Stranger Things 4 was predicted to be the summer show of the summer, but no one could have predicted FX's The Bear this season, which had just dropped all eight episodes of its comedy-dramas first season on Hulu on June 23. In the weeks since, this series about the restaurant industry has taken on a new meaning. There have been glowing reviews, interviews with real-life chefs, and thirst posts.
Every time The Bear loses a hit on streaming, it's worth a look back. Is this a genuine hit or a Twitter novelty? And if so, why? Due to the secrecy of streaming, we may never know these answers for sure.
Is The Bear FX and Hulus the Most Successful Collaboration?
The Bear is a major FX success story that has received 41 reviews from the Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, and the New York Times. The show's stars are Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri, and it was even featured in a recent Vanity Fair profile.
This isn't a creative proclamation on our part. This is a fact that came from Chairman of FX John Landgraf himself. During Decider's summer tour, Landgraf asked him if he could provide solid viewership figures for The Bear.
Landgraf stated that while he was unable to give precise statistics, he was able to put The Bears' success in perspective.
The Bear is the most watched half-hour program we have ever had, and, as I said, one of the most watched that Hulus had, according to Landgraf. Im hoping we will begin to be able to provide further information later because, as you know, FXs goal is to be as transparent, as direct, and as open as we possibly can.
The Bear is one of the most watched half-hour shows weve ever seen, and one of the most watched Hulus shows. On the huge viewership of Season 1 of Hulu, John Landgraf
Without any solid numbers, It's difficult to determine whether The Bear is truly the most-watched FX half-hour series to date. However, based on how The Bear performed against its streaming competitors, the series was undoubtably a success. Five of those shows were miniseries; one is still in renewal limbo (The Premise); and three are renewed for additional seasons (American Horror Stories, Reservation Dogs, and The Bear).
Because we do not know the actual numbers for these programs, let's look at Google Trends. A Teacher, American Horror Stories, and Reservation Dogs are all recognized by Google Trends as TV shows, while The Bear hasnt yet entered that echelon:
Although these statistics do contain some concerns about actual bears, it's difficult to contest them. At least when it comes to search, The Bear appears to be Hulus' biggest premiere to date by a large margin. But how does the series fare outside of Hulu's FX?
Christopher Storer's traumatic kitchen comedy isnt merely a successful FX program, it's a strong case for being one of the most popular shows of the summer.
The Bear saw a 114% increase in demand just days after its premiere on Hulu, according to Parrot Analytics. This includes consumer research, streaming, downloads, and other forms of engagement.
The Bear, which had premiered all of its episodes weeks earlier, remained on Whip Media's SVOD Ranker list, despite its popularity. Reelgood also backs up the theory that The Bear has found its audience. Stranger Things is still a fan favorite of the show's final season.
Then there are the tweets. If you search for The Bear on Twitter, the results will flood in. A video about how difficult it would be to order at the OriginalBeef of Chicagoland has over 6,000 likes. A photo collection from the aforementioned Vanity Fair profile has over 18,000 likes. A joke tweet about a man being excessively formal to his wife after seeing The Bear has close to 12,000 likes. Even post-Severance Ben Stiller tweeted about how Episode 7 knocked him
These arent typical numbers, not even for niche media industry hits. These are the kinds of numbers you would expect from shows like You, Stranger Things, or Big Sky, who are likely to be nationally successful. The Bear hasnt quite reached those peaks yet, but it appears to be firmly a hit in its own right.
So, Why Is The Bear a Hit?
The Bear's popularity in this overly crowded media landscape is an endless one. Why did it take off when so many other programs have slammed?
The Bear has an absolutely huge logistical advantage: Most of the 8 episodes run right around the 30 minute mark, making it a readily digestible (pun intended) listen. Of course, that doesnt refer to the emotional toll that comes with watching Carmy shoot himself in the foot repeatedly. That aspect of things is endlessly stressful. But from a time commitment standpoint, The Bear is a solid show.
The Bear takes a conscious zag during an era when multiple show and film epics were the norm, and Marvel has made multi-show and movie epics the norm. The Bear starts at a confident 11, and it maintains that momentum until the conclusion.
COVID-19 has left us with a newfound respect for essential workers, which may explain why Carmy, Sydney, and Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) have so many fans. They may be exceptional, especially when you look at Carmy and Sydney. But at the end of the day, these people are just ordinary individuals. They are not the wealthy sociopaths that occupy some of HBO and Netflixs greatest programs. They are men and women who have to deal with bills, the pressures of working,
The Bear has been praised for its honesty. That may be another reason for its success. When SFGate interviewed several chefs about this fast-paced thrill ride, Nightbird's owner said, for the most part, its pretty dead on. TastingTable wrote a similar article, compiling critic reviews and social media posts that have praised The Bear for being true to kitchen life, stress and all.
This is all to say that The Bear has enlisted the help of two underserved groups in one episode: working-class people and those who fetishize this type of work.There have always been fans of stories about everyday people trying to make ends meet. Look at the success of Rosseanne, The Middle, and Bobs Burgers. The Bear is just the latest show to capture this milieu.
Allison Herman raised this issue in her criticism of the Hallmark series. During a debate with Charles Holmes, Herman said that the coastal elite yanked back to the heartland to redeem themselves through unglamorous work is a long-standing tradition that has fueled many Hallmark films.
Carmy was an accomplished chef at the most well-known restaurant in America at the peak of his career. He realizes that the techniques that worked in his fancy restaurant will not work in this mom-and-pop shop. The story of professional learning from everyday people is one weve all seen before. However, there is a different layer to Carmy's story that makes him even more compelling.
Carmy Bear states that he did not intend to return to Chicago at the end of 2019. At the end of 2019, we all had specific desires for our futures, whether that was due to a death in the family, the loss of a job, an unplanned move, or other unrelated events. At this point, a protagonist who has been thrust into a new reality looks quite attractive right now.
Carmy is straight-up sexy. Mel Magazine referred to him as the kind of fuckboy every woman knows. Bon Appetit referred to him as the type of guy who does not possess a bedframe. He lives on the edge of depressed nihilism, engages in conflicts with his closest friends, and hasn't washed his shirt in over a week.
Most people who date men have fallen prey to the Carmy charms of the world with their hooded eyes and burning passion. He can be fixed! Imagine how much he could love you if you would pay him months if not years in jail.
Carmy is the sole illustration of this type of hot man on television. He has given us a character to point to so we can all agree that he or she is the one I had sex with in the back of his U-Haul. It's not to say that The Bear is a success solely because it's paced well. It's also a phenomenally paced show that always takes into account the stresses of the kitchen with your heart.