Features and Columns · TV

How ‘The Bear’ Compounds Conflict Without Feeling Confusing

You know what they say: if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.
The Bear Carmy
By  · Published on August 10th, 2022

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that looks at what makes the culinary drama ‘The Bear’ so captivating to watch.

Unless you live under a rock, the TV-watcher in your life has probably told you that you should check out The Bear. The eight-episode FX show, which currently sports a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes, follows Carmy (Jeremy Allen White), a celebrated fine-dining chef who takes over his brother’s failing Chicago sandwich shop to both process the death of his sibling and save the business from total failure. From Michelin star restaurants to a stubborn small business, Carmy is being torn apart at all sides.

And as Genevive Yam testifies for culinary publication Bon Appétit, the show does an unprecedented job capturing the uniquely stressful environment of fine dining culture. (So much so that the series proved triggering for some real-life chefs). Indeed, even if you haven’t worked in food service, the show is palpably tense, with mounting problems that seem to interlock like a cursed Jenga tower that threatens to topple over at any moment.

The following video essay digs into the mechanics of why The Bear is so intense and how it manages to pull off that controlled chaos without making its audience feel confused. It’s not just sensory overload. And the secret ingredient may be crafting conflict around characters we genuinely care about.

Watch “Why The Bear Hits So Hard”:

Who made this?

This video essay on the appeal of The Bear is by Virginia-based filmmaker and video editor Thomas Flight. He runs a YouTube channel under the same name. You can follow Thomas Flight and check out his back catalog of video essays on YouTube here. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).