Saturday, September 23, 2023
HomeFashionSorry, But ‘The Bear’’s Claire Is Pure Male Fantasy

Sorry, But ‘The Bear’’s Claire Is Pure Male Fantasy

In the end, Claire is largely defined by all the things she doesn’t do. Unlike Syd and Nat, who constantly badger Carmy about getting more forks and finalizing the menu and not picking the fancy plates, she seems to expect and demand nothing from him. She admits that her job “isn’t chill” and means her spending “100 hours on and two hours off,” but she’s always inexplicably serene and available to him, never bringing the stress of it home, while Carmy, who is objectively in a line of work with significantly lower stakes, is the one receiving all of the care and reassurance. We see one musical montage of her pushing a medical bed, but apart from that, she’s just in scrubs making long, flirty phone calls or leaving him leisurely, loving voicemails. In short, she’s a saint who Carmy views as a symbol of the love and stability he doesn’t feel deserving of.

It’s entirely possible that The Bear’s creator, Christopher Storer, has done all of this on purpose. When speaking to Vogue about Gordon’s performance earlier this month, he noted that we, the audience, are “also just getting to know Claire through Carmy’s eyes [this season] as this potentially hopeful, beautiful ideal he’s been attached and attracted to since he was a teenager.” But then shouldn’t there also be a moment when that subjectivity is at least briefly acknowledged in the show and we see a glimpse of the real Claire, as we did, for instance, with Claire Danes’s initially vilified Rachel in Fleishman Is in Trouble? Sadly, that never comes.

But, given the progression of Natalie’s character from the first season to the second, it seems highly likely that it will in Season 2—if Claire returns, of course. (Full disclosure: I thought Abby Elliott’s character, who in Season 2 appears to exist solely to encourage Carmy to deal with his feelings around their brother’s death, was actually called Sugar, her childhood nickname, until all of the characters began calling her “Nat” pointedly in the Season 2 opener.)

Ultimately, in Season 2, The Bear has set its own internal bar too high for viewers to be satisfied with a character like Claire. How could she, a sweet and accommodating plot device, ever compare to Syd, for example, a hilariously awkward, supremely talented, always doubtful but outspoken bundle of nerves who is surely one of the most layered and complex women of color currently on TV? The masterful way in which she’s written gives me hope that Storer will choose to engage with Claire in a real and more interesting way in the next installment, giving us an insight into her home life, fears, and frustrations—and, most importantly, give the whip-smart and wonderfully nuanced Gordon much more to do.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Featured NEWS