What a good show!
I knew after like three episodes that this was a good show (not pretending to be particularly iconoclastic with this take), and when I was rhapsodizing to other people about it the thing I kept on saying over and over again was “it’s just a good show.”
This perhaps speaks more to my anemia with television as it exists today: as something that has to be part of a larger zeitgeist or extended universe or renaissance or whatever. The Bear is very aggressively just four hours of really really well-done television. It portrays a unique world with vividness and specificity, with terrific direction and acting. It was a great time.
And then, in the last fifteen minutes or so you realize that the entire season is not just a complete story unto itself but a prelude to a different story. I can understand quibbles with that; I thought it was a bit hackneyed and deus ex machina but these characters had earned a bit of a victory. (And, in fairness, it was well-foreshadowed.) And I’m pretty dang excited for the second season. But also if there was no second season, if this was the (please excuse me for my single food pun in this writeup) sole course, I’d still be incredibly satisfied.
(One note is that the show absolutely ‘suffers’ from “everyone is good” syndrome, which depending on your worldview or what you want out of your art can be deleterious to your viewing experience. I hear that and I get that, but also I don’t care: I could see this being a problem down the line in much the same way it was for Parks and Recreation, where by the third or fourth season everyone has their edges rounded off and is the same Flanderized lovable scamp, but that doesn’t feel quite as dire of a problem for this writers’ room.)