Contrary to the tenderness of beef, this Netflix show is not soft, and is definitely not to be taken lightly. The dark yet comic vibe pulls you in, but that’s not the only reason this ten-episode miniseries is worth watching.
It’s an A24 production
You know, A24 Films? As in the company behind Everything Everywhere All at Once—the movie that bagged seven Oscars? Yup, that one.
A24 Films is also part of the team behind the movies The Spectacular Now, Uncut Gems, and the series Euphoria. You know you’re in for a ride with an A24 production.
You’ll see a lot of familiar faces
You’ve seen at least one of the cast members somewhere. Comedian Ali Wong takes on her first dramatic role with the lead role of Amy Lau alongside The Walking Dead alumnus Steven Yeun, who plays her archnemesis Danny Cho.
We also see another side of the bubbly go-getter from Emily in Paris, Ashley Park. Justin H. Min who also plays Ben Hargreeves has a supporting role in the series as well. I knew he looked familiar, and I was so disappointed when I didn’t pinpoint him to The Umbrella Academy. In my defense, his role is so different in BEEF.
And we must not forget Andrew Santino. You’ve probably seen snippets of his podcast with Bobby Lee called Bad Friends on YouTube.
The soundtrack is for all the ‘90s babies out there
The soundtrack is quite nostalgic. Like, come on, the first episode ends with The Reason by Hoobastank. As the series progresses, you’ll hear Steven Yeun singing to Drive by Incubus. There’s a scene where I Don’t Want to Wait by Paula Cole plays—throwback to Dawson’s Creek—and another scene where Somewhere Only We Know by Keane plays.
I can feel my teenage angst all over again.
It actually goes pretty deep if you look past the drama
Hello, generational trauma, my old friend. Not to the extreme details, of course. The characters of Amy and Danny are exaggerated and a little unhinged, but they represent many Asian children.
Amy with a father who lashes out rather than communicates and an avoidant mother, and Danny with doting parents but this incessant need to prove himself (probably eldest child syndrome). The result? Two different people with the same repressed emotions. These repressed emotions bottled up lead to resentment and anger. Think: a bottle of soda that gets shaken up and explodes. In Amy and Danny’s case, it led to road rage.
Mental health continues to be quite taboo in Asian cultures. Danny emphasizes that Western therapy doesn’t work on Eastern minds in the show. Filipinos are praised for their resilience, but this is dangerous because we’d rather accept things instantly rather than process it and deal with the discomfort.
The entire series is so intense that it begs to ask two questions. One, what the heck is going on? And two, how do people dig themselves into that deep of a hole?
Through complete vulnerability and introspection, Amy and Danny found that they were one and the same, looking for the same thing.
BEEF is a very powerful series with a very powerful ending. It reminds us that in order to break the cycle of generational trauma, we must start with ourselves.
Watch BEEF on Netflix.