What did The Bear’s review say? AI’s version


Be warned: if you haven’t watched the season finale of The Bear, skip this spoiler-infested article.

The season 3 finale of The Bear ended on a major cliffhanger, leaving much to be desired. We tried to make sense of this ending with the help of ChatGPT, Claude, Gemini, and Llama.

The problem's premise was simple: the future of a fictional restaurant, ‘The Bear,’ orchestrated by troubled genius Carmy Berzatto, depends on a Chicago Tribune review.

Uncle Jimmy, the restaurant’s chief investor and a family friend, said he’ll pull the plug if the review comes out negative.

The season ends with Carmy getting a Google alert with the much-anticipated review. However, all the viewers get are snippets of the review, laced with contradictory terms like “confusing,” “chef’s brilliant,” “delicious,” and “potential,” followed by the main character cursing at the Chicago night.

If it were 2022, we’d just stop and patiently wait for another season to bring more clarity. Yet, it’s 2024 and we can utilize artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots to try to make sense of the fractured restaurant review.

The fictional article’s excerpts, consisting of two-word phrases, full words, single letters, and half-words, were painstakingly transcribed by NPR’s Linda Holmes.

We tasked four different chatbots, OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Anthropic’s Claude, Google’s Gemini, and Meta’s Llama, with decoding what the actual review might have looked like.

Each of the bots received the same prompt:

“I have pieces of a review of a fictional Chicago restaurant named The Bear. Its lead chef is Carmen Berzatto. I will provide you with the pieces of the review I have, and I need you to piece the whole review for me. Write it in a style used by food critics in the US, specifically in Chicago. The restaurant is upper scale, aiming to get a Michelin star and the review is critical for them.”

The results were surprisingly coherent.

Claude: The Bear: a culinary rollercoaster in Chicago's fine dining scene

The first chatbot opened with praise for Berzatto, proceeding to note “dissonance between the restaurant's aspirations and its execution.” The latter is a chief theme of the whole season as Carmy’s decision to serve a different menu every night wrought a wedge between ground staff and the kitchen as well as the chef and sous-chef Sydney.

Claude continues to focus on the chef’s creativity, at the same time discussing that some of the dishes don’t meet the ambitions of the restaurant. The bot concludes that the restaurant “demands attention” yet has space for growth.

Claude the bear
Claude's review.

ChatGPT: a culinary journey at The Bear: ambitious yet inconsistent

The results from the OpenAI’s bot were less positive, ending the first paragraph with “my experience was a mixed bag of highs and lows, leaving me with a sense of dissonance.” Again, Carmy’s “creative prowess” comes into focus, emphasizing that “the execution often fell short.”

ChatGPT the bear
ChatGPT's review.

Gemini: The Bear: a tale of two kitchens

Google’s chatbot followed a similar pattern, noting The Bear’s ambition mixed with “sloppy presentation.” Interestingly, Gemini mentions the faults of the service. Another important byline of Season 3 is that this season is full of conflict between Carmy and his Maître D'hôtel and best friend Richy.

gemini the bear
Gemini's review.

Llama: The Bear: a talented chef's inconsistent vision

Meta’s AI came back with the most negative of all four, as its version of the review leads by saying that the “experience, however, was a rollercoaster of ups and downs, leaving me feeling disappointed and craving more.”

Again, in tune with the season’s themes, Llama’s review hints that Carmy’s undoubtedly a skillful chef but some dishes “felt overdone and tired, like a stale attempt at innovation.” The latter is particularly interesting as Berzatto had a discussion about this with Sydney earlier in the season.

Llama's review

What to expect in The Bear season four?

The key underlying note all four chatbots came back with is that The Bear’s review highlights the brilliance of the chef yet hints that his staff and servers can’t meet Carmy’s ambition.

While the review might not prompt Uncle Jimmy to pull the plug, it would undoubtedly deepen the wedge between Carmy and Sydney, who was already on the verge of leaving.

If AI’s version is anything to go by, the fictional review of a fictional restaurant would be somewhat of a Pyrrhic victory for Berzatto: he’d get the recognition he craves but at the expense of his friends and family.

Fans of the show, me included, will just have to wait and see after the new season drops, hopefully, as soon as possible.