Friday, February 23, 2024
Tv Series

They call him cousin, but we all loved Richie like a brother in just two seasons

They call him cousin, but we all loved Richie like a brother in just two seasons

If they had told us in the first season that our favorite character on The Bear would become Richie, we would never have believed it. In short, he was grumpy, irritating, rebellious, rude and Fak, in no uncertain terms, described him in the pilot of the Disney+ TV series as: “always and forever… fucking the worst”. Of course, that wasn’t a good time for Richie: he was going through a divorce, he was afraid of losing time with his daughter and he was immersed in grief and guilt over Michael’s death. Furthermore, he fought against jealousy towards Carmy, who had inherited The Beef, and against Carmy himself who wanted to change everything about his close friend’s place. In a restaurant full of damaged, broken, and purposeless people, Richie seemed the most damaged, the most broken, and the most purposeless of them all; a bomb of resentment, anger and rebellion that hid the fear in those screams.

It was easy to hate Richie. That cousin not by blood, yet so close to Michael that he officially joined Berzatto. That’s what Carmy calls him, to underline their very close bond that makes them a real family. Almost as if, without Michael, Richie felt obliged to be the big brother that Carmy desperately needed.

So, The Bear season 2’s biggest magic trick was turning him into someone so easy to love. In the brother that we all would like and for whom we love with all our souls.

The Bear he sincerely believes in self-improvement and refuses to give his characters superficial characterizations. It makes them human, real and we identify with them immediately. And Richie is no exception in the series on Disney+. Because behind the belief that his is the only way to deal with the problems of restructuring, behind the desire to always have his say almost with arrogance, there is simply the desire to remain in the flow, clinging tooth and nail to something that is getting out of hand. Richie is at that stage in his life where he thinks they are gradually pushing him aside, that no one would trust him anymore and that he is losing the power he once had. And with the divorce and the change of direction at the club, he fears he has lost control of his entire existence. His constant bickering with Sugar and Fak are not just comedic devices, but reflect the feel by Richie. He tries to be a supervisor even if that’s not his job, to make himself useful and visible to others. How to say: “I am here and I am still important for the restaurant”. Above all, behind his excessive actions lies the fear of making mistakes and thus disappointing his team by not taking care of them properly. Not being the brother they need.

His heart is in the right place. He always has been. That gem of an episode called flashback highlights this perfectly Fishes. Her life isn’t going well because she can’t find work outside of The Beef, but we’ve never seen her happier. On the contrary, it’s one of the few times it is in The Bear. It’s the Christmas before his daughter is born, he’s still with Tiffany and they’re excited about the arrival of their little girl. That tender moment they share together in the past adds a layer of pain and empathy to our perspective of today’s Richie, still hopefully wearing his wedding ring. The way he gently takes care of Tiffany and tries to calm an agitated Michael as best he can lays the foundation for what we will see in the stupendous Forks.

If Fishes showed us Richie’s origins, Forks focuses on his growth and search for purpose in life.

Richie doesn’t understand at first why Carmy sent him to work at a fancy restaurant; in fact, he thinks it’s a punishment. But he soon discovers that he is wrong. After venting about the pointlessness of spending nine hours polishing cutlery, he is told that he must learn respect. AND something lights up in his mind, something that makes him more and more precise and attentive. He switches to waiter and changes clothes. She has an elegant dress that “it looks like armor”come dice a Garrett. It’s not only a funny joke, but it shows that Richie’s mindset has changed. With the suit on, he feels professional and increases his sense of respect not only towards others, but also and above all for himself. Something that Richie had always struggled with throughout his life. And from that moment on, he will never take off the armor again.

Richie, observing the attention and efficiency of the waiters, learns from them and thus discovers his talent. What Carmy had already glimpsed into The Bear. Furthermore, it includes a very important lesson from Chef Terry: any task, no matter how trivial or small, is worth it as long as it is time well spent. Because every second counts. And it is while peeling mushrooms together that Richie’s compassionate side and his profound ability to connect with people emerges. To reach our hearts. Above all, he understands that his time is not over, that life has not defeated him and that the train always passes; you just need to know how to take it.

the bear

And now, with a purpose and goals in The Bear, his way of working and being with people changes completely. Like with Sugar.

During the friends and family evening at The Bear, Richie is in perfect control of the situation. He works in harmony with Syd, supports his colleagues and corrects them if necessary, without however belittling them. With his armor he transforms into the boy ready to spring into action wherever others need him. Especially for Carmy. In their clash they seem to fall back into the dynamics of the first season, until Richie shows that those words that hurt because they are true, that comparing him to his mother Donna and that spitting in his face that he never lets anything good happen to him, in reality, they are dictated by concern, not anger. And it’s also the acceptance of Carmy’s leadership role and how much it means to Richie, after losing Mickey and seeing the woman of his dreams start a new life with someone else. In the most emotional moment of The Bear, separated by the door of a cold room but together in the frame, the one white immersed in darkness and the other black in the light, Richie understands that his work with Carmy is not finished. He will be his guide, his Michael, despite the arguments and screams.

Something clicked in Richie and thatl “I love you” that he repeatedly tells Carmy is so impactful, because it’s unexpected. Old Richie would never have said this except to his daughter; perhaps he regrets not having done it with Michael, perhaps too little with Tiffany. But now he is a new person, who we love madly and who has understood his role and his purpose. Becoming the brother of Sugar, of Carmy, of all of us. And he did it because, as Taylor Swift sings:

It’s a love story, baby, just say, “Yes”

Richie simply said yes to himself. Feeling free and successful for the first time. And we couldn’t be more moved, happy and in love with such a human character, so close to us and who, with patience and effort, he finds his true self again.