The Bear is Not a Comedy

The Emmys came and went last night with me forgetting they were even on. (That’s not a slam on the Emmys. I would have liked to have watched. I just forgot.) While it sounds like there were some interesting segments, the winners themselves were nothing if not boring in my opinion. Almost everything came down to Succession, The Bear, and Beef. (For the record, I watched the first season of Succession and the first episode of Beef, and in both cases I stopped watching mainly because it was a story about horrible people being horrible to other people. I don’t really derive any sort of pleasure from that, so I gave up. (And yes, I realize Beef ends up being a bit more nuanced than that, but . . . not nuanced enough for me to want to watch it.)

I understand that all three shows are well done and well acted. But when just three shows end up sucking all the oxygen out of the room, I can’t help but think the winning came down to a better PR campaign than to real acting, at least. This is even more egregious when The Bear ends up winning as Best Comedy, and then the entire Bear cast tries to gaslight us all into believing the show really is a comedy because it’s “about life” and “We’re all just trying to reflect the mess of being human, which is deeply hilarious and we’re all suffering.”

Look. The Bear is a fantastic show. (I finished season 2 last week and loved it, though the ending of the season left a real bitter taste in my mouth.) But there is no way under the sun that it’s a comedy, and the fact that the Emmys and the Golden Globes have such awful definitions of “comedy” and “drama” that allows the Bear to run as a comedy is way funnier than anything in the Bear has ever been. Let’s go back and see what won Best Comedy for the last while.

Ted Lasso, Ted Lasso, Schitt’s Creek, Fleabag, Mrs. Maisel, Veep, Veep, Veep, and then Modern Family five times.

All of those shows are comedies. Yes, there are dramatic moment in Ted Lasso, but that doesn’t mean it should have ever run as a drama, not a comedy. When you go look at the actual rules of the Emmys, they state “COMEDY AND DRAMA SERIES are defined as programs with multiple episodes (minimum of six), where the majority of the running time of at least six episodes are primarily comedic for comedy series entries, or primarily dramatic for dramatic series entries.”

I don’t know who the producers conned into believing the majority of 6 episodes of The Bear was focused on being primarily comedic, but I do know that if I find out, I will never listen to a recommendation they make for a funny show or movie.

Why does this matter? A few reasons. First, it would have been much more intriguing to have the actors of Succession and The Bear pitted against each other. If both shows are just that incredible, let them fight it out on even terms. But beyond that, how in the world are you supposed to compare The Bear to other fantastic comedies? Arrested Development? 30 Rock? Ted Lasso? It just doesn’t work. So if there are going to be genres, then let the genres actually do their own thing.

(And yes, maybe I’m this ticked off about it because I’m a librarian, and we like to classify things, but come on! Everyone should be able to see this for what it is: a gimmick the producers of The Bear pulled to make it have an easier route to awards. It’s like Kramer fighting fifth graders in the dojo (except it isn’t, because that was funny.)

Oh well. Rant over. Still a great show. Just not a comedy. I guess I could have just left it at that . . .

2 thoughts on “The Bear is Not a Comedy”

  1. Agreed, I would think that a comedy award would go to a show that gives the most laughs? Yes I laughed at some points, hell there were even laughs in Succession (probably just as many) but I laughed a lot more through Ted Lasso and Beef than The Bear.

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