Director and writer, Lee Sung Jin created the television show called Beef. Some of Lee Sung Jin’s past projects consist of Dave, Mothman, 2 Broke Girls, Girlboss, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Beef was released on April 6th, 2023, streaming on Netflix, and starring Ali Wong and Steven Yeun. Wong is an actress, producer, and writer from San Franciso, California, who gained recognition from her stand-up comedy special on Netflix called Baby Cobra. Yeun is an actor and producer, originally from Seoul, South Korea, who gained recognition from his role as Glenn Rhee in the television show The Walking Dead. The show Beef follows two main characters: Amy Lau played by Wong and Danny Cho played by Yeun.
Chaos strikes when characters, Amy Lau and Danny Cho meet their match – each other – as they both are leaving a Forsters parking lot. As Danny is pulling out of a parking space, Amy speeds up behind him almost causing a collision. When Danny sticks his head out of the window, Amy decides to obnoxiously blow her car horn for an extended period, giving Danny the middle finger. Danny cannot see who the driver is at this point. Danny does not take well to this because he just had a stressful experience in Forsters and was already feeling overwhelmed, so instead of letting it go, he follows Amy.
Once Amy notices that Danny has followed her and is right beside her, she swerves in an attempt to make him drive into ongoing traffic on the other side of the road. When this fails she begins throwing food and garbage out of her window, which provokes Danny even more. He cuts her off by driving through someone’s lawn and blocking her. Amy turns around with the back of her car now facing Danny’s. In retaliation, Amy speeds up with her car in reverse, and right when she is about to crush him, she slams on the brakes and honks twice. The honking twice comes across as her saying “I won”. This whole experience visibly shakes up Danny, and as Amy drives away he remembers her license plate number.
As the episode continues, we see parallels between Danny and Amy’s lives and emotional states. Danny struggles with not feeling like he is good enough or honorable for his parents. His reasons for feeling like this are that he is in financial trouble and cannot provide for his parents, who desperately need it after being forced to close a motel they owned. It is not fully explained why they were forced to close it, however, Danny says, “I feel like they’re stuck in Korea because of me.” Amy can relate to this feeling because even though she is successful as a businesswoman, she questions if she is a good mother and wife due to her mother-in-law’s constant criticism.
Another similarity Danny and Amy have is suicidal tendencies and unhealthy behaviors. For example, Danny locks himself in his room and lights multiple grills, hoping to die from the carbon monoxide. He takes deep breaths as his carbon monoxide detector sounds, then all of a sudden he changes his mind and kills the fires. Amy tries to unlock her and her husband’s safe and realizes her husband has changed the passcode. In the morning she asks him for the new passcode and he avoids answering. However, he does say “ You know why I changed the passcode”. When he leaves with their daughter June and Amy has the house to herself, she tries to figure out the passcode. She succeeds and opens the safe. As soon as she picks up the gun and loads it, it is apparent why her husband changed the passcode. Amy puts the gun close to her, traces her body with it, and pulls the trigger. Then she puts it under her jaw and pulls the trigger. She does this over and over and it seems to give her a tremendous amount of pleasure.
As his week goes on, Danny cannot stop thinking about Amy, the driver who almost caused him to crash twice. He decides to pay for the address of the license plate holder on Amy’s car. Still not knowing it was Amy, he arrives at her house while she is alone and lies his way in. They have a conversation about her house and the remodel she did. She shows him around the house, and then the garage. For a moment they genuinely connect, and it appears that if they had met under different circumstances they would’ve been good friends. Then, while Danny is looking at her car he asks if she or her husband drives that car, and when he gets the answer he asks to use the bathroom. In her newly remodeled bathroom, Danny gets his revenge and leaves Amy’s house. After seeing what Danny has done, Amy comes out of her house screaming and chasing Danny. Danny has the biggest smile and we see another parallel, this time of Amy memorizing Danny’s license plate number.