Beef, the latest limited series from Netflix, presents a deceptively simple premise. After a road rage incident, two individuals set out to ruin each other's lives. Created by former It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia staff writer Lee Sung Jin, Beef stars Stephen Yeun (The Walking Dead, Nope) and Ali Wong (Always Be My Maybe, Tuca & Bertie).
However, Beef goes beyond its simple premise to become an intimate and petty look at the lengths people go to in order to feel alive. Yuen's Danny is a handyman with no self-awareness of his patronizing view of the world. Meanwhile, Wong's Amy is trapped in a suburban hell she pretends is her ultimate goal in life. A chance meeting in a hardware store parking lot becomes a road rage chase through the suburbs. That incident becomes the spark for the two to engage in an increasingly dramatic war of words and actions. But as much as the two of them despite each other, the havoc they can wreak on each other is the only thing giving their lives meaning.
"Beef" Is Certified Fresh And Widely Praised
Debuting on April 6, Beef quickly garnered the rare 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. At the time of writing, the show holds a 99% critics rating and a 96% audience rating. It continues a strong showing for Netflix in the TV department, with YA fantasy Shadow & Bone's second season currently holding an 83% rating. Furthermore, Beef's strong debut also allows Netflix to keep pace with the hits of its competitors such as Apple TV (Ted Lasso Season 3 - 93%), Paramount+ (Rabbit Hole - 77%), and HBO (Succession Season 4 - 97%).
Critics have praised Beef's encapsulation of modern rage, especially in "an era that sells us on the ease of being able to have anything we want, only countered by our frustration at being unable to." (Gayle Sequeira, Film Companion). Additionally, the show never fails to embrace comedy at the right moments, with Joey Moser of Awards Daily noting that "Beef will stick out its tongue as it gives you the finger." Overall, the show is a visceral, petty masterclass of societal critique and can't-look-away revenge television.