because of a ridiculous thing he said when he was having a panic attack. That's not “goodbye forever”; that's a setback.

I don't love that ending, but I trust this show to do something purposeful with it. It'll feel like ages until we get season 3, which will leave us plenty of time to speculate about which guest cameos could possibly top Sarah Paulson or Olivia Fucking Colman.
posted by savetheclocktower at 7:49 PM on July 1, 2023 [15 favorites]

The cranked up Christmas tunes emanating from inside the house whenever the front door opened in the first scene hit home for me. Holy shit, what an episode.

Donna's return in the finale and her reluctance (at best) to enter the restaurant were perfect.

I can't imagine where the show would go in a third season, unless Ayo Edebri's character opens up a competing restaurant or something
posted by emelenjr at 1:00 PM on July 5, 2023

Robert Townsend is a legend. He was a good director who had to make his own way and open his own doors. I wish he would have gotten to helm more stuff in his prime.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:30 PM on July 5, 2023 [5 favorites]

The sweetest thing about the show, for me, is the way it made me fall in love with all of them. All of them.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:05 AM on July 9, 2023 [7 favorites]

Feast of the Seven Fishes reminded me viscerally of family gatherings I attended with an ex. I was off for the rest of the day. It's a great episode and I'm not sure I can watch it again.

which guest cameos could possibly top Sarah Paulson or Olivia Fucking Colman

Tom Hanks playing the chef that made Joel McHale evil? It would play into the "hurt people hurt people" thing.
posted by rednikki at 6:18 PM on July 17, 2023 [1 favorite]

part of me wonders if this is a real thing or just a fight that's happening because the plot requires it.

I had the same feeling. I commented to my partner that it's really refreshing to have scenes where characters simply talk to each other about stuff instead of just dumping info to set up the next plot point.

I loved all the actors, but I think Ebon Moss-Bachrach had the most difficult challenge - taking a character who is arguably an unlikeable asshole and imbuing him with humanity, making us care about him and ultimately celebrate his victories. So many of the actors deserve accolades, but if I had to pick one for an Emmy it would be him.

Show of hands, how many of you now say "Yes chef" and "behind" when you're making dinner with other people? 🙋
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 6:31 PM on July 17, 2023 [7 favorites]

My head canon is that Donna meant to rage reverse out of the garage, but in her drunken state put the car into Drive instead. Parallel that with Carmy working himself into a tizzy on Friends and Family night and getting locked in the walk-in. Starting off with one intention, and it blows up spectacularly. Mom and son both trapped in the disaster of their own making.
posted by BeBoth at 8:49 AM on July 18, 2023 [7 favorites]

Look, I'm a horror nerd so Jamie Lee Curtis is basically royalty to me. I love her like your Catholic grandma loves the Pope.

For me, she's fucking amazing here.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:05 PM on July 22, 2023

"Merry Christmas, guys!"

"Maybe somewhere."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:19 PM on July 22, 2023 [2 favorites]

Okay this may be way off base but I’ve been thinking about it since finishing the series.

Not only did Sydney get very ill with the stress of the first night - throwing up that much is pretty worrying, although for some folks I know it’s a normal stress response - she also had a number of moments where her taste buds were very off. At least two, maybe three times, she reacted VERY strongly to getting a dish wrong - like it went very badly wrong when she created or seasoned it. This seemed weird to me for a professional chef who Carmie trusts - wouldn’t it just be like, “not quite there yet” or “this is slightly too salty” or “needs some citrus?”

So my question… is Sydney ill? Her mother died of Lupus which can affect your sense of taste. There are some genetic markers which increase your likelihood of developing Lupus or other autoimmune diseases.

I can picture a touching story arc where her found family help care for her. But as it stands, I am super worried about her! Even if this isn’t due to underlying illness, she is running at a stress level that is not okay long term, despite her creative success and the team’s general commitment to harmony and support.
posted by Isingthebodyelectric at 7:20 AM on July 24, 2023 [2 favorites]

At least two, maybe three times, she reacted VERY strongly to getting a dish wrong - like it went very badly wrong when she created or seasoned it. This seemed weird to me for a professional chef who Carmie trusts

But didn't Carmie spit it out in disgust the first time, too? I love (most of) this show, but I took those as simply two more examples of this season not trusting its audience, going for Big/Obvious over True.

