Jeremy Allen White, left, Lionel Boyce and Ebon Moss-Bachrach in “The Bear.” (FX)

Arts and Entertainment

Opinion: Syd and Carmy from FX’s ‘The Bear’ — romantic or platonic?

A prominent relationship in "The Bear" took viewers by storm. Where do you stand on the "ship?"
<a href="" target="_self">Niara Knox</a>

Niara Knox

November 7, 2023
If you’ve been on any social media platform as of late you have probably seen at least one edit of Sydney and Carmy’s relationship the FX series “The Bear.” The discourse on whether the pair are romantic or platonic has split the fandom and caused a divide between fans who just want the couple to kiss already, and fans who want proper representation of a platonic male and female relationship. I’m here to offer my two cents.

I originally watched “The Bear” season 1 when it came out back in June 2022 and I instantly fell in love with the show. The fast-paced, often chaotic nature of the series made it addicting to watch and each of the characters is incredibly fleshed out and complex making them incredibly easy to identify with and become attached to.

Although it may not have been intentional, another thing that hooked me to the show was the chemistry between Jeremy Allen White’s, Carmy, and Ayo Edibiri’s Sydney. Although it wasn’t intentional every conversation Syd and Carmy had seemed incredibly intense and intimate. The way Carmy would look at Sydney during ordinary culinary tasks had me and many other people, sensing a deeper connection between them than the platonic one the show was giving us.

As their relationship developed and they shared meaningful conversations and built trust, and began to rely on each other more and more this chemistry and tension only increased. Two notable moments for me in season 1 were outside the restaurant when Carmy notices something is off with Syd and asks her what’s going on (while soulfully gazing at her might I add). This prompts them into a conversation about how Carmy left Syd to manage the restaurant when she needed his support and ends with him opening up to her about why he struggles when it comes to managing the restaurant and supporting people. This causes them to reach a mutual understanding of one another.

Second, during the season finale after (spoiler alert) Carmen finds a huge sum of money hidden in tomato sauce cans, Sydney returns from having quit the restaurant in a previous episode and when she walks through the door to find everyone opening cans Carmen stops everything his doing to look at her for what feels like a lifetime and talk to her and only her about a plan for the new restaurant. 

The deep connection the two of them share is further explored in season 2. For example, when Carmy is having a panic attack a montage is shown of things that are causing the panic being the restaurant, his family, and even his girlfriend, and the clips that are shown that are helping him calm down are all clips of Sydney which wasn’t done by accident by the editors, Sydney was the one who brought him back.

Possibly the most romantic tension charged scene the entire season is when the two are under a table, fixing it, and have a conversation on their fears as they’re close to reopening the restaurant and take turns reassuring each other that they weren’t alone. The scene is incredibly intimate as he tells her she “deserves his full focus” and that he “wouldn’t want to do it without you”. Viewers can’t deny that the two have a soulmate-like relationship but if that relationship is romantically or not is interpreted differently by people. 

Some believe that the relationship is strictly platonic and that people shouldn’t even be shipping them because men and women should be able to have that sort of relationship without it being romantic or sexual.

Another anti-ship argument is that Carmy is too emotionally unavailable and needs therapy more than he needs a girlfriend. Another reason people don’t ship Syd and Carmy is because they would rather Syd be with the nicer, more emotionally stable Marcus then with Carmy. I think all  of these arguments are valid but I respectfully disagree. 

For one, although I do believe that platonic male/female relationships are important I think there’s enough representation in the show without needing it from Sydney and Carmy. We have Tina and Ibra, Cousin and Sugar, and Tina and Carmy who all represent platonic male and female relationships and don’t have the romantic tension that Syd and Carmy have.

I don’t think it fair to neglect their chemistry because they should represent a “platonic soulmate” ideal that fans want from them. Secondly, saying they shouldn’t be together because they ship Carmy more with therapy then with Syd, however true it might be, isn’t fair to the characters. The reason people ship them so hard is because they are one in the same. They both struggle with the same things and are in it for the same reasons.

Saying the people who struggle aren’t worthy of love and finding someone who understands them isn’t fair to anyone with mental health issues and especially these characters because no ones going to understand them more than each other. Lastly, as much as I love Marcus and Syd, and will most of the time root for Black love I just can’t do it here.

Though I believe that Marcus does have romantic feelings for Syd I don’t think she feels the same way about him. This became evident to me in season 2 when he asked her out and she politely declined his offer. I believe Sydney feels more for Carmy than she does for Marcus. 

All that being said I don’t necessarily want them to be together right away. I do agree that they are in one way or another soulmates, and if they pursue a romantic relationship in the place they are now it would put a strain on their working relationship and the outcome of the restaurant they both love so much.

I believe they do have romantic feelings for each other but I don’t necessarily think these feelings should be acted upon. I love a good slow burn and that is exactly what I want from this relationship. I want angst and longing and stolen glances that ultimately result in the couple being endgame but I think it should be a natural development over time. 

I urge everyone to watch the show and form your own opinion on whether Carmy and Syd are romantic or platonic, while shamelessly enjoying the hundreds of edits on TikTok. I can’t wait to see how this relationship progresses and which side of the fandom wins out in the end.