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Netflix’s ‘Beef’ tells us to end conflict with our enemies

Graphic by Sarah Irwin

Road rage is given a new meaning in Netflix’s new original series “Beef.” The show, released on April 6, follows Amy Lao (Ali Wong) and Danny Cho (Steven Yeun) as they become enemies after an encounter on the road.

This series highlights the extremities of anger as Amy and Danny plot to make each other’s lives miserable based on a single negative experience. Every choice they make leaves the viewer wondering how far the two characters might go.

The moral ambiguity in “Beef” is something that isn’t demonstrated much in TV shows nowadays. Throughout the story, they each make bad decisions and it becomes hard to place the blame on just one of the characters.

Both Danny and Amy struggle to remain positive and make good choices due to their negative environments, and this is applicable to the real world. Even though their poor decisions are extreme, they still represent the types of choices people often make in response to anger.

Another admirable thing about this series is its valuable messages. Not only does it explore anger, but it also considers depression, emotional maturity and self-care.

Although Danny and Amy hate each other, they end up sharing more similarities than differences. Both characters struggle with all three of the aforementioned elements, and it’s comical that they don’t realize it.

Amy is a wealthy mother who is in a seemingly happy marriage with a stable career, but she’s still unsatisfied with her life. She is the main provider for her family and isn’t able to take time for herself while struggling with depression and anger despite her zen-like reputation. 

Danny is not financially stable and he doesn’t have a successful career, but he still doesn’t have time for himself because he’s constantly trying to support his family. Similar to Amy, he is battling anger and depression and is forced to suppress his emotions.

The dual perspective brilliantly highlights how Amy and Danny are reflections of each other. Although “Beef” explores this in a dramatic way, it still made me wonder if I’ve ever met anyone that mirrors me before.

The majority of the 10 episodes are lighthearted and full of jokes, and both Yeun and Wong do an excellent job of portraying their characters. They have incredible chemistry and their hatred for one another is completely believable.

Toward the end of the series, things got a bit darker. While I love how funny the show was in the beginning, I also like how it was able to balance the humor with serious moments.

A downside was the small time jumps which made the storyline occasionally confusing. However, the show does make up for it by elaborating later in the episodes. 

The ending of the show was phenomenal and it left my heart aching for another season of this miniseries. I adored every second of “Beef” and I think it’s definitely worth a watch, and in my case, a rewatch.

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