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Why Is Everyone Criticizing ‘The Bear’?
Photo Illustration by Erin O’Flynn/The Daily Beast/Getty Images

If there’s one thing pop culture fans relish more than the return of a beloved TV series, it’s the chance to critique the show once it’s back.

This has become a predictable pattern with some of the most popular recent television series. A show reaches a level of success and suddenly faces a wave of backlash. Season 3 of The Bear seems to be the latest to follow this trend.

Having won nearly every television award for its first two seasons, The Bear has been almost universally adored. Friends and acquaintances couldn’t stop gushing about it, eyes wide with enthusiasm, asking, “Have you seen The Bear? It’s so good!”

Yet now, the tide appears to be turning against the show. Reviews for Season 3 have been more mixed compared to the previous two seasons. Social media is buzzing with not-so-stellar reactions to the new episodes. Some viewers feel emboldened enough to admit they never really liked the show in the first place, perhaps because the growing distaste for it makes them feel safer to express their opinions.

Vanity Fair‘s review claimed that, “In all its shifts in style and focus, the Emmy-winning juggernaut doesn’t seem to be building to much of anything.” Variety described the series as “aimless,” stating that the narrative gets “bogged down with repetition and stunt casting before the season ends with most storylines unresolved.” On the other hand, New York argued that the show is “trapped by its own success,” focusing too much on past glories instead of looking forward.

Despite these criticisms, The Bear remains a top-tier series with exceptional writing, audacious storytelling, and riveting performances. Even with its flaws more exposed due to its wild success, the show is still capable of excellence.

My colleague Nick Schager wrote, “In case anyone doubted that The Bear was TV’s most artistically daring and electric series, the third season of Chris Storer’s acclaimed FX on Hulu hit, premiering June 26, comes out of the gate with an absolute knockout.”

After watching all 10 episodes of Season 3, I see both sides. This season offered more of what fans celebrated in past seasons: chaotic and stress-inducing episodes, moments of quiet poignance, and a deep dive into the inner lives of supporting characters.

When familiar elements are presented for the third time, it’s a natural reaction to sigh, “This again?” The constant screaming in the kitchen can be exhausting, the standalone episodes predictable, and the numerous montages can feel like overkill.

However, the brilliance of the show is undeniable. For instance, the episode where Abby Elliott and Jamie Lee Curtis’ characters mend their complicated relationship while Elliott’s Sugar gives birth is one of the best TV episodes of the year. The emotional weight was so intense that I didn’t realize I was crying until the episode ended.

The main takeaway is to view the rise in criticism of The Bear with a grain of salt. While detractors might have valid points, the show’s strengths remain strong enough to maintain its high status.

Source: Vanity Fair, Variety, New York