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DIAZ: Netflix's 'Beef' is diverse, cinematic gem

Column: In The Know With Abby

Netflix’s “Beef” is definitely a show to watch with its entertaining yet cinematic plot and Asian American representation.  – Photo by @netflix / Twitter

Hollywood and the film industry, in general, are in a wonderful phase of embracing diversity and giving their viewers what they have long been asking for. Though, the media and entertainment industries still have a long way to go when it comes to capturing the nuances of life and story-telling.

But with releases like "Encanto," "Crazy Rich Asians" and "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," it is now much easier for viewers to see themselves in cinematography — both through the stories of those closest to them and the stories of those they have never met. 

One miniseries released by Netflix earlier this month called "Beef" has created its own buzz on social media, making its own unique marks in displays of diversity and encapsulating the human condition of experiencing complex emotions. 

"Beef" has become a Netflix success, rightfully so, as it makes strides in being multifaceted with humor and drama, hits on unspoken issues like generational trauma and compels viewers to both adore and despise certain characters for traits that are but all too relatable. 

"Beef" is a 10-episode miniseries that first launched on Netflix but can now be seen on multiple streaming platforms. It encapsulates the story of two Asian Americans whose lives intersect and soon spiral from a small incident — one very common to New Jersey citizens and any Rutgers student leaving campus on Route 18: road rage. 

The cast is predominantly Asian American, with the leads being famous comedian Ali Wong and former star of "The Walking Dead," Steven Yeun. The actions of both main characters, Amy Lou and Danny Cho, certainly had me yelling at the TV, as these two somehow got themselves to the critical points at which they ended up in the series. 

To provide proper insight without spoiling anything, the main characters' upbringings with Asian immigrant parents help create a complex character outline as they unknowingly express sentiments of ancestral rage. It is a topic discussed in psychology and not well explored in cinema. 

Generational trauma, as explained by Duke University, is "a concept developed to help explain years of generational challenges within families. It is the transmission (or sending down to younger generations) of the oppressive or traumatic effects of a historical event." 

The show hints at the different ways in which Asian American families communicate with their younger members. Some of the ways are unique to them, and others are similar to other minority family structures. 

In addition, the emotional turmoil viewers experience when watching the show is a result of the well-planted seeds of information that lead the viewer to consider, "Do I stop liking this character as a result of this bad deed that has just come to light?"

And this kind of dilemma can keep one's mind up for days.

Moreover, "Beef" has not only my praise but also that of the ever-changing-spotlight-claiming internet, as the dark comedy made it to Netflix's global top 10

The show received a 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and an 87 percent audience score. Setting aside potential backlash from one of the cast members and statements they made during a podcast, specifically referring to David Choe, the structure of "Beef" is well done. 

The show also received high praise from Vox, stating that it was "the best show" produced in Netflix's recent history, and it answered one crucial question: Could it make me put my phone down?

With that said, "Beef" is a worthy watch, and if there is anything to be learned, do those breathing exercises and some self-reflecting because unchecked anger can lead one down unforeseen paths. 

Abriana Diaz is a senior in the School of Arts in Sciences, majoring in political science and communications and minoring in critical intelligence. Her column, "In The Know With Abby," runs on alternate Mondays.

*Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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