Do The Emmys Realize They Heaped Praise On A Show Jam-Packed With American Values?

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Gage Klipper Commentary & Analysis Writer
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Let’s face it: no one watches award shows anymore. They’ve turned into a parody of themselves, as decadent celebrities seem to compete for only one accolade: who can put forward the most tendentious political claim of the night. The noxious mix of arrogance and ignorance makes for a truly off-putting spectacle.

Yet when I heard the following morning that FX’s “The Bear” had swept the Emmy’s with 13 nominations and 10 wins, I had to do a double take. Did this cesspool of lifestyle liberals realize they just heaped praise on all of the traditional values they claim to despise?

“The Bear” tells the story of a young chef who throws away his promising career in the fine dining world and returns home to take over his dysfunctional family’s restaurant. This simple premise turns into a much deeper reflection on the most important things in life. The show is not only exceptionally well written and entertaining, it’s the strongest rejection of leftist social values that has come out of Hollywood in at least a decade.

Turn on the news, sit in on a college seminar (or these days, even kindergarten class), or listen to any Hollywood celebrity talk for five minutes, and you’ll come away with a pretty dim view of meritocracy. In fact, you might start to question whether American meritocracy ever did, or could, exist. (RELATED: Hollywood A-Listers Accidentally Tell Us Why Their Movies Suck)

The liberal ideology today tells us we are all a function of our inherent privilege, or lack thereof.  Through an intersecting web of identities, we are all born with certain advantages and disadvantages that are said to determine our outcomes. Our individual qualities, our virtues and vices, matter little in the midst of this all-consuming matrix. Traditional virtues like hard work, excellence and objectivity are all now considered “white values” that racists throughout history invented to enshrine their privileges.

There’s no such thing as true greatness; it’s only a veneer. The lucky schmuck who got a leg up just refuses to admit it.

These attacks on these individual virtues find a parallel in their collective corollary: family and community. The left is conspicuously collectivist — until it comes to family and community, at which point they embrace fierce individualism. While traditional notions hold that meaning can be found in serving and sacrificing for those closest to you, the left views them as relics conservative repression. Your community, with all its petty infighting, jealousies, and traditions, stifles you into conformity. You have no obligation to these forces that bind you; your only duty is live as your truest, most authentic self. (RELATED: Hollywood Has Forgotten Its Own Lessons On Masculinity — And One Timeless Classic Proves It)

If you’ve been to the movies at all in the past several years, you know Hollywood almost always reflects these values in some way or another. But “The Bear” patently rejects them all.

Mild spoilers ahead. 

The show begins with award-winning Chef Carmy Berzatto giving up his job at the best restaurant in the world (think, the French Laundry) to take over his family’s sandwich shop in Chicago, “The Beef.” After his brothers, Carmy was the only one left to keep the restaurant afloat.

As the show unfolds, we learn the extent of the severe mismanagement the restaurant suffered. Health code violations, crippling debt to an unscrupulous mob boss and an unprofessional and insubordinate staff are but a few of the hurdles Carmy faces in rehabilitating the place. Yet it’s a local institution that’s been serving the community for decades and the last remaining piece of his brother; he’s not willing to let go so easy.

He brings the competence of his past life into the restaurant, regimenting the staff with proper technique and hiring another formally trained but green chef struggling to find her footing. They’re a highly dysfunctional crew, and with each step forward they take two steps back. But through his passion and undeniable skill, the whole crew comes to respect Carmy and strive for greatness themselves. The show, now on season two, ultimately portrays a ship of misfits with nothing but raw talent, passion and a burning desire to plate perfection.

It’s possible to write Carmy off as a snob. As the staff often wonders, the viewer can also question why he has to mess with a formula that works. Yet it only worked fine — not great. That is the point.

So what are the values the show really professes? Individual excellence coupled with an obligation to the people around you.

Carmy leaves the fine dining world out of duty. It’s not his credentials that matter; it’s the objective competency he can employ on the road to greatness. He takes the positive aspects he learned on the job — how to relentlessly strive for excellence — and applies it to maintaining a local institution that’s long served the community, despite somewhat resenting his sacrifice. Yet that’s precisely what makes it meaningful. While the dynamic is dysfunctional and disheartening, he sticks it out because his sense of duty tells him it is the most important thing he can do. Through his example, he rubs off on everyone around him.

In short, Carmy is the type of man American culture used to idolize, but now despises. Let’s just be thankful that this all went over the heads of everyone at the Emmys.