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6 Shows Like The Bear to Watch While You Wait for Season 2

Behind! Corner! Yes, chef!

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Allison Picurro
Jeremy Allen White, The Bear

Jeremy Allen White, The Bear

Matt Dinerstein/FX

In many ways, The Bear was the show that defined summer 2022. The FX-produced Hulu dramedy about the people who work at a floundering Chicago sandwich joint gave us so much: pangs of hunger, a breakout performance from Ayo Edebiri, and a new internet boyfriend in Jeremy Allen White. We must give credit to the unstoppable power of word of mouth for its Season 2 renewal, but until we get to see the Original Beef crew again, you might be looking for something to watch that reminds you of The Bear.

Our list of recommendations features more family-focused dramedies, more series about chaotic workplaces, and more shows about food. Maybe get yourself a big ol' Italian sandwich before you sit down to watch a few of these picks.


Shameless

Cameron Monaghan, Emma Kenney, Emmy Rossum, Christian Isaiah, Jeremy Allen White, William H. Macy, Shameless

Cameron Monaghan, Emma Kenney, Emmy Rossum, Christian Isaiah, Jeremy Allen White, William H. Macy, Shameless

PAUL SARKIS/Showtime

It's come to my attention that there are people out there unaware that Jeremy Allen White got his start on a long-running television show called Shameless, and that simply will not stand. On Shameless, White plays Lip Gallagher, the eldest son in a family living on the South Side of Chicago (he can't escape!), struggling to get by and doing anything to avoid becoming like their alcoholic, absentee father (William H. Macy). Carmy is like an elevated version of Lip; their undying love for their families, explosive tempers, and impressive intelligence make the two characters feel like two sides of the same coin. Does Shameless dip in quality pretty early on, and go on for about four seasons too long? It sure does. But if The Bear is White at his best, we have Shameless to thank for allowing him to spend 11 years fine-tuning his skills.


Ramy

Ramy Youssef, Ramy

Ramy Youssef, Ramy

Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu

Before creating The Bear, Christopher Storer directed episodes of Ramy, Ramy Youssef's semi-autobiographical dramedy. Youssef stars as Ramy Hassan, a first-generation Egyptian-American living with his family in New Jersey. Ramy is in a perpetual war with himself, unable to find the balance between becoming what he believes to be a "good Muslim" and doing the things a lot of American 20-somethings do, like dating and partying. Ramy doesn't reach the frenetic heights of The Bear, but it's full of Storer's indie movie-esque sensibilities while also being an insightful and heartfelt look at faith, family, and how being a dirtbag won't actually get you very far in life.


Sweetbitter

Caitlin FitzGerald and Ella Purnell, Sweetbitter

Caitlin FitzGerald and Ella Purnell, Sweetbitter

Macall Polay/Starz

For another show set in a restaurant, Sweetbitter is a fish-out-of-water story about Tess (Ella Purnell), a young, inexperienced waitress working at one of New York City's most high-end restaurants. While Sweetbitter has more of a "20-something just trying to figure it out in the big city" vibe than The Bear, it earns its spot on this list with the way it focuses on the dynamics of the staff at the restaurant. One of the best parts of The Bear was watching the members of the Original Beef's kitchen gradually grow into a dysfunctional family unit, and Sweetbitter pays similar attention to developing Tess' relationships with her coworkers in a way that should feel comfortingly familiar.


Succession

Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, and Kieran Culkin, Succession

Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, and Kieran Culkin, Succession

Macall B. Polay/HBO

Family is work and work is family, or something like that. So much of the success of The Bear's narrative relies on the intermittently revealed details of Carmy's relationship with his brother, Mikey (Jon Bernthal). His loyalty and love for Mikey, and his profound grief over his death, is the reason he takes over as owner of the Original Beef at all. That's not exactly what happens in Succession, HBO's drama about a family of billionaires vying for control of their father's media empire and, more importantly, his approval, but at a base level, these are two shows about what happens when familial expectations clash with raw ambition. The Roy siblings are driven not only by their desire for success, but by the unattainable reward of pleasing their dad, just as Carmy is driven by his desire to find an unattainable connection with his brother. Succession and The Bear are in conversation with each other at all times; it also helps that they happen to be two of the most intense shows on TV right now.


This Is Going to Hurt

Ben Whishaw and Ambika Mod, This Is Going to Hurt

Ben Whishaw and Ambika Mod, This Is Going to Hurt

Anika Molnar/Sister Pictures/BBC Studios/AMC

Hospitals are perhaps the only environments more stressful than restaurants. Based on Adam Kay's memoir, This Is Going to Hurt is set in the OB-GYN ward at an underfunded British hospital and stars Ben Whishaw as a fictionalized version of Kay, who is consumed by his work and can't seem to stop bringing it home with him. His personal life suffers because of it, but his love for the job is too great to slow down. Like The Bear, This Is Going to Hurt operates at a breakneck pace, and can vacillate rapidly between comedy and drama, putting a spotlight on the everyday tragedies that spring up in the life of a working person. It's also one of the best reviewed shows of 2022.


The Chef Show

Roy Choi and Jon Favreau, The Chef Show

Roy Choi and Jon Favreau, The Chef Show

Netflix

The Bear's reverence for food can only be matched by lovingly crafted reality shows about the joy of cooking. The Chef Show is nowhere near as chaotic as The Bear, but if you have an appreciation for the culinary industry, you'll enjoy watching Jon Favreau and Roy Choi's docuseries, which is something of a spin-off of Favreau's 2014 dramedy film Chef. In the series, Favreau and Choi travel around the world to celebrate different cuisines and the people who prepare them. It's a lowkey, chatty show that finds joy in making and sharing meals, and might just teach you something about the life of a chef.