This is a dream team right here – Ali Wong and Steven Yeun last night at the premiere of Beef, as Beyoncé ordered… 

“Middle fingers up

Hold ‘em hands high

Wave it in his face

Tell him boy bye 

Sorry, I ain’t sorry”


These two have nothing to be sorry about. Because Beef is SO f-cking good, I can’t wait to talk more about it after it drops on Netflix on April 6. The story is based on showrunner Lee Sung Jin, who’s just been announced as the screenwriter for Marvel’s Thunderbolts. This is the movie with Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Contessa Valentina maybe teaming up with a group of antiheroes that include Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes and Florence Pugh’s Yelena. Steven Yeun, by the way, has also been cast, though his role has been kept a secret so far. 

But the point is, Lee Sung Jin, aka “Sonny”, is booked and busy, and after Beef comes out, there will only be more opportunities because everyone is buzzing about this show. It’s currently sitting at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and I’m pretty sure, once the episodes drop next week, it’ll light up social media.

The story is based on Sonny’s own experience with road rage. Ali and Steven play two people involved in a road rage incident that goes wayyyyyyy beyond their initial encounter. It’s funny, it’s dark, it’s an emotional excavation… and basically my fantasy. Because I have a LOT of road rage, so much that I’ve actually stopped driving to work the last two weeks and taking transit instead because I need to chill and get away from people changing lanes without looking, making right turns without hugging the curb, hogging the entire road because they’re driving a car that’s too big for them, it just never stops, and I’m spending way too much time imagining how I can tell them about themselves, rolling down the window telling them to go back to driving lessons. Watching Beef, then, is kinda cathartic. Because I desperately want to do what these two people do to each other in the first couple of episodes. 


Without giving anything away, though, of course Beef is more than that. There’s a reason why these two take it to such extreme levels, and we’re exploring their anger with them. Steven, as usual, is heartbreakingly effective here as a contractor debilitated by disappointment, and he’s an Oscar nominee so it’s not surprising that his performance is outstanding. But it’s Ali who’s the revelation here because, no doubt, she’s still hilarious, but she’s also serving drama, too. And for me, what’s so exhilarating about her performance is the force of her anger. It’s seeing a woman give into her fury, express it in the most unhealthy, disturbing ways. 

We don’t get enough portraits of women’s rage in pop culture – and women have SO MUCH TO BE ANGRY ABOUT – and we certainly do not get enough portraits of Asian women’s anger in pop culture. As Diamond Yao wrote in a piece for Autostraddle back in 2021, as incidents of anti-Asian violence were making headlines around the world:

“For Asian women in the diaspora, the denial of our anger exists at the toxic intersection of sexism and the model minority stereotype, enforced on two fronts by white Western culture and from within our own communities. The prohibition of our rage actively endangers us. But attempts to suppress our anger also reveal its power: it poses a threat. Our anger can be a tool of resistance in a post-pandemic world. Instead of burying or relinquishing it, we should learn to use it.


We saw an Asian woman reckoning with her anger and frustration in Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All At Once. And she went on to win an Oscar for it. We’ll soon be seeing Ali Wong bring another portrayal of an Asian woman’s anger and frustration in Beef. Which *should* be a series that contends for awards as we get deeper into the year based on the critical acclaim it’s receiving so far. Ted Sarandos was at the premiere last night, and there are some signs that Netflix has some confidence that Beef could be a contender, with Steven and Ali covering the new issue of Emmy Magazine:   

Steven Yeun and Ali Wong cover Emmy Magazine

Here’s the Beef trailer. I can’t wait for you to see it so we can further unpack.