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The Oracle

The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

Episode seven of The Bear brings twenty minutes of pure stress

Episode+seven+of+The+Bear+brings+twenty+minutes+of+pure+stress

The TV show The Bear first came out on Jun. 23, 2022 and has since released a second season and received six Emmy Awards in this year alone. The show follows Carmen Berzatto, a chef from the fine dining world who comes back home to run and improve his brother’s dumpy, family-owned restaurant after he passes away. 

Out of pure boredom during the 2024 freak ice storm, I decided to watch the show for the first time. I expected it to be interesting, but I was surprised at the quality of filming technique, acting and its ability to simply and effectively portray the stress of working in a restaurant. 

There was one episode in the first season that stood out to me from the rest in its ability to portray all the attributes I listed above. Episode seven, “The Review,” is a masterpiece of television that takes the viewer on a roller coaster ride of emotions. 

The episode starts off calm with a positive review of the restaurant being read aloud and its new online to-go order program being launched. However, the episode quickly begins to spiral into utter chaos. What sets this disorder off is that one of the chefs, Sydney—played by Ayo Edebiri—left the pre-order option on, meaning that hundreds of online to-go orders are piling in without an end in sight.

From there the episode masterfully emulates the feeling of tension and anxiety not only for the characters, but also for the viewers. People are running into each other, ingredients are running out, and tables are being kicked and bashed with full-force anger. As I was watching, I felt as if I was experiencing the tension and chaos myself.

One way the director did this was by shooting a chaotic scene all in one shot, carrying the watcher through the claustrophobic and loud kitchen environment. Usually scenes are many shots cut together, so this technique is unique and at times difficult to pull off. The camera is at times shaky and moving with a swift speed of anxiety, which effectively captures the intensity occurring within the restaurant. It makes the episode appear far more realistic than if there were lots of cuts and edits. 

On top of the chaotic one shot, there is a series of loud, obnoxious and downright irritating noises that you can hear throughout the episode. In the background you can hear a phone continuously ringing while everyone is too occupied and overwhelmed to bother to pick it up. You also hear the to-go machine making a buzzing noise every time a new order comes in—which was every second. These two maddening noises combined together makes both the characters and the viewers want to rip the ears from their head and never use them again.

To add another layer to these obnoxious noises, the song “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” by Wilco, plays throughout the entire episode. It features a repetitive pitchy, distorted guitar with tense spikes of reverb. Although this may be pleasant to listen to by itself, when mixed with all the other buzz, it becomes another tempo of stress that continues to give me more anxiety as I watch. 

The final layer is the incessant yelling and swearing that spews out of all of the frazzled characters. There are many lines thrown around like “Get out of my f*cking way,” and “Get the f*ck off my Expo chef, now!” as each character attempts to keep up with their ever-growing tasks. All of these elements combined create a disastrous molten chocolate cake, oozing with anxiety, tension and chaos.

The acting in this episode, arguably an important piece to any sort of TV show, does a masterful job at showing the rising tensions between the characters as the restaurant attempts to find its footing. Throughout this episode there is yelling, arguing, spite and fury. Each actor does an incredible job at showing the urgency and irritation occurring within the restaurant. 

We see tensions arise between the head chef, Carmen, who goes by Carmy, and the other chefs, like Sydney and Marcus, as Carmy tries to keep the restaurant afloat and running smoothly despite the orders flooding in. The strain within the kitchen makes for a keen contrast from the beginning of the episode, where everything was initially running smoothly. The actor who plays Carmy, Jeremey Allen White, exhibits anger, frustration and what almost comes off as deep hatred through his yelling at the other chefs. His acting is what ties the entire episode nicely into a bow because he perfectly emulates what it feels like to hold immense responsibility, all while the world crumbles around you. Allen White says his lines with urgency, anger and without a thought for what the other person may think. As I was watching, I sat still and silent, nearly a little scared myself.

There is one moment, where the chef Marcus, played by Lionel Boyce, is meant to be making the chocolate cakes needed for the orders, but is instead working on his own donut creation. He feels he has finally perfected the donut recipe, and goes to show it to Carmy with pride. Carmy, however, doesn’t praise Marcus, and instead slaps the donut out of his hand and says, “Why are you f*cking with me? Get the f*ck back to work! Move! Everybody f*cking idiots!” These rising tensions between the characters adds to the level of agitation occurring in the kitchen perfectly.

The entire time I was watching this episode I was on the edge of my seat, hardly breathing, as I could feel the anxiety, stress and frustration seeping out from the screen and into me. That is the beauty of this episode. It not only just portrays a stressful environment, but takes it one step further and puts the watcher into it as well. I feel this episode is not just a standout within the series, but a standout for all television shows. 

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About the Contributor
Olivia Oliver, Feature Editor
Olivia Oliver (she/her) is a senior who enjoys hanging out with her friends and spending time outside. She loves being a journalist because she can engage with her community and be creative.

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  • M

    Meron ParkmanFeb 20, 2024 at 1:25 pm

    So good!