Netflix’s hit series Beef dares to ask the bold question – what would happen if you made your petty late-night revenge fantasies a reality? The answer is absolute chaos.
Starring Emmy-nominated comedian Ali Wong as Amy Lau and critically acclaimed actor Steven Yeun as Danny Cho (Minari), the 10-episode series has dominated Netflix’s top 10 since landing on the streaming platform on 6 April, and has already been heralded as one of the best TV shows of the year.
Beef takes viewers on an exhilarating ride as we follow the escalating consequences of a brief moment of road rage after Amy accuses Danny of trying to reverse into her in a car park, leading to excessive horn pressing, a heated car chase and middle fingers all around.
As the saying goes, you have to pick your moments. Spurred on by rage at their own personal life problems, the pair are catapulted into a cat-and-mouse game of revenge as they go further in their efforts to to exact sweet, sweet revenge, beautifully encapsulating its motto “hurt people hurt people”.
Alongside the captivating chemistry of its lead stars, the show is backed up by an outstanding supporting cast, including Joseph Lee, Ashley Park (Joy Ride) and Maria Bello. Beef takes twists and turns that leave you on the edge of your seat, and make you whisper to yourself “how the f**k did we even get here?”
In an era of never-ending reboots and cancellations, the show offers viewers a story that is as original as it is deliciously unhinged. From desecrated bathrooms and catfishing to attempted robbery and so much worse, every episode makes you suspend your belief and embrace the total insanity.
Aptly derived from modern day slang meaning to hold an aggressive grudge against someone, Beef seamlessly centres an Asian American cast and story, bringing much-needed representation to the community.
The narrative also effortlessly weaves socio-political commentary around class, racism and misogyny into the lives of these characters without seeming superficial.
Although it offers more than its fair share of laugh out loud moments, many of which hail from comedy queen Ali Wong, the show has rightly been praised for its nuance, depicting the protagonists as flawed, complicated people and showcasing the struggles second-generation immigrants often face in their adulthood.
Aside from his insatiable need for vengeance, Danny is grappling with the loss of his parents’ motel business and is struggling to make ends meet as he tries to buy them land to move out of Korea and back to the US. As he and his brother Paul – played by breakout star Young Mazino – clash, we are taken on a poignant journey touching on family ostracisation and religious vulnerability.
One particularly impactful scene sees Danny decide on the spur of the moment to attend church. There, he becomes completely overwhelmed by the intensity of the gospel choir – a scene that’s found deep resonance with fans.
Meanwhile, we find Amy at a pivotal moment of her career, married into a rich fine art family and on the brink of selling her plant company into a million dollar money spinner. However, as she tries to save her failing marriage, please her mother-in-law and try to understand what she actually wants out of life, her picture perfect existence slowly falls apart.
The show also sees Amy having to navigate her business sales through Jordan (Bello), the ultimate archetype of the obnoxious white woman billionaire who thinks all Asians are homogenous and expects a smile to be plastered on everyone’s face. Their wittily layered conversations epitomise what it means to exist in a workplace as a woman of colour.
The scene that has gripped fans above all others, though, is Amy handling a gun.
The show also brings chaotic queer energy to the mix with its toxic sapphic relationships – and while Beef centres a unique tale centred on rage rather than romance, you should also know that the cast is really, really hot. Seriously.