I recently watched this Netflix series, “BEEF“. It is stars Steven Yeun and Ali Wong, created by Korean director, Lee Sung Jin. I known of Ali Wong because for her stand-up comedy shows in Netflix while gloriously pregnant. She is hilarious! I enjoy her shows. I also saw her 2019 romantic comedy, “Always Be My Maybe” alongside Randall Park which was quite cute and funny, with the special participation of Keanu Reeves. I didn’t know what to expect of the new show, “Beef” but I assumed it would probably a comedy considering Ali Wong is in it. (Trivia: Ali Wong was previously married to a half Korean- half Filipino businessman.)
(There may be spoilers here.) Beef is a 10-part dark comedy mini-series about Daniel Cho portrayed by Steven Yeun, a struggling contractor and Amy Lau played by Ali Wong, a self-made entrepreneur who seems to have it all. Both got into a road rage one fine day in a Home-Depot-esque parking lot, no less. It started with that, trying to outwit each other of revenge schemes reminiscent of the 1989 film of Michael Douglas & Kathleen Turner, “The War of the Roses” until it spiralled out of control with a horrific conclusion to their on-going vendetta.
Their anger both hot, red, boiling, impulsive, seething, sinister and in some parts of Amy – concealed , wrapped in a colourful art paper. Behind their anger is some deeper wounds. In Daniel, there was loneliness, frustration, regret and the need for direction & guidance. There was a scene when Daniel attended a church event and he was bawling in tears while the worship song was being sang. It was a release from all the anguish and emotional turmoil he has been experiencing. In Amy, she felt tired of all pretending that her life is perfect, that it is okay for her to be the only breadwinner of the family, that she needs to always be that good girl. She is filled with shame, anxiety (for her upcoming deal to be closed), frustration towards her husband, mother-in-law, her business, her employees & her child. She wanted a release too from her seemingly charmed life. Both of them cross path with this same volatile range brewing within themselves, both with similar inner struggles, until it exploded towards each other and everyone around them are collateral damage.
QUOTES TO PONDER
Besides the wonderful acting of the cast, the direction of the movie is on point, I love the script. There were few quotable quotes in series that may you ponder.
Why is it so hard for us to be happy?
Yes, why is it so hard to be happy. Life can be challenging with all the demands of the world – success, money, happy marriage, kids, that amazing deal, work promotion, keeping up appearances, finding right connections, the lists goes on. Happiness feels so elusive that we don’t recognise it even if it is staring us in the face. I remember I read in the book of Dr. Wayne Dyer, “Erroneous Zones“. He said happiness is like a cat running to catch its tail but the cat realised that when the cat just goes about his business, the tail follows. Happiness is like that he said. He also wrote about this guy who keeps chasing happiness through success, travel, etc but he realised that when he was sitting silently with his wife beside him & their baby in his wife’s arms, he felt this bliss and realised that happiness is ordinary present things.
It is selfish for broken people to spread their brokeness.
It is a funny quote told in a funny in the series. Though there is, indeed, so many broken people in the world and we do infect each other this virus of negativity. I am not advocating for toxic positivity which can be as bad as spreading negativity. But I realised hurt people HURT people. Think of the most toxic people in your family or your workplace. 8 out of 10 that person has been through so much in the past that is why he/she is so toxic. Be kind. Understand. Don’t challenge them. Walk away. Don’t offer advice when not asked. Sometimes deep wounds cannot be remedied by a friendly advice or consoling, sometimes professional need to step in to tackle a deeper healing. So just walk away before you will be swallowed by the vortex of being an emotional punching bag in the guise of being kind.
I just wanna know if I gotta get to where you are.
Everything fades; nothing lasts.
There is one scene that Daniel and Amy got to talk amicably in a party and they have this exchange. Daniel asking Amy, “I just wanna know if I gotta get to where you are” (meaning successful in terms of career and reaching her goal) to which Amy replied, “Everything fades; nothing lasts.” (meaning happiness). Life has its ebbs and flows. It is never going to be rah-rah-rah happy all the time. There will always be sadness, fear, loneliness, frustration mixed with the good. But what Amy and Daniel didn’t realised they were both running after the wrong things in life. They didn’t have enough self-awareness of why they are so unhappy with their life. They needed a lot of inner work as most of us do as we journey in life. Anyways, why are we all here on earth but to learn and go back to the core of our being. We need to work on ourselves and learn that the best things in life are the non-tangibles – peace, love, kindness, good health, harmony, etc.
THE ART OF LETTING GO
One thing that you can learn from the series is learning to pick your battles and let go. Okay, you have a bad day. You encountered a rude driver in the parking lot. What would you do? Would you flip him the bird? Shout at her with the top of your lungs? Throw a rock to his car? Chase her with your car until her house? Probably, you can do the first two, out of extreme frustration but don’t let it get the better of you. Don’t carry this grudge toward a stranger and use all your time, energy and resources to get back at him. It is a total waste of your time, energy and resources. It could have ended at the parking lot or even when (Spoiler Alert….) Daniel peed in Amy’s bathroom floor tiles. They could have let it go (and then there won’t be 10 episodes to the series and will end by episode 1). Just realised it is not worth all the trouble. Take a deep breath. Shout if you want. Then let it go. Never let your anger control you.
I assumed you have seen the series already. What did you think that end scene mean? It was interesting it ended that way -very opposite from how it all started. I would love to know your thoughts about it.