I sat on the couch, tears welling up in my eyes. The credits rolled, and the emotions were swirling. I will concede that the tears have flowed easily ever since I became a father, but the point stands that what I had just watched really stirred something up in me. If you had told me a month ago that what had just elicited this response was a cooking show, I might have thought you were mistaking the show I had just watched for one of my wife's many food-related series binges. While food related shows these days have become more about competition and reality, The Bear captures the perfect storm of comedy and drama. One-on-one conversations between characters in the show are engaging, thought provoking, and heart-strumming, and doggone it, it's easy to make a case for this to be the best series of 2023.
The Bear season two premiered on June 22, 2023, and the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. The show earned 13 Emmy nominations for its first season, and shows no signs of slowing down for season two. Incredible acting performances led by series lead Jeremy Allen White as main character "Carmy" drive the critical acclaim, along with some fantastic vision and direction from Christopher Storer. It has proved to be a huge hit for Hulu, overtaking Secret Invasion as the #1 streamed series in June according to the Reelgood TV Show Top 10. As of the writing of this article on August 11th, 2023, it still stands as the #7 streamed series across streaming services, almost two months after the series premiered. It now stands as the most watched FX premiere with a 70% increase from season one, according to Variety. I've heard recommendations from several friends and mutual connections that it's a phenomenal show. And yet, I waited to binge the entire series (seasons one and two) until I was good and ready. And boy, am I regretting that decision to wait.
What makes this show so intriguing? For me, it was the dynamics between the characters, as season two delved into many different backstories and what makes them tick. We see Carmy, Sydney, Richie, Sugar, and more with a wide range of emotions in season one -- but we don't really dive into why they were feeling those emotions until season two. Many faults are shared between all of these characters, which makes for interesting interactions. But when you're really able to see why the characters make the decisions they do, it opens up the raw emotion and drives the storytelling to a place that isn't reached by many shows. I found myself tearing up in these "normal" or "casual" conversations between characters that I didn't expect to get so deep. I mean...it's a show about a restaurant. How can these people possibly put this much heart and soul into what they are hoping to achieve? After some reflection, I realized that the passion I have for my family, and some of the other things I love is similar; but these characters have a passion for the restaurant, and for the co-workers around them who become family throughout the series. They do a phenomenal job at portraying that passion, which presents itself in many ways; a lot of anxiety, yelling, and rage. But at the end of the day, their passion brings them back together in a extremely touching way.
If you would have told me at the beginning of 2023 that my favorite show of the year would be a Hulu original, I'm not sure I would have believed you. To go even further, if you told me if it were a food-centric show, I'd probably muster up a small chortle. It just goes to show that with the right vision, direction, and execution, any series can be successful. I rate The Bear season two a 6 out of 6 Infinity Stones, and I'm fairly confident that this will be my top show of 2023. I can tell you that season 3 may be among my most anticipated future projects, and I would highly recommend this show to everyone. I'll leave you with my favorite meme from the show, pictured below. Let it rip!
Isaac Edlund is no chef, but he is married to one. You can find more of his reviews on the Daily Snap covering comics, movies, and TV shows!