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Summary

  • The title of FX’s
    The Bear
    title is deeply symbolic; a tribute to Carmy’s family nickname, a nod to Chicago, and a representation of hidden emotions.
  • Season 1’s end saw Carmy fulfill a dream with The Bear, honoring his late brother. The show explores family dynamics & grief in-depth.
  • The show’s intricate plot and character development revolve around Carmy’s journey and the themes of family, grief, and acceptance, all of which are relevant to why
    The Bear
    is called
    The Bear
    .

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While the title might seem odd for a comedy-drama about a Chicago sandwich shop, there are several reasons why The Bear is called “The Bear”.The Bear season 2 saw The Beef turn into The Bear, revealing even more about the show’s title, its characters, and the restaurant’s backstory. However, there are even more meanings behind the title of both the series and restaurant to be uncovered, adding greater depth to The Bear, which is already much more than just another workplace comedy-drama.

The Bear season 1’s ending saw Carmy Berzatto using the money left behind by his late brother Mikey to reimagine the struggling Chicago sandwich shop as a high-end restaurant. The movie is a symbolic one for Carmy as he is confronting his grief while also dealing with his own mental health which requires him to make a change. Renaming The Beef as The Bear is a sign of him making that change. However, the name of the restaurant is just one of the reasons The Bear uses that title for its acclaimed series and there are some deeper meanings to uncover.

The Bear is available to stream on Hulu, and The Bear season 3 is slated for release in June 2024.

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5 Bear Is A Berzatto Family Nickname

Berzatto Is Pronounced “Bear-Zatto”

The initial premise of The Bear was of young, award-winning chef de cuisine, Carmy Berzatto, leaving his job at a Michelin star restaurant in New York City to return to his hometown of Chicago and take over the Italian beef sandwich shop his late brother, Mikey, had left him when he committed suicide. Accordingly, the original meaning of the title that The Bear gave to audiences was that “Bear” was a Berzatto family nickname. Berzatto is pronounced “bear-zatto,” so it’s easy to see where they got their nickname from, but it applies differently to different family members.

On occasion, Mikey was referred to as “Mikey Bear” and their sister, Natalie, better known as Sugar, is sometimes called “Sugar Bear.” However, the nickname mostly belongs to Carmy, who was simply called “Bear.” The Berzatto family has complex dynamics caused by troubled childhoods that were further explored in The Bear season 2, but one of the reasons The Bear is called The Bear is its core message that family, blood or otherwise, is what drives its central characters.

Carmine Berzatto’s father has yet to be featured on The Bear.

4 The Berzatto Family Compare Themselves To Bears

The Troubled Family Share Characteristic Of Bears

Carmy (Jeremy Allen White), Natalie

One of The Bear’s most memorable and celebrated episodes is season 2, episode 6, “Fishes,” which centers around a Berzatto family Christmas five years before the present events of the series. The Bear season 2 included many major cameos, with multiple being featured in the Christmas episode as Berzatto family members and friends. In the episode, Michelle (Sarah Paulson) — a cousin of the Berzatto siblings — told a story about how she got into an argument with another woman about her last name, which somehow ended with the woman telling her about bears and their characteristics.

The title of The Bear in this context helps explain Carmy and his family through their animalistic counterpart.

The woman in the story described bears as “kind … sensitive … devoted … altruistic and empathetic and very commonly known to be adept at grieving.” Richie, despite not being an official Berzatto, responded by saying that “checks out” and that “bears are incredibly, incredibly aggressive.” This can be seen in multiple members of the Berzatto family, especially Carmy who holds the nickname “Bear.”

Yet, Carmy frequently struggles with the grief he feels over his older brother’s death, especially given the fact that their relationship had deteriorated over the years leading up to it. The title of The Bear in this context helps explain Carmy and his family through their animalistic counterpart.

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3 The Bear Is Set In Chicago

The Name Is A Tribute To The Show’s Setting

Sydney and her father in a dinner at night in The Bear

A more subtle meaning behind The Bear’s title is related to its location. The Bear is set in Chicago, where it also films and the River North neighborhood plays a major role in the show’s identity. The Bear has multiple scenes featuring beautiful exterior shots of the city, which almost serves as its own character, comparable to New York City in Sex and the City. This is exemplified in The Bear season 1, episode 7, which opens with the song “Chicago” by Sufjan Stevens and serves as a visual tribute to the city of the same name.

