I think it's safe to say that it's Christmas season for everyone. It doesn't matter if you throw your tree up on November 1st, Thanksgiving weekend, or when December arrives. We are all in the endgame now for Sweet Baby Jesus' 2023rd birthday.
That being said, something seems to be missing from the holiday season. I couldn't quite figure out what it was considering I've already listened to roughly 100 hours worth of Christmas music, eaten a bunch of different Christmas cookies, and banged out my entire Mount Rushmore of Christmas movies with more than 10 days until Santa arrives. For the record my Mount Rushmore is Home Alone, Elf, Christmas Vacation and Die Hard.
It was while watching that final movie that I realized what was missing during this festive time: The nonstop healthy debate about what is or isn't a Christmas movie. So I guess I'll officially usher in the Christmas season by laying out the case for the Fishes episode of The Bear being a Christmas movie despite being in the TV section of Hulu.
1. The cast of Fishes rivals that of any Christmas movie. Jamie Lee Curtis, Bob Odenkirk, John Mulaney, AND Sarah Palson on their own fill up a movie poster real nice. But when you add the regulars from The Bear in Jeremy Allen White, Ebon Moss-Bachrach (Richie), Abby Elliott, Oliver Platt, and Jon Benthal, you have a movie poster that makes you do a double take at how deep it is and some reviewer would call the cast a Tour De Force because the movie review game can be extremely dramatic.
All the guests absolutely crush their role, with Jamie Lee Curtis being my personal front-runner for an Emmy and an Oscar since Fishes is a TV show and a Christmas movie.
2. The runtime is 1:06, which feels like the exact perfect length of a Christmas movie. Quick enough that you can bang it out without taking up an entire night during the busy holiday season but long enough to be worthy of a legit sit down with only the lights on, which we call that the Christmas Glow in the Casa de Clem.
It's also just a really fucking good
episode movie that should be more fun to watch now that you know what happens, which causes your heart not to be in your throat the entire time.
3. There are plenty of Christmas references and songs, which is something that some staples of Christmastime don't have a lot of. I rewatched Frosty The Snowman with my kids recently and it felt like more than a Winter Movie than a Christmas Movie, at least until Santa showed up at the end. Sorry if this offends.
I wanted to include the reason for the seven fishes since it ends up being the great unanswered question from the episode. So I went to the source for all answers on the internet, AKA Wikipedia, and found out there is no actual answer.
The Feast of the Seven Fishes typically consists of seven different seafood dishes. The tradition comes from Southern Italy, where it is known as The Vigil (La Vigilia). This celebration commemorates the wait, the Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus. The long tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve dates from the Roman Catholic tradition of abstaining from eating meat on the eve of a feast day. As no meat or animal fat could be used on such days, observant Catholics would instead eat fish (typically fried in oil). It is unclear when or where the term "Feast of the Seven Fishes" was popularized. The first known mention is in The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1983.
The meal includes seven or more fishes that are considered traditional. "Seven fishes" as a fixed concept or name is unknown in Italy. In some Italian-American families, there is no count of the number of fish dishes. A well-known dish is baccalà (salted cod fish). The custom of celebrating with a simple fish such as baccalà reflects customs in what were historically impoverished regions of Southern Italy, as well as seasonal factors. Fried smelts, calamari and other types of seafood have been incorporated into the Christmas Eve dinner over the years.
The number seven may come from the seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church, or the seven hills of Rome, or some other source. There is no general agreement on its meaning.
Speaking of the Seven Fishes, the scene where Sugar's boyfriend shows up with the fish cracks me up every single time I watch it.
4. You can actually make that Fishes is not only a Christmas movie but it is actually the most accurate Christmas movie because of the amount of tension that takes place between everyone during what is a pressure cooker of a holiday for so many people. I'm lucky enough to have spent many of my holidays in the extremely calm OG Casa de Clem where everyone has a similar laid back demeanor to me. But many people experienced drama-filled Christmases on par with a typical season of Surviving Barstool.
Add it all up and you have a Christmas movie that should be viewed along with all your other Must Watch Christmas movies of the season. Right Chef?
A few other notes on the episode and The Bear in general.
- The only reason I started watching the show is because Rico and Dante somehow both blogged about how good it was within an hour of each other, which sold me on it because of how ridiculous the odds of that happening are. Some people at Barstool poo poo'd the show after starting it, but I think that's because they only watched the first few episodes of Season 1.
Don't get me wrong, Season 1 is a good, if not a extremely stress-inducing show that scares you straight from ever wanting to own a restaurant. Season 2 changes pace a little in the beginning, but it truly hits another level halfway through with Fishes by showing you why these characters are so fucked up and it maybe gets even better with the next episode which is titled Forks, which had nothing to do with Mikey throwing the fork at that motherfucker (maybe literally?) Lee.
- I have no problem with the people that think Forks is better than Fishes since it made me love a character I couldn't stand in Richie. Seeing his redemption arc play out in front of our eyes was as good an episode of TV as I watched this year and actually had me wanting to go to a Michelin restaurant no matter how much it may cost or if it required me to change out of sweatpants.
It also didn't hurt having a few minutes with Olivia Colman, who is so good at her craft that she also made Secret Invasion good during her scenes.
- I am terrified at the thought of Sister Fak since she has been built up to be the WOAT and we know how crazy her brothers are (in the best way possible).
- I also need to meet The Fak himself in real life since he is not only an actor but an actual chef and restaurateur that absolutely crushes at life.
- I think I would've went to culinary school if I knew it taught you how to make Sprite. I know you can buy a two liter bottle of it for a couple of bucks. But being able to do that seems almost like a superpower to my dumb person brain.
I've also taken a couple of cooking classes and know that I wouldn't last a week in culinary school. The amount of work and prep that goes into making just one part of a meal blew my common man brain and I will forever have a whole new level of #RE2PECT for chefs after going through that and watching The Bear.