The Bear

Started by scenicdesign71, Jun 29, 2023, 02:02 AM

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The Bear's second season recently dropped on Hulu, where I binged it in two days last week, after having done the same last summer with its first season.

Season 1 was hailed by critics -- and disliked by some viewers -- for its traumatically realistic depiction of life in the food-service industry.  I loved it; in certain respects, it reminded me of the similar masochism required of theater people attempting to build careers in a handmade, labor-of-love "business" whose tenuous existence depends on extracting superhuman labor in service of what will nevertheless always remain stubbornly, steeply-negative profit margins, creating evanescent artisanal experiences whose real impact on an overwhelmingly-indifferent public is almost impossible to understate.

Always an ensemble piece at heart, the show astutely widens its focus in Season 2 to introduce a note of humane warmth and even optimism without altogether compromising its hard-nosed credibility.  And, lest earnestness threaten to upset that balance (there are moments that feel startlingly not-all-that-far off from Ted Lasso territory), a midseason-flashback "home for Christmas" episode evens things out with an astonishing hourlong waterboarding-style immersion in the Berzatto family mayhem which many of the principal characters have spent their adult lives trying, by one means or another, to escape.  As an explanation of what might drive someone like our nominal hero into such a brutally punishing career, it's not exactly subtle; but the episode's brilliant direction and star-studded cast keep its pressure-cooker extremity from boiling over into caricature.

Not one of the many high-wattage guest stars this season makes a false move, and all fit themselves exquisitely into the show's flawless ensemble.  But Jamie Lee Curtis's jaw-dropping turn as the very last word in matriarchal walking-disasters -- giving all-new meaning to the term "chaos cooking" as she presides over the show's Dantean primordial kitchen, singlehandedly preparing its ur-"family meal" -- must be seen to be believed.  This might well be the year Curtis, 64, wins her first Emmy as well as her first Oscar.

The NYT review contains a few spoilers, but it's a gorgeous piece of writing about a gorgeous piece of television:

The show hasn't put a foot wrong yet, and I'm already awaiting next summer's (not yet announced, but presumable) S3 with great anticipation.


Can't wait til it arrives in the UK - 19 July!
Self indulgence is better than no indulgence!


Quote from: scenicdesign71 on Jun 29, 2023, 02:02 AMThis might well be the year [Jamie Lee] Curtis, 64, wins her first Emmy as well as her first Oscar.

My mistake -- Curtis's Emmy will have to wait until next year.  Their annual eligibility-cutoff date is May 31; as a summer release, The Bear's first season (which premiered in June 2022) is just now finally being nominated for the 2023 awards, while the second season (released last month) won't be eligible for nomination until 2024.

For now, the show's recently-announced 13 Emmy nominations for S1 include Outstanding Comedy Series; writing and directing nods for creator Christopher Storer; acting nominations for Jeremy Allen White ("Carmy"), Ayo Edebiri ("Sydney") and Ebon Moss-Bachrach ("Richie"), with guest-acting nods for Jon Bernthal ("Mikey") and Oliver Platt ("Uncle Jimmy"); production design; casting; picture and sound editing; and sound mixing.


Renewed for a third season.

Not unexpected, but exciting nonetheless!   :)