“Beef” takes Lee’s thought exercise and extrapolates outwards to the furthest degree possible, imagining a world where lives and relationships are ruined, floors peed on, and livelihoods damaged by the endless retaliation Danny and Amy engage in. It’s not just a “Tom & Jerry” style show about brawling with a life-long enemy, though. Along the way, “Beef” cleverly unpacks the interior lives of its characters, revealing itself to be a story not just about anger, but also about loneliness, belonging, economic anxiety, racism, and the multi-faceted expectations of immigrant families.
It sounds like the incident in question got Lee’s creative gears turning. “Going through that it felt interesting cause I just felt myself so trapped in my subjective reality and was projecting so many assumptions onto this other person,” Lee told Newsweek. He added, “I assume he was projecting a lot of things onto me, and that was the nugget.” The series starts with that simple incident, which is basically the exact opposite of a meet-cute. Construction worker Danny nearly backs into wealthy entrepreneur Amy, who pulls up behind him suddenly. It’s not even a collision, but it’s enough to ruin both their days — and a whole lot more.