The Bear season 3 FX hulu

‘The Bear’ Season 3 is Like a Situationship

One of the things I’ve learned about TV over the years is the same thing I’ve learned about relationships…a lot of times, we expect too much. And by too much, I mean the bare minimum (or in this case, THE BEAR MINIMUM LOL I’ll see myself out).

The entire third season of The Bear felt like a situationship. I know it’s a weird comparison to make but hear me out. Nothing moved forward, yet it simultaneously pulled me in to make me feel more emotionally invested.

The episodes dove deeper into each of the characters (at least the main ones), but you’re still missing…something. You’re constantly waiting for something to break…and the only thing that does is the occasional plate. *rimshot*

The first episode lays the groundwork for this beautifully shot, yet mildly frustrating framework. Barely any dialogue, ambiguous shifts in time, all thread together with the kind of gorgeous plating you see only on Chef’s Table and in fine dining establishments.

From the side of me that is a food blogger and food photographer, this episode made me think of cooking and plating at its core. If you’re somewhat into food, I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “food tells a story.” The blank plate serves as a blank canvas, and the chef uses food to “paint” or tell their story. It’s not meant to be taken literally, but the artistic interpretation of what goes into the plating of a dish can be very obvious or very abstract. It’s also cathartic to watch, at least it always has been for me, so unlike the first two seasons of The Bear, it was very pleasing to my senses.

Was I “complaining” during this episode? No, I wasn’t. But I was…confused. Maybe a little bored. Again, see: situationship.

I kept waiting for something to happen. Mainly for someone to start screaming, then another one to chime in, adding their own unique layer of intensity. If history has taught us anything here, this would go on for a full minute and a half, finally culminating in one ulcer-inducing stack of self-loathing and conflict pancakes. YUM! As I mentioned previously, that intense drama is kinda what The Bear is known for?

In a way it was a nice change of pace, to watch an episode and not reach for my Xanax, but I still wanted more. Much like the situationship…you start craving some drama, if only to cause strife because at least then you’ll fucking feel something.

I left that episode going “what the fuck just happened?” and I know I have left many dates and apartments asking myself the same question. Yet, I went right back for more and watched the next 3 episodes in one night, finally binging the entire season in 2 days. In my case, boredom begets masochism, apparently.

There were episodes I could have done without entirely, and then some I really enjoyed. But the last episode also left me feeling frustrated – not to mention Olivia Colman carried that entire episode on her damn back. It felt a little like a chef circle jerk. Sorry, to all of the chef-friends I have, but a lot of you agreed with me so this feels like a safe space…

Look, I get it. As someone who works closely with restaurants and knows a lot of chefs and restaurateurs, these people work fucking HARD. The hours are brutal, the conditions are less than ideal, and more often than not, people treat you like shit. So did they deserve some extra recognition this season? Absolutely. Did it need to be the LAST episode, leaving only a few minutes at the end for the actual story (which was another cliffhanger)? I don’t think so, but that’s just my opinion.

Perhaps I am a bit jaded because I’ve had personal interactions with a lot of those chefs on the show. I’m sure none of them remember me, but I remember them (and it was an honor), but my point is, that curtain was lifted for me a long time ago. I’ve heard them speak on panels, at events, and at dinners (humblebrag, I know, let me live).

A lot of people don’t get that sneak peek, so maybe for the foodies of the world who don’t work in hospitality or hospitality-adjacent like I do, it’s super exciting to see. And I don’t say that to be condescending, I genuinely mean that. Perception is everything. It was a good episode for what it was, but it wasn’t the ending I wanted, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

I was annoyed that the Claire story didn’t move forward. I was annoyed that Sydney didn’t make a GD decision.

And then it hit me: that was the whole point of the third season. Sometimes shit just doesn’t move forward.

Everyone goes through ups and downs, but even more people deal with the feeling of being “stuck.” I know I deal with that all too often, especially as a single woman who just turned 40 and has a career that changes every few months based on how restaurants are doing that quarter. Coming back to the situationship comparison again because many of us get “stuck” in those too. Why? Because they’re convenient and don’t cause a lot of headaches. It’s easy to just sit in a lazy river. But it’s hard to swim upstream. And there’s no fish in a lazy river. But there’s beautiful salmon upstream. This metaphor has gone completely off the rails but you get my point. Low risk = low reward. The Bear in this third season really hammered that home, I think.

Carmy could have just fucking called Claire, but he didn’t. Because if he did, he’d put himself at risk for a myriad of reasons, the main one being heartbreak. I’d argue his heart was already broken, but like many people, he’s too scared to admit it or fix it, so he stays stuck. He’s physically moving forward but we all know for damn sure that mentally, he’s still stuck in that walk-in.

Sidenote: if Hollywood could stop reinforcing the “man who is afraid of his feelings and runs away from a good woman” narrative, maybe less men will actually be this way. Just a thought. But I digress.

Honestly, I really enjoyed Tina’s episode. I thought her monologue about not needing to be extraordinary was very powerful. Especially in a world where we are constantly comparing ourselves to others and striving for excellence…sometimes it’s nice to hear that you just want to make money to support your damn lifestyle and your family. If I hear one more Instagram life coach talk about the “legacy they want to leave behind” I’m going to scream into the weighted blanket they told me to buy.

40 has been a pretty good year for me so far (famous last words) and I TRULY think it’s because I’ve finally slowed down a bit. I’m not constantly pumping my brain with “knowledge” and self help books and listening to Ted Talks. I relax a lot more. I do things for pure enjoyment a lot more. And while I’m working hard, I’m not burning myself out (well, not completely anyway). So I truly felt Tina’s message was an important one for anyone out there who feels like they’re not doing enough. You are. You probably just don’t THINK you are because the person next to you is doing more. There’s a difference between being still and being stuck.

It’s ok to be content with being still. And it’s ok to be upset with being stuck. But in my opinion, it’s not ok to be stuck for 10 damn episodes. I know life imitates art and vice versa but at the end of the day, it’s a TV show. Am I wrong for wanting to be entertained? An entire season about being stuck feels like a waste of time (and production money).

All that said…joke’s on us, because they definitely hooked a lot of us to tune back in for the next season, just to see what happens. So in their own twisted way, they managed to get us to move forward when they were literally just standing still. And for that I guess I have to say…

Yes, chef.

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