In June 2022, Hulu released a new original television show that introduced audiences to life in the food industry, also serving as an advertisement to get people interested in working in the food industry.
Set in Chicago, “The Bear” follows a former chef in the culinary world as he is sent back to his hometown after the sudden death of his brother. He now owns his brother’s inefficient and scattered sandwich shop as well as his debts. By the end of the series, we’re just as stressed and exhausted as the rest of the chefs. According to people who have worked in restaurants before, the show is very accurate.
Viewers are immersed in the fire of the food industry from the start of the show. And it doesn’t stop. Accompanied by a stellar soundtrack, we’re shown scenes reminiscent of Danny Boyle’s direction of frantically chopping and peeling chefs. There are times when chefs focus on 20 other things or they vehemently prepare for the lunch rush. These moments are compared to looking at the opening clock. Using Shakespeare’s time technique, there is a point where it feels like five minutes have passed, but the heads have actually lost an hour. The scenes make progress seem like moments are missing, representing to the audience how stale time is in the kitchen. Minutes of rest are highly sought after by workers and viewers. We are only shown what is going on in the kitchen. We very rarely get a glimpse of what’s going on outside the kitchen.
We endure 30 minutes of swearing and verbal abuse just for the episode to end when the restaurant opens. It’s an interesting choice of storytelling since the kitchen staff are normally secondary characters in TV shows. Now we don’t see what’s happening upstream with the customers, much like the chefs in real life. However, a point of contention is that the episodes end abruptly. For example, the seventh episode shows an example of the extreme stress and pressure placed on chefs when trying to fulfill pre-order orders. Some of the chefs aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing and they don’t understand that the immediate focus is on pre-orders. This causes the main boss, Carmen Beraztto, to lash out and have a worker quit on the spot. The episode ends with her quitting, but we don’t see how the other events unfold that lead to her quitting. The next episode begins with what feels like a few days after the events, but without any mention of how they handled the situation. He is completely forgotten and they let him pass.
Jeremy Allen White plays head chef and owner Carmen. White is known for his role as Lip in Shameless. His acting captures the image of a man who tries pretty well to keep his life together. Ayo Edebiri plays Sydney; we are shown that she is extremely talented but has never worked in a restaurant before. We watch the industry transform it from timid to grabbing the bull by the horns. Ebon Moss-Bachrach plays Richie, Carmen’s brother’s friend and restaurant manager. He worries that Carmen and Sydney are ruining the essence of the restaurant (and what’s left of his friend) by smearing it with fine dining techniques. He fights to keep it as it was when Carmen’s brother owned the restaurant. Alongside them are the veteran line cooks who persist in the new changes and the occasional visits from Carmen’s sister who help keep her sane. Viewers are surprised by the guest stars of Joel McHale and Molly Ringwald.
The end of the show was ambiguous. He felt that it could have ended after this season and viewers would have been happy with it. Likewise, the show also has the potential to run for multiple seasons. Since July, the show has been renewed for a second season. Each character already had a meaningful arc, meaning they could make or break the second season. For now, we just have to wait for the reopening of the restaurant.