Starring: Steven Yeun, Ali Wong, Joseph Lee, Young Mazino, David Choe, Patti Yasutake, Ashley Park, and Maria Bello
Creator: Lee Sung Jin
While I don’t agree with all the “Netflix’s Best Show Ever!!” hype, Beef certainly is one of the streaming service’s better original offerings. Steven Yeun and Ali Wong have tremendous anti-chemistry when on screen together, but the series really shines when it dives into the struggles and failures of their individual characters. The dark comedic tones, tremendous character development, and cause-and-unintentional-effect plot points give the series a heavy Coen Brothers vibe, while the surreal finale has shades of Everything Everywhere All at Once. One lingering thought is that the series would have been more impactful (and much darker) had it ended with Episode Nine, though.
The fact that Steven Yeun made me utterly hate him is a testament to how wild Beef is. I was constantly stressed while watching this dark and dastardly clusterf*** of a show (I mean that in the best way possible). Yeun kills it as the depressed dude-bro Danny, and his douchebaggery is matched by Ali Wong’s maniacal Amy. It becomes a sport figuring out who you dislike more, yet, somehow, you still feel bad for both of them when their true emotions explode on screen. Thank God each episode is only 30 minutes long because my heart wouldn’t have survived much longer than that.
A24 has done it again! Beef is a premium, grass-fed dark comedy that takes us on an adventure of self-discovery and rage. Our two leads, Steven Yeun and Ali Wong, deliver stellar performances that allow us to dive into their characters’ psyche and imperfections, and while the show can feel overwhelming at times, it’s still worth the watch because it’s so different from anything else you’ve seen. It’s compelling, it boasts great writing, and it will definitely make you think twice before letting out some road rage.
The themes and ideals of Beef can best be summed up with the old adage “hurt people hurt people.” Despite the marketing and initial setup, Beef is far from an outlandish comedy. In fact, calling it a comedy at all is a stretch. Instead, it functions as more of a character study that dissects the issues brought on by generational trauma and a fear of loneliness. The characters are so rich and complex that the ridiculous heights the show reaches still manage to feel believable. Beef is the type of show that hooks you in and holds your attention from beginning to end.