Beefin'

This controversial casting announcement has Charles Melton fans hot and bothered

Our love for May December star Charles Melton knows no bounds—which is why we were thrilled to learn that the Riverdale alum will be joining the cast of Beef Season 2.

If you’ll recall, when Lee Sung Jin’s A24-produced masterwork premiered last Spring, it was met with acclaim from all sides. The series—whose first season starred Steven Yeun and Ali Wong—dove into the pressures Asian American men and women face at home, in the workplace, and within the diaspora. The 10-episode season started with a bang—literally!—and kept audiences gasping until the dramatic conclusion.

Now, fans are finally getting what they want: a second helping of Beef. This morning, the cast for the show’s second season was announced, and feelings were mixed.

While fans were thrilled to see Charles Melton take his rightful place in the Beef universe, other questions rose up. Specifically, why is Melton the only Asian American actor in the main cast? Is Beef pivoting to more of a White Lotus model? What is happening!

While the dramatic thrust of Beef season one was a universal one—getting into a road rage scenario with someone outside of a home improvement outlet—critics agreed that what made the series so powerful was its insistence on staying with its characters’ massive burdens of guilt, shame, and pain related to their Asian American identities. The show used Danny and Amy’s conflict as a way to rebuke and explode the “model minority” myth that harms so many AAPI folks and contributes to widespread oppression.

So to see Melton as the only Asian cast member in the announcement felt disheartening. Though we know that Beef season 2 will focus on “two feuding couples,” it’s unclear how the second season will relate—if at all—to the themes of the first.

After the initial shock, fans started wondering just how gay the series might get.

They also noticed something else relevant to the gays—namely the reunion of Brokeback Mountain stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway.

That said, the potential queerness can’t erase the fact that fans were excited to see more AAPI stories told in upcoming seasons of Beef.

If you’ll recall, Beef‘s triumphant first season was not without controversy. When the show first aired, Ali Wong caught a lot of heat for failing to speak out against her Beef costar David Choe, whose insensitive comments from a past comedy special had recently come to light.

But this pivot didn’t kill the controversy—if anything, it amplifies it.

We’ll be watching Season 2 of Beef—but for Charles Melton only.

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