You need to watch this. Now streaming on #Hulu (originally FX). A lesson on worldbuilding. #SpoilerAlert
THE BEAR is a 1/2hr episodic drama. First, we don't get a lot of 1/2hr dramas, so this was cool to watch for structure. Two, most dramas are serialized. THE BEAR has a few breadcrumbs we follow for an overarching problem but tends to introduce and solve their problems in each episode.
My critique of this is that really high stakes get introduced but easily dissipate because it's dropped and never re-addressed. For example, Sugar's house is going to be taken due to tax issues out of nowhere, and then we never mention it again. Some issues are acknowledged and then dropped for possible future seasons like Cuzn going to jail and the money in the tomato sauce. Why hide the money vs paying the vendors and other debts? I hope we find out next season.
What they do well:
This is a show about people who work in a kitchen. Chicago and the kitchen/restaurant industry are our world. They are characters being given just as much page space as our ensemble cast.
The director is fabulous at building the world. The handheld, in your face, gritty camera movement adds to the chaos of the kitchen. The editing choices also push the theme of how food connects all of our characters, even those who are no longer with us. Our protagonist is trying to prove his worth as a chef (person) to his older brother who committed suicide by saving his dying restaurant. However, he also comes from the trained, stressful culinary life, so his anxiety is constantly through the roof. Because of this, we're in close-up a lot and spend time inside our protagonist’s mind.
The dialogue adds to the chaos with the characters constantly speaking over each other, the stories about disconnected encounters while staying on the reactions of our characters, and the constant kitchen jargon being shoved down our throats like we're the ones in the kitchen that need to learn it. It's brilliant.
Have you watched?