'Beef' on Netflix Is Semi-Inspired by Actual Events — Here's What You Should Know

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Apr. 6 2023, Published 6:21 p.m. ET

Ali Wong in 'Beef' with blond hair sitting in a car
Source: Netflix

If you're a regular driver, then chances are that you've gotten a case of road rage in the past. Whether someone cut you off, you nearly bump into another driver, or you simply take umbrage with someone else's bumper stickers enough to honk them into next week, our anger behind the wheel is most certainly unique among our regular emotions. Now imagine if your road rage becomes so bombastic and all-consuming, that begins to seep into the rest of your life.

Then, you have Beef on Netflix.

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The new series from A24 began streaming on Netflix on April 6. It stars Steven Yeun and Ali Wong. Upon its release, the show received critical acclaim with a 100 percent critic approval rating and audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. The critics' consensus reads: "Ali Wong and Steven Yeun are a diabolically watchable pair of adversaries in Beef, a prime-cut comedy that finds the pathos in pettiness."

As wild as the story gets, is Beef based on a true story?

Steven Yeun in 'Beef'
Source: Netflix
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Is 'Beef' based on a true story? Kinda, sorta.

Beef follows downtrodden contractor Danny Cho (Yeun) and small business owner Amy Lau Nakai (Wong). As the two of them trudge their way through their personal issues and individual stressors, their lives almost literally collide with each other after the two of them happen to get caught up in an incident of road rage. Soon after, their chance encounter escalates to absurd heights as Danny and Amy seek to destroy the other person and ruin their livelihoods.

While road rage is a very relatable scenario for most people, Danny and Amy end up taking it farther than most of us ever would. It's frightening to think that anyone could reach that level of pettiness in real life, but believe it or not, Beef is partially inspired by true events.

In an interview with Today, showrunner Lee Sung Jin revealed that he came up with the concept of the show following his own experience with road rage.

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He tells the outlet that he had the typical altercation of another driver "honking, cursing at me, and then [driving] off." However, things took a slight turn (no pun intended) when Lee decided to follow the other driver.

Lee told Today that he was initially going to write it off as him casually driving home and if they veered off in different directions at any point, he would simply stop following him. However, they didn't separate for a while on the road.

"...we happened to be going in the same direction home for like, miles and miles," Lee told Today. "It was like 30 to 40 minutes. So I'm sure in his mind, it felt like I was a wild lunatic stalking him."

This interaction inspired him to expand on the concept in Beef. While we should be thankful that not many people would let their road rage take over their lives, their heightened emotions behind the wheel are all too relatable nonetheless.

Season 1 of Beef is streaming on Netflix

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