“Beef” Show Review

Opinion posted April 18, 2023 in

Netflix released “Beef” on April 6, introducing viewers to the complex lives of Amy Lau and Danny Cho.

Created by Lee Sung Jin, the comedy-drama series stars Ali Wong, Steven Yeun, Young Mazino and Joseph Lee, to name a few.

Beginning with a car chase between the two, the series follows Amy, a workaholic mom, and Danny, a contractor trying to pay his parents' way to America, as each character continues to make questionable decisions in their personal lives.

Jin creates a raw representation of these characters, truly making them realistic and human. Amy and Danny are so human, the viewers conclude the show with a sort of resentment toward the two.

“Beef” is unique because of this transparency and the viewer’s knowledge that these are not characters to love or idolize but to resonate with instead.

The good and the bad come out very quickly throughout the series, developing characters completely. Viewers are not left without an understanding of why each character goes through with their actions.

While Amy struggles with the anxiety that comes with running a company, Danny finds ways to scrounge for money, leaving the two filled with anger they take out on each other during the season.

The car chase proves to be only the beginning of their relationship.

Not only are these main characters developed well, but the side characters also have revealing stories, too.

For instance, episode five, which is fittingly called “Such Inward Secret Creatures,” gives an inside look at the lives of characters like Amy’s mother-in-law. This episode built a foundation for those who were not always in the spotlight.

Some shows allow the side characters to fade into the background of the plot, so Jin’s writing technique certainly enhanced the quality of the series by providing more insight into their behaviors.

The thoroughly-written characters and plot were not the only aspects of “Beef” that shined. The series takes on the typical cinematic qualities of an A24 production, a greatly appreciated partnership in its creation.

Shots with dark lighting produce a mood representative of the characters' actions. If the viewer was not convinced of the intentions behind the series through the plot, the cinematography certainly reveals them.

Despite the intentional aspects of the plot and cinematography, one may wonder why the season is so drawn out. Viewers might feel like the storyline could have been completed in eight episodes with more action rather than ten.

The viewers do not even get a look into Amy’s background until Episode 8, “The Drama of Original Choice.” In this episode, there are scenes from Amy’s childhood that exhibit some examples of her true personality that could have been more helpful to see sooner.

In episode six, Danny and Paul having fun playing basketball make viewers long for more of them connecting as brothers in this way, rather than their typical bickering.

Nevertheless, “Beef” season one did not disappoint and viewers anticipate more to come if there is a season two, as the ending is worth getting through the whole season.

The ability of this series to portray real people making real mistakes is the reason why people will not want to skim past during their next look at Netflix’s selection.

Rating: 4.5/5

Cassie Baylis is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email ceb6085@psu.edu.