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The Bear: Who Does Molly Ringwald Play In Season 1?

When "The Bear" made its streaming debut in the summer of 2022, it was flying very much under the radar of most television fans. That changed almost overnight once all eight episodes of restaurant dramedy were available to binge on Hulu. And once people caught on to what creator Christopher Storer had cooked up for Season 1, "The Bear" transformed from an under-the-radar hit to a low-key pop culture sensation.

The Chicago-set series earned its share of cheers for lifting the veil on the sometimes soul-consuming complexities of working in and around the restaurant world. But it earned even more praise for its depiction of those afflicted by the addictions of people they love. That narrative theme was front and center throughout Season 1 of "The Bear," as central player Carmen "Carmy" Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White) came to terms with his deceased brother's own crippling addiction.

That journey, along with a major push from his sister, led Carmy to begrudgingly seek guidance at a neighborhood Al-Anon meeting. And in case you've forgotten, that first meeting was indeed called-to-order by '80s icon Molly Ringwald. The actor rose to pop culture prominence in the 1980s, fronting several of John Hughes' classics of the era. Today, Ringwald remains an actor people genuinely love to see on screen. However, even diehard fans likely hadn't seen her in a role quite like the one she played on "The Bear."  

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Ringwald's monologue helped set up Jeremy Allen White's talked-about scene

As it was, Molly Ringwald made only one appearance during Season 1 of "The Bear." But even if she never finds her way back into the mix, it's safe to say she still made a lasting impact on the action. That appearance came during the series' third episode, titled "Brigade." Credited solely as "Moderator," Ringwald leads the first Al-Anon meeting Carmen "Carmen" Berzatto attends. And when the struggling character takes his seat, she's already telling her own tale of addiction-adjacent woe.

Those who've seen the episode know that story is a bit of a doozy. It clearly grabs the attention of Carmy, who seems to seize on the moment as a catalyst for his own journey of recovery. Part of the scene's potency undoubtedly results from Ringwald's savvy play at undercutting its inherent drama, giving more of a factual recounting of her own struggles with her husband's addiction.

Not surprisingly, Jeremy Allen White takes a similar approach when Carmy tells his own tale to the support group later in the season. That devastating, 7-minutes long monologue has been widely praised as one of the series' strongest moments since it first aired, likely fueling White's string of awards season wins. And it's easy enough to argue Ringwald's brief appearance helped lay the foundation for it all.