Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

Attention fans of Peak TV: The Bear is back. The reigning champion for the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy has returned for season 3 for more ennui and dark humor with Carmy Berzatto, the show’s prestige chef who returns to Chicago to run the wildly stressful kitchen at his late brother’s sandwich shop.

Since its pilot episode, The Bear has been showered in accolades from critics, who called it an extraordinary show that has an ear for true-to-life dialogue, irresistible characters whose pain and stress (and there’s a lot of stress here) seem to be deeply empathized with by the show’s writers. The Bear went on to sweep the 2023 Emmys and now has the status of must-watch TV for all as it enters season 3.

But can such a widely beloved show sustain the accolades of all TV critics for a third season? The answer is a resounding … almost. The season has “Universal Acclaim” status on Metacritic with a score of 81 out of 100 (though compare that to Season 1’s grade of 88 and 2’s high-water mark of 92 and it looks like the honeymoon might be over for The Bear + Critics). Or we can look instead at the stellar 94% ranking among critics for The Bear season 3 on Rotten Tomatoes aggregator.  

The Arizona Republic’Bill Goodykoontz had high praise for The Bear’s third go-around, writing that “the show is just as great as it was last season, and that’s just it — as great, no greater. Which is still, all things considered, as good or better than anything else on TV.”

Decider’s Nicole Gallucci believes that the show is one for the ages, as proven by season 3, writing, “The Bear‘s brilliant blend of overstimulating mayhem, precision, and catharsis is a special place unto itself. Season 3 grills, sears, then professionally plates your heartstrings, right before cruelly tossing them in the trash, and no matter what becomes of Carmy’s rising Chicago hot spot in the future, the show will leave an enduring legacy on television.”

Right here at The Hollywood Reporter, our TV critic Daniel Feinberg sees a comparison between these characters and those in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This makes for wonderful TV, he writes: “On an episode-by-episode basis, the third season of The Bear is as good as anything the show has ever done. Possibly better? …. Indecision can be exciting and I found the risks The Bear takes in these 10 episodes to be thrilling. But if you’re hoping to see things progress at an adrenalized rate, this is a season in limbo that reflects its main characters and their respective holding patterns.”

While they still gave kudos, some critics felt the newest season lost some of the magic of the prior two. Empire critic John Nugent writes, “There’s nothing here that quite matches the extraordinary heights of last season’s ‘Fishes’ or ‘Forks’. But when it really sizzles, The Bear is still the best table in town.”

Vulture’s Kathryn VanArendonk seems to agree with this, writing “Despite its season-three missteps, though, The Bear is still one of the most interesting shows on TV. For every bit of preening self-congratulation, there’s another moment that can knock you sideways.”

But it turns out, Universal Acclaim status on Metacritic can come with some less-than-ecstatic reviews, and this season of The Bear has a few critics calling it nearly self parody (yikes).

Alan Sepinwell of Rolling Stone writes, “At its best, The Bear remains innovative, excellent, and so vividly rendered that it can feel delicious to watch. But the season also feels confusing, overdone, and inconsistent at some points.”

Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson might have detested the season, writing that “The Bear is loaded with generic conversations about Big Things and plaintive needle drops to the point of self-parody. Only toward the very end of a ten-episode season do we see some true processing of Carmy’s tortured professional psyche—it’s appreciated, but arrives too late.”

Critics are a fun read at times, but the best way to find out is to exercise those critical thinking skills — everyone’s a critic, as you know — and find out how much you like The Bear season 3 for yourself. It airs on Fox on Wednesdays at 9 pm ET.

#Critics #Bear #Season,
#Critics #Bear #Season

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