Chicago sports teams are also casually mentioned and referenced throughout The Bear, including the legendary football team, Chicago Bears. In one flashback scene in The Bear season 1, episode 6, Sugar is shown wearing a Bears shirt as Mikey tells a story about the city. With how integral the Chicago setting is to the series, it’s no surprise that The Bear’s title is also its own little tribute to the city.

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2 Why Carmy & Michael Wanted To Call Their Restaurant “The Bear”

The Restaurant Is A Dream The Brothers Never Got To Share Together

Jeremy Allen White and Jon Bernthal as Carmy and Mikey in The Bear season 2

At the end of The Bear season 1, Carmy decided to make the dreams he and his late brother had a reality by turning The Beef into The Bear. In The Bear season 2’s Christmas episode, viewers get to see the origins behind the restaurant Carmy, Sydney, and company spent all season trying to create.

In a touching flashback moment, a younger Carmy gifted Mikey framed plans of the dream restaurant he one day wanted to run with his brother. Drawn on the door of the restaurant was a bear, representing not only the eventual title of the restaurant but their relationship as brothers as well.

Mikey told Carmy to “let it rip,” a phrase he used to let his brother know he believed in him and his dream. Mikey used the same phrase in his final letter to Carmy, which inspired him to finally turn The Beef into The Bear as they’d previously dreamed about.

Privately, Mikey broke down into tears upon receiving the gift, showing early signs that he knew that his presence around Carmy could only hurt him, which is why he felt he had to keep his distance. Ultimately, all Carmy wanted was his brother’s support and love, and he got it through that letter in The Bear.

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The Bear Timeline: All Flashbacks In Order & How Much Time Passes In Each Season

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1 What The Bear Carmy Sees Really Means

The Uncaged Animal Represents Parts Of Carmy That Are Let Out

Carmy On The Bridge With Bear Coming Out Of Cage Dream The Bear.jpg

The opening scene in The Bear’s first episode is of Carmy approaching a caged bear on an empty bridge. He opened the cage to release the bear, quietly hushed it, and said, “I know” before the bear rushed him, and he woke up in a backroom in The Beef.

This dream is not just the first introduction to Carmy, but the series as a whole, providing a meaning to the show’s title that is explored throughout The Bear with its main character. The bear that Carmy sees doesn’t just represent the restaurant or his dreams or his family, but himself, as Carmy “Bear” Barzotto.

At the start of The Bear, Carmy lets the bear out of its cage on the very same bridge that Mikey killed himself. It was because of Mikey’s death that Carmy returned to Chicago after years away. Though Carmy’s tattoos in The Bear show that his hometown is extremely important to him, there is a clear resentment in him from having to return under the circumstances he did, which could be why the bear is angry as well.

This is the literal meaning of letting the bear out, but it also alludes to the fact that Mikey’s death forced him to make peace with, and perhaps even once again become, the person he had left behind when he moved away from Chicago. To survive in the culinary world, Carmy had to push certain parts of him down, but they were unleashed again when he came back to run The Beef, for better or for worse.

By the end of The Bear season 1, Carmy has finally started to accept the bear within him, giving a double meaning to the sign he put up that reads “THE BEAR IS COMING.”

The Bear TV Poster

The Bear

Set in a Chicago sandwich shop, The Bear follows Carmy Berzatto, a young professionally trained chef who returns to take over his family business after the unexpected death of his brother. At odds with many of the shop’s employees due to his culinary training, Carmy struggles to maintain order and keep the shop from failing entirely. Jeremy Allen White stars as Carmy alongside Ebon Moss-Bachrach and Ayo Edebiri. 

Cast
Jeremy Allen White , Ebon Moss-Bachrach , Ayo Edebiri , Lionel Boyce , Liza Colón-Zayas , Abby Elliott , Oliver Platt

Release Date
June 23, 2022

Seasons
2

Streaming Service(s)
Hulu , Disney+

Writers
Christopher Storer



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