Wong, Yeun's enchanting offering and why ' Netflix's Beef ' should be your next watch.

Beef is a ten-part Netflix series about two Asian Americans, Amy [Ali Wong] and Danny [Steven Yeun], who have a road-rage altercation that develops into a prolonged, oddly life-affirming feud.

Amy is a successful Calabasas lifestyle entrepreneur, with a multimillion-dollar deal. Danny is a struggling building contractor who grills Korean barbecue outside his down-at-heel LA apartment block.

The show, which is not quite comedy and not quite drama, explores their dark, existential thrillers and cynical characters confronting a deep sadness within.

The series proudly bears the imprint of achingly hip indie productions house A24 and makes strides in onscreen representation with another show about people who don't get to see enough of it on television.

The flap of a butterfly wing :  There could not be a more accurate representation of how the flap of a butterfly wing can wreak havoc in the form of tornadoes.

When the series begins with Amy and Danny grinding gears in an avoidable road rage incident, one cannot, for a second, anticipate the path on which the show will make these two characters journey..

A small spark ignited at the beginning of the series, explodes into a kaleidoscope of exposition about the characters, with rigin stories that are relatable and heartbreaking.

The chaos that ensues is almost laughable, had it not been horrific and gruesome.

The interconnected web of entanglements makes one relish the show even more. Throughout the series, one is expectantly left waiting for the other shoe to drop. And when it does - a dizzying, glorious form of catharsis is left behind at phoenix rising from the ashes of complete annihilation.

The human condition : One follows the characters as they make mistakes, lie through their teeth, and put up fronts when they should be seeking help, turning Beef into a grotesque documentation of human condition.

However, the audience cannot hate Amy and Danny. It is made evident that their creation is a debt placed on their shoulders as a family heirloom, an inheritance of the trauma minority communities face upon leaving their homes to chase the American Dream.

While Amy and Danny could not be more dissimilar in terms of life direction, it is their eventual life trajectory [post-intersection] and a sense of inexplainable sorrow that tethers the two by the hip. 

One may not believe in the concept of divine twins, and one may even rubbish it when Amy's husband brings it up in conversation, but the show puts its whole weight behind actualising that very truth for the two leads.

Representation and mental health : Perhaps one of the most important takeaways from the show is how it has been praised for representing the Asian-American community.  It does not go out of its way to portray them as heroes or villains.

IN FACT, it strips them down to their inherent humanness which is a thread of commonality amongst all mankind.

Amy and Danny get angry. They are often unwise. The duo lies to loved ones without as much as batting an eye. Even so, they have redeemable qualities. The show takes a stand to say : we're all just people on this tumultuous highway called Life, looking for someone with whom we can talk and feel seen.

Another interesting point that Danny raises is about how '' Western Therapy doesn't always work on Eastern minds.'' This is a phenomenal conversation starter - a discourse that is already taking place in numerous leftist circles.

The fact is that the tools and contexts utilised in Western therapy may not apply to those from other communities. While immediate relief may be sought, the traumas of non white individuals are vastly different, thus, the modes of healing must be studied and customised.

Personifying the void : Upon gaining sufficient awareness, one creates a list of goals and ambitions, mistakenly thinking that these will provide some form of fulfilment.

Beef shatters that modus operandi, using personification to humanise the void that many feel, even after hitting milestones and achieving success.

Amy and Danny are empty, with deep, gaping, unlit holes at the very of their individual beings. Money does double as a temporary bandage, but fails to serve as a soothing balm. Hustling does little to tend to the wound.

The perceivably self-actualised Amy struggles when no one is watching, and the pressed-for-luck Danny is an uncontrollable implosion and vessel of self-sabotage.

It is only when the two cross paths that they find themselves pulled to each other with purpose -whether it is blinding hate that binds the two, or frantic obsession - and a conversation with each other is the first time ever when they feel seen.

All in all, Beef is an excellent watch. Wong and Yeun, alongside the creators of the show, have knocked it out of the park with the series.

With brilliant writing, exceptional performances, and a plot that keeps one pressing '' next episode '' on Netflix, this is a show on which you cannot pass.

The World Students Society thanks author Sajeer Shaikh, The Express Tribune.


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