the bear

The cast of The Bear

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Netflix's The Crown

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FX's The Americans

Fill 1
Fill 1
June 27, 2024
Online Originals

The Bear's Abby Elliott Shares Her Favorite TV Shows

For My 7 Shows, the actor reveals why she can't get enough of The Crown and The Americans.

Every TV family boasts a certain level of endearing dysfunction. And then there are the Berzattos of Chicago, as seen in the instant-classic “Fishes” episode of The Bear. During one tense Christmas dinner, tears were shed, confessions were made, anger was unfurled and a fork was thrown like a javelin.

Abby Elliott, who plays Natalie “Sugar” Berzatto — younger sister of brilliant-but-tortured chef Carmy (Jeremy Allen White) — still isn’t over it. “I remember our producer came up to me after and asked if I had fun,” she says of the show's season two installment from 2023, which featured guest stars like Jamie Lee Curtis, Sarah Paulson and Bob Odenkirk. “And I was like, ‘No, I didn’t.’ It was so sad! I think everybody felt the same way because it was so real.”

But for season three of the edgy and much-acclaimed Emmy-winning comedy (streaming now on Hulu), Elliott teases that peace is on the menu. With Natalie pregnant and Carmy’s The Bear restaurant finally up and running, “I think there is hope for the new generation,” she says. “Even though Carmy is dealing with his nuclear family and the family of the restaurant crew, everyone does love each other.”

Elliott herself is a third-generation performer who’s proud of her deep comedic bloodline. Her grandfather, Bob Elliott, was one half of the radio and TV comedy duo Bob and Ray. (After their 1951-53 variety series ended, he popped up in Happy Days, Newhart and voiced an episode of King of the Hill.) Her dad, Chris, is an actor, comedian and writer best known for his irreverent sketches on NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman and his 1990 Fox sitcom Get a Life. All three have appeared on Saturday Night Live, with Abby’s four-year tenure ending in 2012.

Still, her TV tastes run the gamut in all genres — including cooking shows, natch. “You know, I do find comfort in watching them!” she admits. “But there are also months when I don’t even turn on my TV.” During her busy press tour in New York City, she turned in her My Seven Shows for the Television Academy.

I Love Lucy (1951-57, CBS)

I watched I Love Lucy a lot the year that my dad was on SNL [1994-95] because my mom would let us stay up a little later to watch him, and Nickelodeon would turn into Nick at Night. That’s when I fell in love with Lucille Ball. She was such a force and just so beautiful, so funny. She did her own thing and did not care. Whenever that show came on, I was so happy. I was young so, like, a lot of the jokes probably went over my head. But because of her delivery and her character, I was able to connect to it and laugh.

Get a Life (1990-92, Fox)

My dad starred, wrote and produced it, and my grandfather played his dad. I remember being on the set and not really understanding that concept. But looking back on it now, the show was so funny. Honestly, it was one of the first alt-comedy shows that ever existed. I don’t think Fox fully understood it — my dad has said that the network wanted it to be something like the new Cosby Show. Instead, it was more of my dad's sensibility and his wacky persona. So, it completely shaped me. We still have the VHS box set.

The Americans (2013-18, FX)

I do gravitate toward lighter shows, but this was just so well-acted and beautifully done, with so many twists and turns. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are fantastic in it together. I love seeing the chemistry of these two people — I know they’re together now in real life — and seeing them take on different personas. I also thought the whole thing with the [FBI agent] neighbor [Noah Emmerich] was just really, really cool. He was such a layered character that I became torn. Like, who was the enemy? At times I was rooting for him over them!

Catastrophe (2015-19, Channel 4)

This show is brilliant. It was Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan and dealing with . . . well, they accidentally get pregnant and then fall in love and decide to commit to having a child together. And the show focuses on all the new issues they're dealing with. I can personally relate to that because I have two little kids. It’s also laugh-out-loud funny and set in London. That’s aspirational to me, because at some point, I would love to live in London, too. Rob is an American!

The Crown (2016-23, Netflix)

Okay, I have seen every episode. All the women that played the queen were absolutely fantastic. I'm a huge Olivia Colman fan, and I loved her in it. And the actors just did their thing — I love Helena Bonham Carter and could watch Gillian Anderson all day. Oh, and I'm obsessed with British television and British royalty. This is a combination of the two, which made it so fun.

Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy (2021-23, CNN)

Yeah, it's really a travel-food combo show. He goes to different regions in Italy because he's Italian, and he tries all these cuisines. There are certain foods you can tell he doesn't like. But for the most part, the food looks just absolutely rustic and beautiful. Then there's Stanley Tucci on top of it, and he’s one of our greatest actors. I could always watch him.

The Lost Kitchen (2021-present, Magnolia Network)

Erin French is a chef, and she runs a restaurant in Freedom, Maine, called the Lost Kitchen. You have to send in a postcard in order to get a reservation, and she draws the postcard out of a hat and personally calls you and leaves a message saying that you’ve been invited. She makes beautiful-looking food. I have not sent a postcard in, but I really want to go. I've seen every episode, and I go back to it a lot because my family is from Maine, and it evokes a lot of what we love about the state. I like to watch when I’m missing my family — and when I’m hungry, of course. This interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity

The Bear is streaming now on Hulu.

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