Despite the appeal of reality cooking shows like Top Chef, Master Chef, The Final Table, and countless others, there haven’t been too many great scripted shows about restaurants, kitchens, and the chaos that they can host. Enter FX and Hulu’s show The Bear, about a young fine dining chef who returns to his Chicago roots to run the Italian beef joint his brother left to him in his will.
The Bear is definitely a show that is not afraid to portray the chaos of a kitchen, as the show’s frenetic pace and constant shouting feels something like a rapid boil for audiences – the anxiety sits there on the back burner until the show decides it’s time to turn up the heat and ratchets the tension up even higher and put that chaos on full display late in the season. But even more notably, the show features a delightful cast, with a star turn from lead Jeremy Allen White but also standout supporting performances from Ayo Edebiri, Lionel Boyce, and the rest of the kitchen crew.
The show is also as hopelessly in love with the city of Chicago as I am, constantly wearing civic pride on its apron sleeve while also portraying the gentrification anxiety that is present in every major American city right now – characters worry about the rapidly evaporating neighborhoods of Chicago and resist change as a result. It’s a real, genuine portrayal of living in a city and trying to make something of yourself in 2022 America. Plus, it’s a whole lot of fun… and anxiety.
The Bear is one of the hottest shows of the summer because, like any good dish, it’s made with love and a certain flair that is only possible when you push the envelope. All 8 episodes of the show’s first season of The Bear are available to stream on Hulu, and yes they will make you hungry for some Chicago-style eats. But there’s nothing wrong with that, so dig in.
I’m Evan Rook.