The Bear: A Non-review, Spoiler-free, Life-lesson

At some point over the past year, everyone asked me if I was watching The Bear. They would continue after they realized that I was not watching it and say, “You would love this show.” It was how they said “you” that always made me instantly not want to watch the show. But, after 20 minutes of Becky and I trying to find a new show to watch, I reluctantly said that we should watch The Bear. I said, “Becky, you would love this show.” It worked on her.

Why Would We Love This Show?

Becky and I love dinner parties, entertaining people at our house, and hospitality. I am at my best when surrounded by people, enjoying good food and drink, and serving others. I also love cinematic things and philosophical trojan horses. I often discuss TV shows like they are Meditations.

Back to The Bear

I will not spoil the show for you. You should watch it. You, of all people, would love it. The Bear has a simple premise. I found the one-liner description of the show and imagined the ChatGPT prompt that was used to create it.

Write two seasons of an episodic "comedy" about a young chef from the fine dining world who returns to Chicago to run his family's sandwich shop featuring chaotic moments with bits of philosophy, and not be funny haha but funny.

As we watched the first season and then quickly into the second season, I kept imagining that the creators and writers of the show definitely have a point of view that they are delivering through the show. One character makes an amazing transformation throughout the series. I didn’t really see it coming, but wow, did it impact me.

The Hospitality Industry

This show made me rethink the hospitality industry. I know that this is a TV show and things are exaggerated, BUT SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO EXAGGERATE TO MAKE A POINT. We live in a noisy world where people watch seconds of video, read only a few words of a headline, and throw away their single-serve relationships in a non-compostable heap of packaging materials.

We have all experienced hospitality in various forms. It starts with little details, like a folded-up elephant on your motel’s bed or when you see your favorite server at a crappy dinner. Hospitality is most likely why you come back. Everything can be learned on YouTube these days, so crazy, over-the-top dishes are not that spectacular to me anymore. What you can’t learn on YouTube is how to genuinely care about someone else’s experience.

A Towel Elephant

The one character who makes a major transformation faces the idea of hospitality and why people in the service industry do what they do. In a discussion, the idea of a hospital and hospitality are rooted in the same idea. I was like, “What?” I never connected those thoughts together before. Turns our HOSPITAL is the related to HOSPITALity. Who would of thunk?

Both “hospital” and “hospitality” are derived from the Latin word “hospes”, which means “guest” or “stranger”. Over time, this root word evolved and branched off into multiple terms that denote care, shelter, or welcoming.

  • Hospital: From Latin “hospitālis”, which pertains to guests. Initially, hospitals were places that provided refuge for travelers or pilgrims. Only later did they become places primarily associated with the care and treatment of the sick.
  • Hospitality: From Old French “hospitalité”, which refers to the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.

The character who makes this discovery also faces why. If you really care about yourself, you can tell on the outside. This is what struck me so hard. There is a life lesson here, buried in crude language, jump cuts, and dark humor, a life lesson sits and waits to be put on your Etsy store. To care for others, you have to care for yourself. Roll tears, I mean, credits.

So, I do love the show. I am glad that I got to watch the two seasons all at once after two years of avoiding doing so. We truly are living in a golden-age of TV, with so many great shows to watch. I guess when we all cut the cords and switched to subscriptions, they decided to give us art. I hope that the strike settles and that it is a fair deal to those who are modern-day philosophers, exaggerating for impact and trying to change the world by changing one person in the audience. We are all consumers and need creators.

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