The Bear 2010 1458r 6498c20939921

Trauma, vulnerability and anger as an aphrodisiac

mario banzonLast Seen: Mar 27, 2024 @ 1:31am 1MarUTC
mario banzon

15th March 2024 | 3 Views
Milyin » 576314 » Trauma, vulnerability and anger as an aphrodisiac

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For a series that revolves within the culinary world, the relationships that surround The Bear’s kitchen is definitely as acrid as a day-old fish. I’ll spare you the details of the myriad issues that Carmen (a terribly fit and sumptuously handsome Jeremy Allen White) has to manage because he has plenty: A hostile staff, a missing knife, and a crumbling business. But most notably Carmen is dealing with the recent death of his beloved brother Mike.

The praises for the first and second seasons of the Bear are deserving. In fact, I couldn’t start season 2 for weeks because I was so in love with the characters that I no longer want to watch them arguing with each other. The dread that I was feeling was not unlike that dinner scene on Season 2 where Jamie Lee Curtis was manic as hell.

But what I want to focus on (and something that I rarely read about in reviews) is how The Bear is essentially about fragile masculinity, which in heavy doses could turn toxic.
Curiously, Carmen’s monologue during one of the al-anon sessions became viral on the internet but not for the right reasons.

“He (Mike) stopped letting me into the restaurant a couple years ago,” Carmen says. “He just cut me off cold. And that, um… that hurt, you know. And I think that just, that flipped a switch in me where I was like, “Okay, fսck you, watch this.”

It was a good monologue but by the time it became a viral soundbyte the context was entirely lost. The monologue was used as an example of how to turn one’s emotional hurt as a drive to do better without ever examining where that specific hurt is coming from. Ironically, that kind of mindset was what led Carmen to the al-nons in the first place.

Unable to comprehend his brother, Carmen turned inward and consciously disengaged with the situation. In fact, it is imbedded in his monologue the catalysis — the inciting incident, as it were, of the entire first season. Carmen’s mistake pushed the narrative forward. Because unbeknownst to Carmen, Mike was having a problem of his own and was trying to handle it by himself. And yet here is Carmen trying to outdo Mike by being the best chef in the Tri-state area. Obviously, there is a disconnect. And episodes upon episodes we see Carmen and the men around him struggle with their emotions and vulnerability. They all have the need to put a front that say “hey, I’m gangster as hell.” And thus, tragedy happened.

One of the things that I love about The Bear is how they handled trauma. The Berzatto family was clearly an unstable one. One wrong aside, everything explodes. The family, despite putting up appearances, keep tip-toeing on everyone and when that fork got flung on Season 2, my heart skipped a beat. What you get from The Bear is not actually familial love but shared anger and trauma. (Which, arguably why I was so turned on by Carmi but that’s another story).

In the end, Mike was right. You just have to let it rip. But as someone who is also struggling with anger issues and deep resentments, what’s the next step when the bear is actually out of the cage and devouring your sanity? And how do you know when it’s the right time to let the bear (who I’m hoping is not on cocaine) out? I guess, this is a better topic for my psychiatrist. One thing is sure though, the Bear is one of the best series I’ve seen in quite a while.


mario banzonLast Seen: Mar 27, 2024 @ 1:31am 1MarUTC

mario banzon




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