April 6, 2023

CABLE | Steven Yeun and Ali Wong Settle Their 'Beef' on Netflix

"Western therapy doesn't work on the Eastern minds."
Steven Yeun Young Mazino Lee Sung Jin | Beef Netflix A24
A24 Television
Tuca & Bertie co-stars Steven Yeun and Ali Wong reteam for creator Lee Sung Jin's towering feud dark comedy series, Beef. Both leads are exceptionally dynamic, sizzling in their broad emotional range as dramatic performers. It's hard to telegraph where the strange action of the show is heading as Lee inserts a ton of situational surprises from episode to episode.

Layered with simmering Asian-American cultural aggression in crisis mode complemented with explosive issues of toxic relationships, Yeun and Wong's Danny and Amy, who are clearly bad people ans continue to do bad things, boil over one another after a chance encounter as strangers in a parking lot before they become consumed with misplaced road rage. Both are at opposite ends of professional and personal crises where they feel overwhelmed by their familial commitments and the allure of having it all after years of hard work despite the clear futility of the American dream.

There's so much to enjoy from the series, especially a fun and diverse supporting cast of mostly actors of Southeast Asian descent. Millionaire graffiti artist David Choe shines as Danny's shady loudmouth ex-con cousin with a temper while Patti Yasutake as Amy's mother-in-law is a pitch-perfect foil in an atypical Japanese grandmother role. Everyone plays their part superbly as the true drama of the series expertly reveals itself through strong character performances with captivating individual motivations.

How Beef unfolds its electric, high-stakes drama is thrilling and often highly comical. Its sense of insane escalation feels earned as it builds and simmers over the course of its dynamic season of intriguing developments. Lee's dramatization of revenge, sabotage, and obsession is a dark exploration of human behaviour that's also joyously entertaining to watch.

Beef's ten-episode season is available to stream on Netflix.

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