Let him cook: Preparing for ‘The Bear’ Season 2

The comedy drama is must-see television


Courtesy of IMDb

“The Bear” tells the story of Carmen Berzatto, a chef who leaves a fine-dining gig for his family’s sandwich shop.

Tabitha Cahan, Contributing Writer

In an age of too many streaming platforms, it is difficult to decipher what is worth the watch. However, I am here to say “The Bear” is must-see television. With commentary on late-stage capitalism, toxic masculinity, gentrification, trauma, loss, addiction, and the plights of all-consuming work environments, the show proves its timeliness while handling these issues with grace and never feeling gratuitous or self-righteous. 

“The Bear” aired its first season in the summer of 2022, and I was instantly hooked. The show portrays the story of Carmen Berzatto, played by Jeremy Allen White, who is best known for playing Phillip “Lip” Gallagher in the Showtime dramedy series “Shameless.” Berzatto leaves his job at a fine-dining restaurant to run his family sandwich shop after an untimely death in the family. In this run-down, short-staffed, debt-ridden establishment, Berzatto is thrown to the wolves, forced to wrestle with his grief and trauma while attempting to create a successful business. 

White took home the Golden Globe for best actor in a TV series, musical or comedy in January for his raw, lived-in performance of Berzatto. Although White’s performance was outstanding, the beauty of this show lies in its ability to present an unwavering reality. Chefs have commented that it is one of the few cooking shows that actually depicts what it feels like to be a chef. Far removed from the glamorized reality cooking shows such as “Iron Chef” or “Masterchef,” the devil is in the details for “The Bear. The show tackles the nitty-gritty realities of life in the kitchen without spending time on the mundane aspects — taxes, inspections, plumbing, dishwashing and so. much. chopping. 

Episode seven is the clear standout of the show — all done in one take. In this episode, the kitchen staff works with the new technology of carry-out orders, and it goes haywire. Without too many spoilers, this episode was unreal from start to finish. This one immediately throws you into the weeds. The characters’ frustrations and anxieties are palpable — especially Sydney, the sous chef who studies under Berzatto; you can feel the tension in her throat. The episode felt quick and intense, with every “Yes, chef!”, “Corner!”, “86 that!” sending the characters into a deeper spiral. That’s what a kitchen feels like. 

Each member of the kitchen staff is distinct and fully fleshed out. The token softie, Marcus, provides viewers with hope as he pursues his dreams as a pastry chef. Sydney is one of the show’s driving forces. The push and pull of their relationship are central to the plot. The chemistry between characters is authentic, and every staff member truly feels like a found family.

The final episode closes out to Radiohead’s “Let Down,” and the viewer wonders about the future of the restaurant. Luckily, the show has been renewed for a second season, and our burning questions can be answered. This 10-episode season is expected to air in June, and fans everywhere are counting down the days. Catch the teaser on FX’s YouTube, Twitter or Instagram