Carmine promising the "impossible" 18 months to recoup the loan is another one of those, especially after everyone at the table inexplicably seems to take that number as set in stone even after recognizing its (supposed) impossibility.

Some of the Sydney/Carmine conflict felt maybe a touch phony to me, too.

(And others that come to mind were from -- to my eye -- keeping too much improvising in the cut.)

But overall I still loved it, for the reasons everyone else has spelled out above.

(Though the radical increase in...fanciness on display loses me more than it did in the first season. You can see where they tried to sand down the hard edges of it -- the schoolteachers' comped meal, the plan to keep the lunch window open for the local regulars -- but I'm not sure that $40+ chicken schwarma is a thing that needs to exist, and that makes the whole dream here a bit harder for me to go along with. Last season they were elevating a local establishment. This season they're literally gutting it.)
posted by nobody at 8:52 AM on July 24, 2023 [3 favorites]

I loved all the actors, but I think Ebon Moss-Bachrach had the most difficult challenge - taking a character who is arguably an unlikeable asshole and imbuing him with humanity, making us care about him and ultimately celebrate his victories.

I recently rewatched part of season 1 and early on, Fak is explaining Richie to Marcus, and says, "Oh, he's an asshole, but he's not a bad guy - he's just sad inside." Really great little character profile, there, and EMB definitely walks that fine line.
posted by entropone at 6:44 AM on August 1, 2023 [5 favorites]

I love (most of) this show, but I took those as simply two more examples of this season not trusting its audience, going for Big/Obvious over True.

I finished last night, and I agree with this - though I guess unlike most people, I thought the Seven Fishes episode was not over-the-top. I mean, it was high-energy certainly, but I believed it - it felt true to me.

But there were instances where it was obvious to me that "oh, somebody wrote this dialogue." I can't help but wonder how much better the show would have been if the writers had been able to operate in better conditions. Especially the character of Claire felt a bit half-baked - a muse/dream girl, who just happens to be listening on the other side of the lock-in at the absolute worst time. Just a bit too much. I also found Richie's transformation a bit rushed - I didn't quite buy that as a petulant stagier he'd be so quickly embraced by the staff at that other high-end restaurant. (But I did really like how he keeps telling people "I wear suits now.") Or Marcus' mom likely dying on opening night - a bit much. But I still loved this season - for any moment that felt a bit cheap/overwrought, there were many more delightful/nuanced moments.

fanciness on display loses me more than it did in the first season

So, historically I'm a budget restaurant sort of person, but this season got me curious about Noma, and this article genuinely changed my mind about what I used to think about high-end restaurants. Like yes, some fancy-schmancy places are a rip-off. But in other cases, the chefs are artists who will surprise you with what's possible in the realm of flavor. That's clearly what Carmie and Sydney intend for the Bear.

Anyway, like others, I found Marcus in Copenhagen charming, but Sydney is by far my favorite character, and I think also is the best written character. I interpreted that final scene with her father as the moment it finally dawns on her that actually, yeah, she is on the right track. And yeah, her dad is excellent, and clearly knows when to push and when to give her some space. I also enjoyed seeing how Tina is so comfortable in the kitchen - she seems better than most at handling the stress, and is able to correctly judge how far they've come. She's not going to get herself stuck in the walk-in or throw up after a shift - she's focused and capable. Carmie and Sydney are talented, but they could learn something from her.

Not only did Sydney get very ill with the stress of the first night - throwing up that much is pretty worrying, although for some folks I know it’s a normal stress response - she also had a number of moments where her taste buds were very off. At least two, maybe three times, she reacted VERY strongly to getting a dish wrong - like it went very badly wrong when she created or seasoned it. This seemed weird to me for a professional chef who Carmie trusts - wouldn’t it just be like, “not quite there yet” or “this is slightly too salty” or “needs some citrus?”

