Danny Cho In ‘Beef,’ Explained: The Frustrations Of The Not Being Seen In Season 1

Lee Sung Jin’s Netflix series “Beef,” tells the tale of two angry people who encounter each other outside a hardware store and start a year-long blood feud, trying to one-up each other throughout the 10 episodes. Danny Cho (Steven Yeun), a small-time construction company owner, tries his best every day so that his life holds some meaning and all that he’s done has some value. However, despite his best attempts, he’s seldom seen, and his actions are rarely noticed, and this forms one of his primary regrets. Here’s an in-depth look into the character of Danny Cho as we explore how sadness and frustrations make someone deeply selfish.

Danny Cho, a Korean man running a construction business in LA, is the run-of-the-mill blue-collar worker who’s always a day late and a dollar short in the eyes of others. Life has quickly passed him by, and before he knows it, he’s getting older, and the responsibilities won’t stop pressing him down. Torn between the need to be a good son to his parents and provide them a house in the land they desire in a place like LA and wanting to fulfill his own desires of being an affluent person who doesn’t have to spend his days alone, Danny comes off as a pitiable and at times pathetic character who doesn’t have much going for him. His brother Paul whiles away his time playing video games and living rent-free in the apartment Danny struggles to maintain, while he’s intermittently jealous of how carefree a life his brother leads. The first time we meet Danny, it’s probably one of his worst days, and his temper shoots off the edge when a rude driver in a shiny white Benz honks at him and flips him off. If you knew Danny, you’d be shocked to see how he chooses to react to this uncalled-for insult. The usually mild-mannered Danny goes off the rails and begins chasing the Benz by pulling out all stops, and it quickly turns into a road rage incident.

This is what frustration does to people; after being punched and kicked by everyone for who knows how long, Danny directs his anger into teaching a rude driver a lesson and foregoes his own safety to do so. His personal and professional lives, which were both suffering, take a turn for the worse when this new feud barges into his life. During the day, Danny is forced to put on a smile so as not to irk the customers who hate him behind closed doors, and by night, he tries to inhale carbon monoxide from the several hibachi grills he’d purchased to die peacefully. However, when that fails, he tries stuffing food till his heart gives out, but even that doesn’t work. When he finally does find the foe and exact revenge by stinking up their washroom, Danny finds his self-confidence slowly returning, but it’s dashed when the nemesis ruins his truck. Having grown up with hopes and dreams, it kills Danny to witness how an old flame of his finds comfort in the arms of her husband as he warmly hugs his pregnant wife. Jealousy makes Danny’s ears ring as he watches people succeed everywhere around him, and he’s stuck in the same place for who knows how long.

It sounds ridiculous, but it’s the enmity with his nemesis, a rich Asian woman named Amy Lau, that gives Danny’s life purpose. He fights with his brother Paul and is determined to exact revenge by setting on fire the white Benz, which is the source of all his anger. Danny pours gasoline on the car and is about to set it on fire when an innocent giggle from the inside jolts him back to his senses. Vengeance had driven him blind enough to set a car on fire with a little girl inside. Remorse fills his heart, and he finds refuge in the Orange County church as he cries his sins away and even experiences the presence of Jesus. Danny’s life doesn’t improve, but he still tries doing the right thing for as long as possible and cancels the plans to rob a sculptor named George Nakai, the kind-hearted husband of his foe, Amy. For the first time, George says kind things to Danny, and he immediately regrets his decision to rob the clueless artist. Goodness always existed in Danny, and even though it was hidden under layers and layers of bad choices and poor actions, it was at times like these that Danny’s true self would come out.

Danny is by no means a hero in the story. On several occasions, he has acted as a selfish and avaricious scumbag. The moment his interests were to be harmed as a Calabasas busybody named Naomi took it upon herself to punish the individuals from the road rage incident, Danny threw his cousin Isaac under the bus. Danny had been insulted more than once by Isaac in recent times, especially when the brute slapped Danny across the face for suggesting ideas and then threw him scraps after pocketing a significant sum of money. Although he didn’t regret his decision to remove his cousin from the picture, he was concerned that all that he’d built—a posh house for his parents, a separate apartment for Paul, and his successful construction company—could come crashing down at any moment. Incidentally, it did come crashing down, and the house he built for his parents burned down because of his own decision to install faulty wiring. However, vengeance got to Danny’s mind, and he decided to frame Amy by placing a random women’s glove in her bathroom.

This wasn’t new for Danny, either. In the past, he destroyed his brother’s university applications because his jealousy wouldn’t allow him to let his brother become a college student while he remained stuck in a dead-end construction company. However, we get to see the actual Danny Cho in the final episode of the series, where both he and Amy are stuck in the LA wilderness and throwing up constantly after eating bad berries. Danny suffered all his life trying to be seen and for someone to understand him, and all his regrets came gushing out in his dazed state. He and Amy question everything, from the existence of God to the sanity of other people, and finally come to the conclusion that they’re two people who’ve finally understood each other. After George shoots Danny while he is helping Amy back up, he ends up in the hospital with a ventilator, and Amy snuggles with him, and he hugs her back. It seems after a lifetime of sadness, frustrations, and sadness, Danny finally found someone like him.

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Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh has a master's degree in English literature from Calcutta University and a passion for all things in cinema. He loves writing about the finer aspects of cinema, although he is also an equally big fan of webseries and anime. In his free time, Indrayudh loves playing video games and reading classic novels.

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