I’m far from Dave Portnoy’s biggest supporter. He’s one of the main reasons the number of talentless sports fans with podcast mics keep pace with Instagram models. He also started Barstool Sports blah, blah, blah. You could add up his contributions to the internet into a net plus/minus. I think he would hover somewhere right around zero. He’s still ok in my book, but only for his ability to use his voice for important social issues. For example, he just addressed how everyone and their grandma have thoroughly overrated The Bear for a year now.
I must defend myself before my friends start poking holes in my argument. Yes, I watched both seasons almost immediately after their release. I watch this show for the food porn. Had I not been watching this show, I’d have been looking at someone on Instagram prepare a delectable meal, and cover it in Hot Cheeto dust. The Bear is a decent show in my book. That is a direct result of the borderline sexual things they do with ingredients on that show.
Portnoy is absolutely right about this show. It is absolute Emmy bait, and fans gobble it right up. Jeremy Allen White is a great lead. But it feels like the creators just liked his character from Shameless a bit too much. The difference between this show and that show, is Shameless actually makes a point with their side characters. For the amount of time this show spends aimlessly following their side characters, they are all shockingly underdeveloped.
Take Tina for example. In the first season, her arch is that she calls the head chef, “Jeff.” This comedy is pretty high level, so don’t feel bad if it went over your head. The joke is that Jeff and chef rhyme. Her whole character is the “underpaid employee” cliché that is seen in nearly any blue-collar workplace comedy. In the second season, we see her practice her cooking skills, and reluctantly grow her confidence. Over the amount of time they spend showing you her progress, you think they’d find an arc for her better than, “She couldn’t cook. Now she can cook. Isn’t that swell?”
I did partially enjoy this show, for what it’s worth. The act of hating on something I kinda like makes me feel like my father screaming obscenities at Kyle Schwarber through a tv screen. I understand why The Bear is highly regarded. But if Dave Portnoy is going to be the brave soldier for everyone who has been forced to hear how good this show is for a year, I’ll gladly follow him into battle.
The Bear is a fun look into the lives of restaurants once a summer. It serves as a Ted Lasso with f-bombs and kitchen knives. It offers the same camaraderie that people have craved since that show ended. But let’s call a spade a spade. The Bear is Emmy-bait. But it’s simply not on the same level as the stuff that came before it this year. Bob Odenkirk deserves recognition, but if he gets it for playing Uncle Lee on The Bear, I’ll throw a fork at everyone who has a say in voting.
Decent show, not a great show. It pains me to say this, but Dave Portnoy is right.