‘The Bear’ review: Hulu’s Chicago restaurant show, intense and darkly funny, demands to be devoured

When thinking about cooking shows on TV, the titles that come to mind are reality competition series such as “Top Chef,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” and “Cupcake Wars.” Did you know that Starz’s “Sweetbitter” and AMC’s “Feed the Beast”, and Bradley Cooper played a fictional version of Anthony Bourdain in Fox’s short-lived “Kitchen Confidential” in 2005? Burnt “?

no worries. I don’t know if even Bradley remembers the show. Finally, you have a series that contains all the ingredients you need for your menu. This is a long-term, satisfying, very entertaining, apparently Chicago-centric restaurant-based hit. FX / Hulu’s “The Bear” is dark, funny and enthusiastic. And a powerful gem that will ring the real bell for those who are very hungry and probably have worked, or are currently in the restaurant business.

If Jeremy Allen White’s genius and troubled “shameless” lip made the name of the Gallagher family and decided to change his name to become a chef, he escaped to Michelin’s rising star, White’s Carmen. Would be the same as “Carmy” Belzat. His crazy working class family in Chicago fled to Manhattan and worked at one of the best restaurants in the world, but his beloved brother Michael committed suicide and made a semi-legendary figure in the family. After leaving it to me, I came home. A charming, violent joint, Chicagoland’s original beef. (Consider River North’s Mr. Beef with a more ambitious menu).

We know that Carmy is abundant in his head and deals with countless demons. The first time I saw him in the premiere episode, he was at Clark Street Bridge above the Chicago River, unlocking the cage containing the actual bear. (Beware of spoilers! It’s a dream sequence.) From that amazing moment, showrunner and director Christopher Storer (who created the series) and Joanna Caro chaos in a restaurant with a Billy Goat-style illumination menu. Push us into the world of the illuminations. A counter (next to the Blackhawks jersey), a framed photo mish mash bent over the wall, an old-fashioned arcade game, and a cramped kitchen with a small corner of the office. (Full Disclosure: My sister was the property master of the series.)

“I’m still trying to understand this place. I want to see how Michael is doing everything and get you money,” Carmy tells the invisible creditor on the phone. .. If Carmy doesn’t make some fast moves and some big changes, like yesterday, it shows that the original beef of Sikagoland is in danger of collapsing. We’ll quickly introduce you to the core players who live in a crowded kitchen and work together as a cohesive unit and back and forth between wanting to kill each other within the same shift.

Sydney (Ayoedeviri), who came from a failed catering business, is the show’s most empathetic character.

  • Ayoedeviri’s Sydney is a trained chef at the Culinary Institute of America and has returned to Square One after a catering company failure. She has great admiration for Carmy’s work. His unfriendly attitude? Not so many.
  • Ebon Moss-Bachrach’s Richie is a restaurant manager, a close friend of Michael, and an unstable hothead who thinks nothing will change. The constant clash between Ritchie and Carmy is like saying that there was a difference between Michael and Fredo Corleone.
  • Lionel Boyce’s Marcus is a kind bakery inspired by Carmy and pursuing greatness. Liza Colon Zayas Tina is a veteran cook who is very skeptical of this young emerging Sydney.

An outstanding support ensemble includes the irreplaceable Abbey Elliott as Carmy’s sister Natalie, the classic middle kid who spent most of her adult life together to keep a worn family together, and forever bright. Includes real-life chef Matty Matheson in a hilarious turn as a versatile fix-it’s a man. Spoiler bans prevent me from naming some of the famous guest performers woven into the story. It’s enough to say that these actors have an indelible effect, even if there are only one or two important scenes.

Most episodes are recorded in about 30 minutes, and except for the penultimate episode of the 20-minute one-shot and the season 1 finale of 47 minutes, “The Bear” moves at an almost exhausted pace. Carmy claims that everyone calls each other a “chef” as a sign of respect, and the dialogue involves restaurant real terms (“behind!” “Corner!”) And rituals, such as the Brigard system (specific). A well-defined hierarchy in the kitchen) and a tradition of “family meals” where staff gather around the table during off-peak hours to share food and stories. (These scenes provide relief from constant clashes between so many great personalities, making some of the more moving moments in the series.)


Former beef manager Ritchie (Ebon Moss Bachrac) frequently collides with Carmy.

Jeremy Allen White can hit the ferocious, hardcore and dramatic beats of Sean Penn, but he’s also good at dealing with self-deprecating comedy. At first, Ritchie of Ebon Moss Bacharach came across as a frustrating jerk in one word, but in later episodes Moss Bacharach was given the opportunity to show Ritchie’s heart and fragility, and he did an outstanding job. doing. Ayo Edevili may not be a common name yet, but she’s a production star, and her Sydney is arguably the most empathetic and likable character inside and outside the kitchen.

Every day at Chicagoland’s original beef brings Carmy and his crew new developments, new retreats, and a new set of challenges. We are rooting for them to keep the lights on and keep their summits coming. That’s Chicago’s way.

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