Even if there were too many cooks in the kitchen, we'd surely welcome the dreamy Jeremy Allen White (Shameless) into our kitchen. From executive producers Joanna Calo, Hiro Murai, Nate Matteson, and Christopher Storer — the latter of whom is also the series' creator — FX on Hulu's The Bear is a heartfelt drama "about food, family, the insanity of the grind, the beauty of Sense of Urgency, and the steep slippery downsides," as detailed in the official synopsis.
The story follows Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White), a chef who comes from the hoity-toity world of upscale dining. When he comes home to Chicago to operate a tiny sandwich shop called The Original Beef of Chicagoland — aka his family's restaurant — he's faced with more than the struggles of running a small business. See, Carmy and his family are still processing the tragic suicide of his brother, all while Carmy attempts to "change the chemistry" of the restaurant for the better.
"As Carmy fights to transform both The Original Beef of Chicagoland and himself, he works alongside a rough-around-the-edges kitchen crew that ultimately reveal themselves as his chosen family," the synopsis continues. Though The Bear was just released on June 23, 2022, it currently has a perfect Rotten Tomatoes score of 100 percent with 17 reviews.
Critics are over the moon for FX on Hulu's 'The Bear.' *Chef's kiss*
The consensus seems to be that The Bear is *seasoned* with deep, heavy, relatable, and unfeigned moments. Should we stop with the culinary jokes now?
"From the performances to the directing, to the steady pacing of the episodes, there’s a thoughtfulness to The Bear that keeps it from sinking into the pit of self-pity that keeps tempting everyone who walks through the kitchen door," wrote Caroline Framke of Variety. Not only that, but she praised Jeremy Allen White's performance specifically.
"And with White practically vibrating at its center, imbuing Carmy with such pained restlessness that it’s often hard to look at him straight-on, what could easily tilt into cliché instead becomes a character study of people on the brink of triumph or ruin — whichever comes first."
This isn't super surprising, as Jeremy's decade-long performance as rebellious genius Phillip "Lip" Gallagher in Showtime's beloved dramedy series Shameless was stunningly nuanced and unsettlingly real at times.
Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe also gave The Bear a positive review, but he pointed out its "tonal flaws," specifically related to "when the script pushes us too hard to view Carmy’s mission as heroic."
He also touched on how he wishes Carmy's sister, Sugar (Abby Elliott), got more screen time, though this didn't sour the show's overall taste for him.
"The first season fails to fully integrate Elliott into the story line, which is a shame; her scenes with White are charged, as they cope with the aftermath of suicide. But the show is so filled with good work that hardly matters in the long run.
All in all, critics can't say enough good things about The Bear.
As put beautifully by Vulture's Jen Chaney, "These eight episodes may leave you breathless and a little dizzy. But when it’s over, prepare to say, 'Thank you, chef.'"
All eight episodes of The Bear are currently streaming on Hulu.