I interpreted this as a reveal to viewers of the fact that even professional chefs make all sorts of mistakes, especially when pushing the envelope and trying to figure out a new dish. I've finally gotten around to reading Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, and Nosrat will often share stories of how she flubbed a dish.
posted by coffeecat at 11:27 AM on August 1, 2023 [6 favorites]

Oooof, the unresolved ending between Carm and Claire (or I guess maybe it is resolved and I just can't deal with that) was no fun at all.

But everything else about the season was amazing. The Christmas episode took me a few beats to get past the absolutely berserk casting but by the time Richie and Gillian Jacobs are in the bedroom upstairs I settled in. Even giving Mulaney the monologue during grace was the right choice. And god the scene where Richie's ex calls to tell her she's engaged just aches so much because her feelings about giving him the news tells you that at heart he actually is a good guy, and she hates hurting him (while you also grasp why the marriage would have failed).

After the density of the celebrity casting in Fishes, Olivia Colman showing up at the end of Forks is just a wild punch in the face. I yelled 'HOLY SHIT!' when I saw her.

Everyone in the show is beautiful.
posted by dry white toast at 5:56 PM on August 8, 2023 [2 favorites]

So my question… is Sydney ill? Her mother died of Lupus which can affect your sense of taste. There are some genetic markers which increase your likelihood of developing Lupus or other autoimmune diseases.

There is an ep where Sydney is in her bathroom. She opens the mirror cabinet and there are about a zillion pill bottles. Most of them are for stomach issues. So yes, she definitely has a problem. Or maybe her dad has a problem? But I took the vomiting to mean that Sydney is the one with the problem.
posted by nushustu at 1:41 PM on August 21, 2023 [1 favorite]

Why The Bear Gets in Your Head - video essay by Thomas Flight which looks just at the brilliant editing of the show. 248, mostly rapid reaction shots in Fishes versus a seeming one shot eternity where Carm and Sidney are under a table.
posted by rongorongo at 3:31 PM on August 31, 2023 [1 favorite]

Excellent 30k-word essay—review?—of both seasons at Film Crit Hulk.
posted by bbrown at 5:18 AM on November 2, 2023 [3 favorites]

A thing I keep thinking about with Claire: she also has an extremely intense job, and one where the stakes are actually a LOT higher: literally life or death. I think the show intentionally intersperses little shots of her at work to acknowledge that -- no matter how emotionally, physically, creatively, and financially stressful the experience of opening The Bear is for Carmy & co. -- at the end of the day, it's just a restaurant, and the show is aware of that fact. And maybe somewhere deep down inside, Carmy knows it too, and the relationship with Claire is good for keeping him grounded: if Claire can have manage to have a full life and healthy relationships outside of the world of the ER, Carmy is capable of doing it too. But at the same time, Claire never even hints at making these comparisons herself, and she takes Carmy's ambitions just as seriously as he does, and I like this about her SO much (I might be projecting a lot of stuff here, idk).
posted by naoko at 10:14 AM on November 25, 2023 [2 favorites]

The ebb and flow of the emotions in the various episodes are what made it, for me. It was really remarkable writing. The Marcus and Ritchie characters' episodes were shockingly beautiful: Marcus and Luca's quiet conversations, as was Ritchie and chef Terry's (DID YOU SEE WHO WAS PLAYING CHEF TERRY?!) brief interaction. Exceptional, exceptional stories. As was Tina's Karaoke night - she was not that sympathetic a character in season one (though reasonably so) - and her singing was so beautiful.

Yeah, the writer's should get a big cut of the profits from this show, as though it were net-work tv.

The 'look' of the "Seven fishes" episode was very different and made me accept any artificiality in the language as a part of whoever's memory. It was a loud, scary nightmare that rang way way too true. And obviously, I think it was this - that the trauma these kids suffer is, at the same time, not all that they are. And I really appreciate that.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:44 PM on December 13, 2023

I still have 2 eps left of S2, so I'm skipping all the comments in this thread, but from what I glanced at, I think I'll be in the minority here... whoo boy, this show really fell off in S2. A few good-great episodes, some not very good at all stuff.

