Netflix’s BEEF Has Me Seeing Myself in Ali Wong’s Character

April 17, 2023

“I hate pretending that I don’t hate things.” – Ali Wong’s character Amy Lau in Netflix’s rage fueled drama Beef.

If you aren’t watching the show BEEF on Netflix, get your mom or best friend’s password and tune in. It’s worth the binge!

Another character comments to Amy Lau, “I have a no filter policy with my inner circle. If I had to fake it all day every day, I’d go insane.”

YES. I feel like this too!  I mean thank God we have these types of friends.

My friend Nicole is one of those friends. We spent most of the day yesterday talking about how we really feel about things. How exhausting it is faking it to be polite when we’re really thinking, “I don’t want to be here right now. I don’t want to pretend to like this thing I don’t like.”

As I watched BEEF, the feeling that came to mind watching Ali Wong’s character Amy trying to hold it together is simmering.  I think women especially are simmering underneath the surface.  

We keep saying yes to things when we want to say no.

We give in or tolerate things that don’t work for us to keep the peace.

In our relationships, we aren’t speaking up or telling the other person that something they’re doing is annoying us because we don’t want to hurt their feelings.

We’re stuffing down our truth. We go against what we want to say or do. And doing this long terms creates what I like to think of as “simmering”.

Think of the feeling like a boiling tea kettle. Eventually the water will get so hot, it will come to a boil and let out a loud screeching whistle that has everyone around it running to shut it off.

Simmering is that feeling we get when we’re pushing down our truth. It’s the bottling up of emotions we’re too afraid or embarrassed to express.  

It’s feeling angry and resentful because we’ve said yes to something when we wanted to say no. 

It’s allowing someone to cross our boundaries.

It’s letting people talk us into doing things we don’t want to do.

It’s trying to be nice when we don’t feel it. It’s not wanting to come across as a bitch. 

It’s something so many of us are doing. Can you relate at all?

I realized watching the show how dishonest I am at times in my own life. I just want to be agreeable. Zen. A go-with-the-flow type of gal.

Sometimes I feel hurt or sad or angry or overwhelmed but I push it down into the tea kettle. Nice girls don’t boil over.

Nice girls don’t road rage and paint “I can’t drive” onto a perfect stranger’s truck like Amy Lau does in Beef.

Nice girls don’t whine or say, “Please don’t touch me” when they’re out with someone they don’t want to be with or not text back, or not sign up to volunteer in the classroom or donate to another cause or say, “You’re driving me crazy” to their kids or lose their cool or say, “I just don’t want to.”

No. We simmer instead.

What’s brilliant about the writing of BEEF is that all of us can relate to both Ali Wong’s character in many ways (has it all on the outside but is overwhelmed, overworked and pretending to be happy) and Steve Yeun’s character Danny, a struggling contractor (jealous of her, not realizing how unhappy she really is).

Both of them are just trying to “make it” but at what cost?

When I look around me, I see the same thing happening in our society. People working at jobs they hate. Putting in long hours that make them feel exhausted and tired.

Giving up time with their families in the pursuit of what? The bigger house? Funding a vacation? Trying to save for college?

What’s “making it” anyway?

It’s so relatable in the age of social media. We look around us and get depressed or jealous looking at what we think other people have that we don’t.

We imagine that another person is happier because of what we see on the outside when inside they’re struggling just as much as the next person.

The show has made me think a lot. I don’t like showing up inauthentically in my life. I want to be liked and accepted but I also want to set better boundaries around my time and honor myself.

I want to not say yes when it’s a no for me. Not do things out of guilt. And definitely not forgo my happiness in pursuit of “having it all”.

Having it all isn’t a thing anyway. I think we can have some of the things at expense of other things. And other times in our life, we may be willing to let go of the things we thought were once so important to have something else.

If I’m honest, I’m willing to let go of all material things just to spend real time with the people I love. At the end of my life, that’s what I’ll remember the most.

Beef is currently airing on Netflix if you want to tune in.

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  1. Dina!! I copied and pasted this one so that if I need to remind myself, all I have to do is read your words. As always, thank you thank you thank you. B.
    p.s. have the best experience in Peru! xo

  2. Wow! What an amazing story. Knowing you as I have, I had no idea you had these struggles. And these victories. I just saw someone confident and owning it. That’s an amazing journey! So much respect.
    And I agree! When we’re young I think we have expectations for ourselves that looking back we realize we’re the wrong focus.

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