- WARNING: Contains spoilers for the beef
The Netflix series Beef has been dubbed the best show of 2023 after earning a coveted 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The ten-episode dark comedy series was dropped last Thursday and tells the story of two strangers involved in a road rage incident and the aftermath.
Beef stars Steven Yeun as Danny Cho, a failing entrepreneur with a chip on his shoulder, who takes on Amy Lau (Ali Wong), someone living a very different and colorful life as a self-made entrepreneur.
Thousands of fans took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the drama, with many praising the show for being unlike any other they’ve seen. However, there are several moments that viewers may have missed during the first watch.
Now MailOnline is breaking down all the symbolism of the show.
While it’s quickly apparent why Beef is called Beef, the name didn’t come quickly to the showrunner.
Lee explained, “There are surprisingly few catchy words or idioms that sell the feud aspect of the show, and the few that exist have already been done.”
“If Netflix had seen the list of potential names, there might not be a show today. They were aggressively bad.
He revealed that he originally toyed with the idea of calling the show Eye for an Eye, but wanted to capture “the aesthetic appeal of a punchy title in a nutshell.”
Although George’s works may have appeared simply as shapeless blotches, the art department made the sculptures in-house, specifically designed to represent George’s emotional state.
Production designer Grace Yun revealed that “the amorphous drop shapes represent how George floats through life and doesn’t really limit himself.”
“He’s very fluid and welcoming to what’s going on around him.”
George’s art changes after the time jump, a decision that was carefully made considering his new mental state and while struggling to process his separation from Amy.
Grace explained that they wanted to show, “he’s a bit worn around the edges and like he’s grown and matured himself, we wanted him to try different types of glazing and bring in some colors that resembled the patina. of something that had been cooked under a lot of heat.
“These are much larger pieces to reflect him becoming a bigger feature inside the house, literally hanging inside the house. He is no longer confined to the basement.
Viewers praised the “beautiful” title sequence cards used in the episode and the long episode names.
Speaking to Netflix, Beef creator and showrunner Lee Sung Jin revealed how he referenced influential texts and films for the drama.
The first episode is called The Birds Don’t Sing, They Howl in Pain and comes from a quote from German director Werner Herzog’s documentary Burden of Dreams.
It’s a reference to Danny and Amy’s journey in the opening episode, initially looking like two ordinary people before the depth of their pain and trauma is revealed.
The second episode, The Rapture of Being Alive, is a quote from an American writer Joseph Campbell, his response when Bill Moyers asked him in a 1988 interview what he believed to be the meaning of life.
He was chosen for the second episode, because that’s when we say the protagonists become obsessed with seeking revenge and exploiting their primal urges.
Episode three, I Am Inhabited by a Scream, is a quote from Sylvia Plath’s poem Elm which features a woman as an elm tree with her experience of lost love.
This resonates with the third episode as it shows Amy and Danny convinced that their feelings of loss and emptiness will go away if they get the things they covet in life.
Episode 4, Just Not All at the Same Time, comes from Betty Friedan’s quote “You can have it all, but not all at the same time”, her response when asked if women could have it all in the life.
This is shown in the episode where Amy insists it’s possible during her Vegas Q&A, despite her personal life being in tatters.
Episode five is titled Such Inward Secret Creatures, part of a quote from Iris Murdoch’s novel, The Sea, the Sea.
In the quote it refers to people inflating the importance of things they value and in the episode it shows the character’s desperation to pander to his own ego.
Episode six, We Draw a Magic Circle, is based on Ingmar Bergman’s film Through a Glass Darkly, which depicts the construction of a a wall around what you want to believe in self-defense.
It shows in Amy’s firm belief that all the negativity in her life, from the road rage incident to her mother-in-law falling down the stairs during the flight, it’s not her fault.
Episode 7, I am a cage, comes from Franz Kafka’s Die Zürauer Aphorisms – a collection of aphorisms – with the full quote: “I am a cage, looking for a bird”.
The protagonists show their feelings of emptiness and uncertainty in the episode – with Amy saying she has a feeling in her chest that “feels like the ground”, while Danny searches for answers in church.
Episode eight, The Drama of Original Choice, wraps up the season with reference to Simone de Beauvoir book The Ethics of Ambiguity.
It takes a look at Danny and Amy’s life from birth to the present day, exploring the domino effect where the choices we make today are predestined by our past.
Episode nine, The Great Fabricator, comes from French philosopher Simone Weil’s quote that attachments are the largest manufacturer.
In the penultimate episode, things get complicated as attachments begin to unravel, with Isaac seeking revenge on Danny, Naomi choosing to save herself from Jordan in the panic room, and Danny and Paul cutting ties.
The final episode, Figures Of Light, is a play on Carl Jung’s quote: “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making darkness conscious.”
This is demonstrated in the finale as the characters finally begin to address their toxic behavior and traits rather than hiding and shifting blame.
Jordan’s home is designed to reflect his “quirky, unique and powerful” personality.
The aesthetic was designed to look like a private exhibition space for herself, with furnishings chosen to appear unattractive but exclusive.
The set designers also wanted to lean into the theme of private curation and cultural appropriation with the crown room.
They made sure the items were from Asia or South America due to the character’s need to make things their own.
Costume designer Helen Huang made sure Amy’s outfits were warm, neutral colors and shapeless clothing.
Ali explained that Helen told him, “I think it’s so interesting that Amy is wearing these clothes that are seemingly zen and neutral, but then she has these crazy thoughts.”
Revealing how this influenced his acting style, Ali continued, “My costume already kind of looked like a cage.
“And it wasn’t supposed to feel like this – Amy chose these clothes, but it’s like the person she wants to be and someone she’s not.”
The design of Amy and George’s home is deliberately cold and unwelcoming, with the wooden slats of the staircase made to look like a cage.
The set designer explained, “I spaced them out a bit more so that while they look very zen, they also make your house feel like a cage.”
Ali said, “I always had that feeling, once I dressed up and got on set, where I felt like I was in a cage. But no one but me could see it or feel it, you know?
“And it made me feel a bit alone. So I have to give credit to those people for really helping me get into character.
The set designers wanted to highlight the contrast between Danny and Amy through their very different aesthetics.
They explained, “It was one of the unique and fun challenges for the localization department, finding locations for Danny and for Amy that are very different.
“Amy’s world is very slick and clean and ambitious and Danny’s is much grittier.”
The team strived to “use the starkness and angles of this location to really show [Danny’s] character and where he’s from,” adding that they “wanted [it to] feeling trapped, but in a different way from Amy’s house, in a much more cluttered and enclosed way.
#hidden #senses #beef