The bad:
Carmy's relationship with Claire. Unnecessary and forced storyline that adds nothing to the show. Her character is (as of episode 8) a far too perfect non-entity whose only role seems to be giving Carmy a space to dump his emotional baggage. She works in the fucking ER, yet she is an endless font of kind patience. Has she never had a bad day? Does Carmy ever bother to ask her how she's doing? I mean, I know starting a restaurant is stressful, BUT SHE IS DEALING WITH GUNSHOT WOUNDS AND PEOPLE DYING OF COVID AND ETC ETC EVERY DAY. Dude, don't be so selfish. (I mean, also just her introduction to the show was wack. She's immediately making goo-goo eyes at Carmy from the first second. Come on, have some self-respect, Girl! Or, perhaps more to the point, Come on, writers, give this female character some self-respect!)

Syd's day exploring Chicago cuisine. How the hell did she find the time to have dozens of different entrees at dozens of different restaurants, plus conversations with staff at many of them, plus still have time to sit thoughtfully on a boat? In one day? OK, fine, I'll give them a montage pass for this one.

Richie's week staging. He would have been torn apart immediately on day one for throwing forks around like that. No way he would have gotten away with that, judging by the sequences of him waking up, for 2-3 days. The performances of all the other actors at that restaurant (with the exception, of course, of Olivia Coleman) were pretty weak -- definitely not the quality of most of the main cast. I just didn't buy that they were all sooooo invested in their restaurant, even (especially?) when the one chef was bitching about the "smudge." Just not great acting. And why didn't we see Chef Terry earlier, if she's the owner and head chef? OK, not so big a deal, I guess. But the woman who gets a crush on Richie and is all, "Hey Richie, don't be a stranger *winkity wink*" -- ugh, so cheesy.

Tina's storyline. Corny and thinner than razor-slized deli meat. The whole "karaoke night with her classmates" sequence -- we've seen zero interactions between her and her classmates, but I guess we just infer that she's feels left out because she's older? Ok, fine. And then she goes to karaoke, again has zero interactions with anyone, but sings a song and the whole bar is like, "Yo yo yo, check it out: this old lady can sing!" Fucking cheesy, and really a bummer because the actor is so good.

I hate to say it, but Ayo Edebiri's acting limitations became more obvious, to me at least. When she does her sarcastic Gen Z stutter-sort of thing, "Well -- uh -- ok -- um -- GOSH -- so -- yeah" -- it seems like a routine. There was a bit of this in S1, but it seemed worse this season.

Oh god, that scene at the end of episode 1, when Nat, Carmy, and Syd all walk in the restaurant at the same time to have their go-get-em-team moment. Cheesy.

The somewhat unbelievable:
They pay to send Marcus to Copenhagen? They pay to send Tina and Ibraheim to culinary school? While also, apparently, paying all the kitchen staff salaries? Plus all this renovation? Yeah, Uncle Jimmy's 300k (or 500k, whatever it is up to) seems a little thin. And I don't know much about the restaurant business, but it seems unlikely they are going to start turning a profit anywhere near as soon as they need to in order to pay back Cicero, especially post-Covid.

The Good:
The Marcus episode. (Whose boat is he sleeping on? And Carmy slept on the same boat and fed the same invisible cat years before?)
The Christmas dinner episode, obviously. A wee bit overwrought, but powerful. And poor fucking Pete! Just a genuinely nice guy, and they all shit on him. Hell, even dork-ass John Mulaney was dunking on Pete, that's pretty embarrassing.

I thought S1 was very good, but not the best-damn-show-on-TV that most reviews seemed to be claiming. If I were of a younger generation, I might say the show gets by on "vibes" and good acting -- the performers are good, the feel of the action is good, but the story runs a bit thin at times. Too many establishing shots of Chicago -- as if they're going for a "The City is another major character!" sort of thing, but it just doesn't feel that way. The second season amped up the weak spots and the problems just became all the more obvious.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:12 PM on January 4

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