Saturday, July 20, 2024

“The Bear” Scores 5.4 Mil Views in First 4 Days, Hulu Says — But It’s a Drama, Not a Comedy


Disney and Hulu say “The Bear” Season 3 scored 5.4 million views in its first four days of release.

There’s no way to translate this statement to English. Hulu doesn’t reveal actual numbers, there’s no Nielsen to track it. And what does 5.4 million views mean? Ten minutes of watching the show?

I’ve watched six of the ten episodes of the new season. There are times when “The Bear” is so dazzling, it jumps onto every best TV list. There are other times when it feels like some filler is going on, covered by pastry.

“The Bear” is not a comedy, it’s a drama. For awards shows purposes, the drama somehow got listed as something humorous. It has some light moments, but this show is not a comedy. If it were, then “Hill Street Blues” and “Succession” could be put in that category.

This season is using a lot of time gimmicks to tell its story. We get backstory, we flash around, it’s like “Lost” in a kitchen. After all, a fourth season was filmed simultaneously. The series will probably run five seasons. The plot is thin, so it has to be spread out like remoulade sauce. This is a show about characters, and the exploration of them.

Episode 6 concerns line cook Tina, played so beautifully by Liza Colon-Zayas. She’s been amazing right along, but now we get a back story of how she arrived at The Beef, met Michael (Jon Bernthal) who eventually killed himself, and the rest of the crowd.

Colon-Zayas should get an Emmy Award for this episode and she may, but “The Bear” is a full season behind the Emmys. Meaning, this September’s Emmys is for last season, not this one. So she’ll have to wait until September 2025. She gives a masterclass in empathy as Tina loses her office job — which she’s had for 15 years — and after many rejections meets Michael by accident. Her exchange with Bernthal is one for the ages. He’s just as good.

I’m trying to savor “The Bear,” so I’m watching it two episodes at a time. There’s a lot less plot this time around, but more to chew on, so to speak!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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