On July 12, 2023, the nominations for the 2023 Emmys were announced, and The Bear was one of the day's big winners. It received nominations across a bunch of categories for its first season, even though its second season has already debuted on Hulu. Although fans of The Bear were excited for its success, many were also confused about how the show wound up in the comedy categories at the awards show.
While The Bear certainly has comedic elements, the show is rooted in a fundamentally tragic experience, and its primary goal is definitely not to make its viewers laugh. Fans are confused. Why is The Bear considered a comedy? Here's what we know.
Why is 'The Bear' a comedy?
The fuzzy distinction between comedy and drama has never been less clear, and many people who love The Bear would likely say that the show is pretty firmly not a comedy. Even so, it has been nominated in the comedy categories because the studio decided to submit it for consideration there. In the end, the categorization likely has more to do with campaign tactics than anything else. Since the show is a half-hour, it slots more easily into the comedy category.
Those who are behind the awards campaign for The Bear may have thought that the show was funny enough to justify inclusion in that category and that its chances of performing well at the Emmys would be better if it wasn't competing against drama series. Fans of the show may disagree with that decision, but voters seem to have bought it to such an extent that the show received a slate of across-the-board nominations.
'The Bear' could reclassify for future seasons.
Another confusing element of The Bear's Emmy success is that these nominations were for the show's first season, which was admittedly more comedic than the show's return for its second season. If the show's second season also picks up a raft of nominations, it could be reclassified as a drama even though it competed as a comedy during its first season.
The White Lotus, one of the most nominated shows of this year's Emmy, last competed at the ceremony as a limited series. After returning for a second season, though, it returned as a drama and earned even more of its cast nominations than it had during its first outing. Orange Is the New Black is another series that toggled between comedy and drama over the course of its Emmy run, as voters seemed totally unsure of where to place it.
Will 'The Bear' actually win any of these Emmys?
Only time will tell whether The Bear actually picks up any of the prizes its been nominated for, but it seems to be in a strong position in several categories, including the top prize. As great as The Bear is, perhaps the funniest thing about it would be if it picked up an award as the best comedy series of the year, even though many of its fans think that designation is absurd.