Beef Season 1 Review – a wild yet profound ride you must stream to believe

By Marc Miller
Published: April 4, 2023 (Last updated: April 18, 2024)
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You won’t see a better new series all year. A perfect blend of dark comic thrills and revealing moments of mental health that are deeply felt. Beef is frenetic, hilarious, anxiety-ridden, and wholly original.

We review the Netflix series Beef Season 1, which does not contain spoilers.

Beef’s incredible freshman season is a series of simmering sadness that comes to the surface in hilarious and often unexpected ways. This manic dark comedy derives its humor from places of inherent pride and unforgiving regret. The experience of watching Netflix’s streaming sensation is as invigorating as it can be moving.

Beef is the best new show of 2023.

Beef Season 1 Review and Plot Summary

The story of Beef, like so many, starts with a road rage incident between two strangers. Both are on different ends of the spectrum.

While each feels a deep, empty void inside, they project it in different ways. One of them is Danny (Steven Yeun), a down-on-his-luck contractor who wears his emotions all over his sleeves.

After unsuccessfully returning some hibachi grills at his local Home Depot, Danny mentally snaps inside his car after another failed endeavor. He calms down and almost backs into a luxury white SUV speeding through the parking lot.

Amy (Ali Wong) is driving that Mercedes. She stops and honks her horn aggressively and continuously. As Amy drives away, she makes one more stop as Danny watches incredulously. Now a few feet away, she lowers her window.

You can guess what happens next, but I’ll tell you anyway. Amy sticks out her arm to raise her middle finger in his direction. Danny’s had enough, puts his car in drive, and chases her with his truck. A couple of thousand dollars worth of property damage later, Amy escapes, but not before Danny writes down her license plate number.

Beef is the creation of Lee Sung Jin (Undone, Girlboss), and I’m not sure you’ll see a better series all year. His show is frenetic, hilarious, anxiety-ridden, and wholly original, like a manic bowling ball in a china shop.

His main characters may act differently but embody dealing with an issue so minuscule that they deal with their feud in the most aggressive, clumsy manner possible. Each doubles down on threats that cannot possibly be topped, and each character’s brand of toxicity begins to drag down everyone around them.

The things that happened between them and the consequences of their actions are jaw-dropping.

READ: Best Netflix TV Shows of 2023

The script has layers of insightful moments of tumultuous mental health. In particular, a behavior called “toxic positivity,” where someone feels enormous pressure to bury negative feelings but with a voluntary mask of happiness.

Wong’s character displays this trait the most from the beginning of the series to the end. Amy can never live up to her annoyingly optimistic husband, George (Joseph Lee), whose own mindfulness and self-aware mindset are just as harmful.

While at the beginning of the series, Danny is a dumpster fire that keeps breaking boundaries, particularly with his brother Paul (Young Mazino), deep down he is a people pleaser, caring about others. Like by trying to please his parents endlessly. He graduates to Amy’s territory later.

For example, when his inauthentic positivity destroys a “Praise Team” leader, Edwin (Shortcomings’ Justin H. Min). In Danny’s case, he is masking manipulations with positivity.

In fact, Jin’s script outlines the cultural disconnect of the stigma of reaching out for mental health services. (A study concluded that first-generation children of Asian immigrants experience a higher rate of depression than the following generation).

Beef‘s superior finale is so thoughtful, and its “Freaky Friday” moment can be seen as an interpretation of role-playing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to understand people in conflict better.

This remarkable cast, with Yeun and Wong and a prominent Asian cast, is talented enough to be hilariously irreverent while also bringing a moving poignancy to their roles. Wong has never been better, and this is one of Yeun’s very best roles.

READ: TV Shows like Beef you must watch

However, the breakout star may be David Choe, who plays Danny’s cousin, Isaac. The real-life famous writer and artist (Google the fascinating story behind his stock on Facebook) is a breakout star in Beef.

His bullish, funny, tragic, and frightening turn, which may be the equivalent of a hysterical yet deranged rhino, is the human equivalent of controlled chaos.

Is Beef on Netflix good?

Beef is the best new show of 2023. A perfect blend of dark comic thrills and revealing moments that are deeply felt.

This is a wild yet profound ride you must stream to believe.

What did you think of Beef Season 1 on Netflix? Comment below.

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