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Why The Bear is the best streaming program of the year | Tilt Magazine

Why The Bear is the best streaming program of the year | Tilt Magazine

Is The bear the best surprising hit of 2022?

The problem with so much streaming of TV these days is that it is so fleeting. We watch programs, we complete them, sometimes in a couple of days, and then we do not think about them again until next season, sometimes two or three years later.

The bear, a series of eight episodes that debuted on Hulu in late June, is the first streaming program in recent memory that was so good that I completed it and would immediately watch it again. The story of a chef who suddenly takes over the sandwich shop in the Chicago area owned by his late brother is equally funny, tense, sad, gripping and, most of all, authentic.

And beyond that, it’s the kind of thing that makes me believe that the creator of it is destined for great things, possibly even in the movies. This is a very, very special show.

The show was created by Christopher Storer, who also directed five of the eight episodes. Most of Storer’s credits are from comedy specials, although he directed episodes of Ramy and Dickinson. Hiro Murai, CEO of Atlantais among the executive producers, which is apropos, since The bear announces the arrival of a voice behind the camera, on television, that no one since Murai came in again Atlantatheir early seasons.

The bear is what would have been an “FX on Hulu” show before that branding was dropped; it appears exclusively on Hulu. All eight episodes debuted at once, and each of them is about half an hour, give or take, which makes an abundance of the entire season, not a very tough lift. Especially compared to the marathon lengths of the last two falls Stranger Things episodes.

Image: Hulu

A show about everything

Nominally, The bear is the hyper-realistic story of life behind the scenes at a restaurant, one that kitchen veterans have called some of the closest they have seen to the real thing. But it goes much, much deeper than that.

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Jeremy Allen White, best known for Shameless, stars like Carmen Berzatto, known as “Carmy”. A famous, hotshot young chef who has worked at some of the best restaurants in the world, he has returned to Chicago and taken over the sandwich shop that was previously run by his brother, who committed suicide a few months before the events in the series.

This puts Carmy in conflict with the existing kitchen staff, led by Richie (Girls veteran Ebon Moss-Bachrach), his brother’s best friend and an often fighting girl. He has some ideas about how a kitchen should be run, while those around him have very different ideas.

Meanwhile, Sydney (Ayo Edebiri), a bright culinary school graduate, has shown up and wanted to be his sous chef, and pastry chef Marcus (Lionel Boyce) is trying to perfect his characteristic donut.

This is a star-creating turn from White, who between his hair and the tattoos certainly looks like a guy who would work in a restaurant kitchen. Moss-Bachrach, known from various indie films in recent years, also credibly embodies this kitchen-tough throat that has given surprising depth as the season goes on. And Edebiri – a comedian who plays a voice role Big mouth – steals many scenes, as a character that is not quite what you think she’s going to be.

Image: Hulu

Beyond the kitchen

Yes, it’s a series about the restaurant kitchen behind the scenes, and it’s pretty good at it, especially in the thrilling, Uncut Gems-like seventh episode, which is either shot in a single shot or very meant to look like it. our. Food lovers will also find a lot to love, with lots of appetizing food on display. And the show feels like Chicago, even though 95 percent of it was shot indoors. I spent most of my time watching it and wanted to board a flight to Windy City and visit a place like Original Beef of Chicagoland.

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But there is much more going on here, since the show is even more about Carmen trying to reconcile with the death of his brother (Jon Bernthal, in flashbacks), from which he was alienated. He also has the task of cleaning up the mess of the deceased brother made by the restaurant’s finances, complete with erratic bookkeeping and unpaid taxes, and dealing with family members such as his sister (Abby Elliott) and uncle (Oliver Platt.)

Overall, the show with great success captures the spirit of Anthony Bourdain’s good memoir “Kitchen Confidential”, which tried to convey what is really going on in the restaurant world, from shady investors to kitchens staffed with people from different corners of the world. The bear comes much closer to this spirit than the early 2000s network TV adaptation of Bourdain’s book, which starred a pre-superstar Bradley Cooper.

The mood is very different from it Great evening, but it is the story of a couple of Italian-American brothers, where sumptuous food is a big part of the offer.

The Bear Hulu TV series
Image: Hulu

“A chemical reaction, hysterical and useless”

The show also uses music unlike some newer series this side of Stranger Things. There is expert use of three songs by the Chicago band Wilco, including “Via Chicago”. We hear Genesis’ “In Too Deep” – “the 1980s most moving pop song about monogamy and engagement” – and the final episode ends with the perfect distribution of Radiohead’s “Let Down”, just in time for the 25th anniversary of “OK Computer” album . Whatever they spent on the music budget, it was more than worth it.

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Sure, the ending is a little too sweet if you think about it, and has a little more in common Extremely loud and incredibly close than it should. And some Chicago residents have torn the show down to put the store in the fancy River North area and suggest it’s a criminal neighborhood.

But despite all that, The bear is a fantastic, possibly groundbreaking show that has a chance to change what viewers think about restaurants, Chicago, family trauma and more. Nothing has been said yet about a renewal of the second season, but the universal recognition seems to make one probable.

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