Should We Ship Fictional (or Real) Characters-

Warning: This post contains minor spoilers for Season 2 of The Bear.

On the internet, anything is possible—for better and for worse. It’s a virtual playground where our imaginations are meant to run wild, a place where people can talk about their attraction to the 10-foot-tall blue aliens from Avatar or which fictional TV characters they want to see end up together. Shipping, as it’s known online, is the practice of conceptualizing two people together in a relationship—the term “relationshippers” was eventually shortened to “shippers,” hence “shipping.” It’s been happening since what might feel to digital natives like the dawn of time but actually dates back to 1995, on forums for The X-Files where fans clamored for Mulder and Scully to make it official.

Today, however, the shippers are out in full force on Twitter timelines and TikTok “For You” pages thanks to the release of FX’s second season of The Bear. Users across social media are pining for the two main characters, Sydney Adamu (Ayo Edebiri) and Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White), to be endgame. To put on my Carrie Bradshaw hat, in honor of another major release yesterday—I couldn’t help but wonder, is this a plot device being teased by the show’s creators, or just another case of denizens of the internet refusing to allow a male and female character to live out their happy platonic friendship in peace?

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Should We Ship Fictional (or Real) Characters-

Since the show’s second season hit Hulu yesterday, many who binge-watched all 10 episodes have already decided that Syd and Carmy are meant to be together. The new season finds the duo collaborating to renovate the space that used to house the Original Beef of Chicagoland and open a new higher-end restaurant, The Bear, with them and their team scrambling to develop menus, get new training, and deal with problems like heaps of black mold on an impossible timeline.

Read more: The Bear Is More Delicious Than Ever in Season 2

Following the origins of shipping with Fox Mulder and Dana Scully—who do, for the record, eventually get together—people have been shipped across TV shows (like Supernatural), bands (like the boys of One Direction), and YouTube (like popular duo Daniel Howell and Phil Lester, or “Phan” in shipping terms). Whether cultivated with intent or completely in the imaginations of fans, shipping can be a valuable marketing tool. According to PsychologyToday, “​​The creators of Friends discovered something revolutionary from a marketing point of view: You can vastly increase your viewers if you manage to get them to ship a couple on your show—in the case of Friends, Ross, and Rachel.”

The Carmy-Syd support is widespread on Twitter, where many tweets point back to a specific moment in the second season when Carmy has a panic attack and the thought of Sydney calms him down. There’s also a moment in which the two are under a table together, and Carmy says that he wouldn’t be able to run the restaurant without Sydney. Some see “platonic soulmates,” and others see inevitable romance. Either way, as one viewer points out, it’s “emotionally charged.”

One Twitter user wrote, “If we aren’t supposed to ship Sydney and Carmy in the bear, then WHY did he have a panic attack thinking about Claire and immediately calm down when he thought of Syd?” Or TikTok, fan edits have slowly started creeping onto the app.

While the two are constantly in close proximity (such is the nature of working in food service) and share some tender moments on the show, Edebiri has spoken openly about not wanting the two characters to be together. During an interview with Us Weekly on the red carpet for the Golden Globe Awards, she said it was nice to do something that felt different with Sydney and Carmy’s characters because “there aren’t many platonic male/female relationships, and they got a lot of trauma on both sides.”

Edebiri is not the only detractor of a potential “SydCarmy” ship. Theories have been swirling around the Twitter-sphere that Edebiri’s character is a lesbian. Some have noted Sydney’s tension with Ebon Moss-Bachrach’s Richie. And multiple tweets argue that Carmy and Sydney are “too interesting to be reduced to love interests.” The show, after all, is a workplace dramedy fueled more by familial and intra-kitchen drama than any kind of romantic subplot, though the introduction of a new character played by Molly Gordon introduces a more obvious possibility for Carmy’s love life.

The “SydCarmy” critics have started to take note of the fandom’s growing devotion to making the ship happen, with one arguing, “This is not that type of show, take yo ass to Netflix,” an apparent knock on some of the streamer’s algorithm-driven romances as compared to the prestige feel of The Bear. Another said, “[you] gotta be a different type of wicked to ship anyone on the bear. This show is about anxiety and sandwiches.”

The show is definitely stress-inducing, in more ways than one, and fans now begin the wait to hear if it’s coming back for a third season. If Season 2 reaches anywhere near the highs of the first season, it’s highly likely it will return, and we’ll have more time to see where life leads Sydney and Carmy—regardless of whether it’s into each other’s arms.

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