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The Bear: Will season 3 just be a case of diminishing returns?

Should we be looking forward to The Bear season 3?

Press still from The Bear
Image credit: FX

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I loved The Bear season one. It may even be up there with my favorite television seasons of all time. It was sleek, brilliantly written, acted, and shot. And it trusted its audience without reservation.

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Season 2 was a tad less perfect on the scale. While there was some brilliance in the season (Richie's incredible arc, Will Poulter's gorgeously understated performance), it didn't move with the same confidence, and it felt like it was faltering under the weight of expectations. Which, once you've been labeled the hottest new show, is understandable. And yet, the weaker season 2 has tempered my expecations of the show. With the knowledge that a season 3 coming down the pipeline, I feel a bit mixed.

Sure, it's great to know we'll be able to follow along with Carmy and Sydney's restaurant journey, but the reason why I feel so mixed about season 3 is that season 2's failures felt so tied to the show's early success. It wasn't like the show had narrative issues or issues finding its voice, it was more like it was faltering because of the extra eyes on it. It felt like it knew it was going to reach a wider audience, so it went broader, with too much sentiment, overwriting, and a heavy hand with celebrity cameos. And a lack of confidence is a lot harder to fix than your basic shaky season.

I would love nothing more for The Bear season 3 to knock it out of the park. I think The Bear has delivered some of the best television out right now, but I don't have the same wild confidence in what might come next as I did after watching season 1. So while I'm excited about the news (and the fact that the show has nabbed a ton of Emmys this season), I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much.

The Bear seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Hulu now.

The Bear season 2, while good, lacks the trademark restraint of season 1