In ‘The Bear,’ Carmy and Sydney are co-workers, not love interests. Will fans, begging for a romance, be satisfied?

Is a "SydCarmy" romance in the cards? The show has enough tension as it is.

Ayo Edebiri Jeremy Allen White as Sydney and Carmy in Season 3 of "The Bear." (©FX on Hulu / Courtesy Everett Collection)

The Bear just dropped its entire third season on June 26, giving fans 10 new episodes that chronicle the goings-on at the show’s titular restaurant, including the relationship between two central characters.

The intimate friendship and co-worker dynamic between chefs Carmy and Sydney is a core part of The Bear, but some viewers vehemently disagree about whether it’s meant to be romantic or platonic. Their bond has inspired so much speculation over the last few years, actors Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri had to blatantly squash rumors that things get romantic between their characters.

“There was no talk in the rooms about any romantic implications” between Carmy and Sydney, White said at a June 24 press conference ahead of Season 3’s premiere. They’re not the only ones to shut down speculation about that, either. Showrunner Christopher Storer spoke out just one month after the show premiered in 2022, telling Esquire that the “friendship” and creative partnership between the characters is paramount. Per Vulture, writers and actors on the show have told the media at least eight times that “SydCarmy” just isn’t going to happen.

Rooting for a romance between people or characters is known online as “shipping.” The concept has had an impact on how viewers engage with content for many years, “endgame” characters who get together (like Ross and Rachel on Friends) and those that don’t (like Jo and Laurie in Pride and Prejudice).

Shipping can drive engagement and foster community among viewers — especially as the internet makes it easier to discuss our favorite things with fellow fans around the world — but it can also lead to disappointment.

Given how many people involved with The Bear have said that shipping Sydney and Carmy is a waste of time, their engagement with the show will almost certainly end with dismay. Still, some fans persist.

There’s a scene in the second season of The Bear in which Carmy and Sydney share an intimate (but platonic) moment underneath a table. When they take a break from the chaos involved in opening their revamped high-end restaurant to fix a faulty piece of furniture together, Sydney assures Carmy that he could open the restaurant without her.

“I couldn’t do it without you,” Carmy replies. “I wouldn’t even want to do it without you. You know, you make me better at this.”

Ayo Edebiri and Jeremy Allen White in Season 2 of
Ayo Edebiri and Jeremy Allen White in Season 2 of "The Bear." (Chuck Hodes / ©FX on Hulu / Courtesy Everett Collection)

Sydney and Carmy’s shippers find this to be romantic — but it also could be portrayed as a meaningful partnership between co-workers, like Peggy Olson and Don Draper in Mad Men, or Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy in 30 Rock.

But there are also a slew of will-they-or-won’t-they office romances between characters throughout TV history that might be giving these shippers hope, like Jim and Pam on The Office, or more recently, Gregory and Janine on Abbott Elementary. Those storylines often include false starts, the dissolution of romantic tension in favor of relationships and subverted expectations.

“When they speak to each other under the table in Episode 9, it’s such a beautiful scene, and it is a scene about partnership, but not a romantic partner,” White told Variety about the scene in 2023.

The Ringer’s Danny Heifetz wrote that if the writers suddenly changed their minds and decided Carmy and Sydney belong together romantically, it wouldn’t feel “shoehorned in” because they have been laying “breadcrumbs from the start.”

Fans on social media have noticed those breadcrumbs — Carmy is sensitive to Sydney’s emotions, and Sydney keeps Carmy stable. They give each other thoughtful gifts and develop their own language. The first episode of Season 3 reveals Sydney’s favorite meal ever is one Carmy prepared before they even knew each other.

Though the show has established another love interest for Carmy in his childhood friend, the well-adjusted Claire, some fans just don’t feel the chemistry between them like they do for Carmy and Sydney.

For some fans, the intimacy and apparent soulmate bond between the two chefs is best as a really close platonic one. Much of Carmy’s journey through the third season is dealing with paralyzing grief that is damaging his friendships and working relationships.

The premise of the show is inherently tragic — Carmy leaves his high-profile chef job to take over the sandwich joint his brother left to him after he took his own life. What he needs more than anything is the unconditional care of a friend.

Huffpost’s Marina Fang wrote that platonic intimacy between multiple characters is explored in The Bear, between old friends and new co-workers, or new friends and old co-workers. Colleagues and friends-of-friends mentor each other. As the show goes on, more of those dynamics are explores. Sydney and Carmy’s relationship just happens to be the one at the center.

Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri in Season 2 of
Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri in Season 2 of "The Bear." (Chuck Hodes / ©FX on Hulu / Courtesy Everett Collection)

Though The Bear’s co-showrunner Joanna Calo told The Hollywood Reporter after Season 2 was released that she was surprised by how badly fans online wanted the duo to get together. She admitted she was even tempted to encourage a “hook up,” but Storer quickly shut her down.

“He was totally right, but I think what I was getting at was that these relationships are complicated,” she said. “I’ve heard people use the term ‘work wife’ ­— there are relationships in our lives that have all different meanings, and we sometimes really rush to characterize everything very cleanly and there’s something beautiful about acknowledging how messy our lives really are and just how enmeshed so many of our relationships are.”

All signs indicate that fans yearning for Sydney and Carmy to get together will be disappointed with what plays out by the show, but even its own showrunners promise the relationship will be “messy,” just like real -life.