Saturday , December 9 2023

A viral scene from Netflix’s ‘Beef’ nails a very specific religious experience

Netflix’s satire show “Hamburger” starts with a battle in a parking garage and never truly dials back as it winds around a story of hyper retribution between two outsiders. In any case, the show’s diversion into the functions of a Korean American church have struck an especially strong harmony with watchers.
Danny, played by Steven Yeun, goes to a church in an early episode of the 10-part series. He has arrived here as a result of a series of escalating traffic-related disagreements with Amy (Ali Wong). In a previous scene, he nearly set Amy’s car on fire, but only stopped when he saw her daughter inside. It wasn’t exactly a moment of worship.
He and the audience are transported into a visceral moment of Evangelical church worship as soon as he crosses the threshold. There’s hands on high in petition. A heartbreaking song about forgiveness is being performed by a band. The swaying worshippers are bathed in white gold as the gentle sunlight reflects off the solid wood pews.
Danny breaks down in tears without saying a word as he is overwhelmed.
Without giving away too much, Danny returns once more, and the church emerges as a new character in the show.
A few watchers say the subtleties of the congregation scenes, down to the specific version of “Astonishing Elegance” Yeun sings in one episode (propelled by contemporary Christian uber craftsman Chris Tomlin), mirror a profound comprehension of an unmistakable kind of Korean American experience: that of a worker church, frequently fervent, Protestant or both; and every good and bad thing about it.
On Twitter, sociologist and author Nancy Wang Yuen wrote, “Beef is so culturally accurate that it was triggering/cringey to watch for Asian American Christians and Exvangelicals.”
Steven Yeun, who rose to distinction playing Glenn on “The Strolling Dead” and got a Foundation Grant designation for his presentation in 2020’s theatrics “Minari,” had a ton to do with these choices. The actor’s Korean church had a significant impact on his upbringing. Yeun talked about singing and participating in services into his adulthood in a 2021 GQ interview, including Tomlin’s rendition of “Amazing Grace” that he would later hand select for the scene in “Beef.”
“(He) felt like the most acknowledged variant of himself at his Korean church, where he didn’t need to code-switch,” GQ’s Chris Gayomali composed at that point. ” Everyone in his youth group could simply move about their small, enclosed world in the fullness of who they were.
CNN has connected with Steven Yeun for additional remark.
Variety learned from “Beef” creator Lee Sung Jin that the scenes incorporated Yeun and his own church experiences.
“We tried to do an “Amazing Grace” with a happy, Korean church feel. Because that was something that my praise band would have done when I was growing up, that also made me feel very nostalgic.
Yeun and Lee told the Los Angeles Times they likewise thought back about playing and singing mainstream melodies after chapel. ” “He and I used to sing that after church, so the next thing you know, we have to put Incubus’ “Drive” in the show,” Lee stated.
Korean Americans have a unique relationship with Christianity, despite the fact that numerous immigrant groups rely heavily on faith communities. It began historically overseas: Christianity is widely practiced in South Korea as a result, in part, of European and American missionaries’ greater success in gaining the trust of Koreans living under Japanese rule than in other Asian regions already struggling under European influence.
Proceeding or starting a congregation practice in the US gave Korean workers, as so many others, a position of local area that aided safeguard their social character. In a strange twist, it also provided Korean Americans of subsequent generations with a setting in which they could investigate aspects of their identity that went beyond their ethnicity.
Ester Chung-Kim, an associate professor of religious studies at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, stated at a 2021 SOLA Conference, “One attractive feature of Asian American evangelicalism is that the focus is more on deemphasizing racial minority status and emphasizing more the primary identity as Christians.” Therefore, this also provides an explanation for some of the sociological advantages of joining ethnic-specific churches.”
The pattern is also reflected in the numbers: According to a 2012 Pew Research study, Korean Americans made up about one third of all Asian American evangelical Protestants, despite making up only about 10% of the Asian American population.
However, only those who have experienced a similar situation can truly grasp the full impact of scenes like those in “Beef.” The scenes, according to some Korean Americans, are nostalgic and slightly triggering at the same time.
Stephanie K. Kim wrote on Twitter, “Growing up, I always felt alienated from the Korean American community because I didn’t attend church.” Reliving that feeling of alienation is like watching Beef.
“Beef will make you laugh and cry if you were raised in the Korean church. Another Twitter user wrote, “They got it so right.”
The creators of “Beef” say that they didn’t want to advertise the show as being led by Asian Americans.
Lee stated to Variety, “Yes, these characters happen to be Asian Americans, but there is so much more to them than just that.”
In a similar vein, the scenes at Danny’s church are a lot more than they appear to be: It is a chapel. It’s a Korean church. It’s a place that people who remember it will either remember fondly or prefer to forget. A spot addresses a social history and, similarly as critically, incalculable individual ones.

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