Created by Christopher Storer, ‘The Bear‘ is a comedy-drama television series released on Hulu. It follows Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto, an award-winning chef who returns to his home in Chicago and takes over a failing restaurant business after his brother’s death. The series perfectly captures the fine-dining restaurant business’s anxieties and demands. However, given the show’s setting and narrative roots in the culinary and food space, the show’s title might seem odd to some viewers. Hence, viewers must be looking for why the show is called ‘The Bear.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Meaning of The Bear’s Title
‘The Bear’ revolves around Chef Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto, who runs The Original Beef of Chicagoland, a restaurant started by his brother Michael “Mikey” Berzatto. After Mikey dies by suicide, Carmy moves back home, leaving behind his flashy New York lifestyle as a professional chef. However, Carmy is quickly exposed to the challenges of running his own restaurant as a small business owner. Nonetheless, Carmy persists through the challenges as he always dreamt of running the place with his brother despite the latter’s insistence that Carmy makes a living elsewhere away from the chaotic lives of his family members.
In the first season, it is revealed that Mikey had nicknamed Carmy “The Bear,” which is symbolic of the latter’s strength and resilience to survive the toughest odds and most brutal conditions. The same is evident when we get a brief glimpse of Carmy’s life in New York. The nickname holds deeper significance as Carmy decides to name his new restaurant, which he opens in season 2 as “The Bear,” in honor of his brother’s love for him. However, the story of “The Bear” does not end here as a flashback throughout the sixth episode reveals the actual origin of the nickname.
The Bear phonetically resembles Carmy’s family name, “Berzatto.” In the sixth episode, Carmy’s causing tells a story of how a stranger compared her name to a literal Bear. It leads to “The Bear,” metaphorizing the Berzatto family and their nature. From what we see of the Berzattos, they are a chaotic bunch who are strong and resilient. They can be scary and wild as well as kind-hearted and loving. These contrasting personality traits not only define the Berzatto family members but also create conflict for them.
‘The Bear’ primarily focuses on the fine-dining restaurant business’s hardships and ups and downs. However, at its core, it is a story of trauma, grief, loss, and the strength and resilience to overcome these challenges. “The Bear” is a title that perfectly sums up the several aspects of the show that are depicted through Carmy and the Berzatto family. Moreover, the family’s spirit and culture are inadvertently extended to the kitchen crew who work for Carmy.
Ultimately, ‘The Bear’ is a title with different meanings, all encapsulating the core voice of the show. It represents Mikey’s love for his younger brother and Carmy’s desire to honor Mikey’s legacy. It also acknowledges Carmy’s hardships and the trauma inflicted by his family atmosphere. Most of all, it is a nod to the kindness, compassion, and dedication of the main characters, who, despite the wildness and chaotic nature of their jobs, are determined to prevail against all odds. Hence, ‘The Bear’ perfectly summarizes the spirit these characters carry and convey to the viewers.