Rilakkuma and Kaoru is that perfect mix of cute and profound that you’d expect from a Japanese show about a woman living with teddy-bear roommates. The first episode is about cherry blossoms, but really, it’s about loneliness.
Actually, the best term I can find to describe this show, and I’m not joking, is “slice-of-life.” The stories are endearing and intimate. You won’t be able to help but relate to the main character as she deals with being single while her friends are in relationships, her apartment building being demolished and she can’t find another affordable place to move into, her stressful job, etc.
I have never seen a show combine this many absurd elements (the woman lives with three goddamn teddy bears), with so much realism. And all of this is done in an easy, quiet tone.
When I learned about Street Food the first time, I was reluctant to sit through yet another Netflix cooking show. They’ve made so many that when I want to bring up an episode with a friend I forget if I saw it in Ugly Delicious, Chef’s Table, Salt Fat Acid Heat or others.
I can’t say that Street Food is a different format. It uses the same slow-motion takes of food, the same close-ups on chefs and the same style of interviews.
Here is the thing though. Street Food might be similar to other Netflix cooking shows, but it’s also better than them in almost every way. Much better.
It’s only 30 minutes long per episode, so it doesn’t indulge in egos or stray into unrelated stories. It doesn’t showcase kitchens where only the rich eat, like Chef’s Table often does, but stalls that are accessible to everyone. And in the best way, it connects the story of the food makers to the food.
The show is mostly about middle-aged to senior women, and people who do not make that much money. It’s not about glamorous young chefs. It’s about food stripped away from any marketing or showbiz.
Real cooking, real chefs, real diners. In its unpretentious nature, Street Food feels euphoric.