The Bear

The Bear season 1





Kristin Smith

TV Series Review

When Carmen ‘Carmy’ Berzatto got out of Chicago, his plan was to make it big in the world of fine dining and never return. 

Well, he accomplished one of those two things. 

After his brother Mikey committed suicide, Carmy came back to Chicago to take over Mikey’s failing sandwich shop–The Original Beef of Chicagoland–per Mikey’s last request. Carmy’s goal was to make it a place where people would want to come and eat: A respectable, renowned place with excellent food. 

That’s much easier said than done. 

Breathing life into the shop is still Carmy’s goal, but he’s in over his head. Turns out his brother was in crazy debt, the kitchen staff is sloppy and Richie–Carmy’s arrogant, hot-headed cousin–thinks he runs the show. And honestly, much of what’s on the menu needs to come off. Immediately. 

However, Carmy’s biggest battle is getting the staff to respect and trust him. It doesn’t seem to matter that Carmy has worked at famous restaurants from Denmark to New York, or that he’s won the James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef. The only thing they really care about is that he doesn’t barge in and alter anything. 

But things are going to change. Starting with the sous chef that Carmy has just hired: a spunky, talented young woman named Sydney. And then he’ll move on to the trashy menu, the dirty floors and general lackluster appearance of the shop.

Things will get better, that’s for certain. Carmy’s just not sure how much he can take before he’s crushed under the weight of this newfound burden. 

Welcome To The Biz

There are so many shows about police officers, firefighters, teachers and doctors. So why not create a show about chefs? Sure, we’ve seen reality shows focus on cooking. But rarely do we see a fictional exploration of what it’s like to work behind the scenes, in a restaurant that isn’t top of the line. 

FX is here to change that with The Bear. This TV-MA rated show is an attempt to bring humanity to the people who make the food that you eat. It’s raw, real and full of the sort of gruffness you might expect from a tight-knit group of individuals who work in Chicago. 

Carmy is the aspiring leader of the pack as he attempts to make something of his brother’s less-than-average shop; Richie is a total jerk who can’t stand taking orders from his younger cousin, no matter how talented he may be; Sydney is Carmy’s newest hire and fiercest defender; Marcus is a kind, loyal cook who’s actually honors Carmy; Tina is the spunky Latino chef who’s not ready for change and Ebraheim is also a chef, preferring to keep his head down and get things done. 

As the series opens up, there’s not much we’re told about the lives of these people. But their acting, and the intense dynamic that’s created, lets us know a lot about their personalities with few words. They’re all a sort of family–a tradition instilled by Carmy’s Italian brother. But they’re the sort of family that swear like sailors, shout when heated, tell crude jokes and wrestle with dysfunction like it’s an uncle that must be accepted. 

Main character Carmy longs to change most of this, but there’s no telling if that’s something that will happen, or if it’s just a far-fetched fantasy.

Episode Reviews

Jun. 23, 2022–S1, Ep1 “System”

Famous chef Carmy moves back to Chicago to attempt to revive his recently deceased brother’s sandwich shop, but runs into obstacles along the way. 

A few people, primarily Carmy’s cousin Richie, make crude sexual jokes. Richie calls someone a “fag” and is constantly disrespectful to Carmy. Men and women alike smoke cigarettes and consume hard liquor. 

God’s name is misused twice, once paired with “d–n.” The f-word is used more than 30 times while the s-word is heard over 10 times. Other profanities (a few in Spanish) include multiple utterances each of “c-cksucker,” “d–khead,” “d–k, “a–hole,” ”c-cks” and “b–ch.”

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Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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