The Shipping Must Stop: The Bear Edition

The Shipping Must Stop: The Bear Edition

By Anne T. Donahue

This week, season three of The Bear finally premieres. And while I have issues with full seasons of television being released at the same time (bring back weekly episodes of everything, I beg you), I will overlook it to pivot to an issue that’s cropped up in almost every interview with Jeremy Allen White on this particular press tour: whether his Bear character Carmy will ever hook up with Sydney (Ayo Edebiri).

Please, for the love of all that is good, let’s stop this.

I understand where it all came from. Pam and Jim. Monica and Chandler. Jess and Nick. Janine and Gregory (maybe – it’s early days). These are characters we watched fall in love via the magic of TV writers, and because most of us are delusional, we came to believe this was a normal thing to have happen and thus began demanding it to excess.

Is it nice when two characters we already love realize they love each other? Sure! Do friends sometimes realize they’ve been in love the whole time and embark on a romantic future? Of course! Do we need this to be the thing that happens in every TV show and/or movie? Absolutely not. And while we’re at it, it’s super weird to ask actors playing a role whether they “ship” their co-star’s character. We are adults. We pay taxes. None of us need to involve ourselves so emotionally into our favourite TV shows, even if they’re a reprieve from having to be adults and pay taxes. Also, if every friend pairing fell in love, life would be a nightmare.

The Shipping Must Stop: The Bear Edition

A nightmare! None of us would be able to keep our jobs! We’d ruin other friends’ relationships! School would be a journey through hell! And I say this because I’ve been there! We’ve all been there! The entirety of my twenties was spent under the belief that every guy I was friends with would inevitably become my life partner. “We’re just like Pam and Jim!” I would announce to my friends, knowing deep in my soul that my reality was absolutely the opposite. At one point, I worked at a bank, and I was so desperate for a Jim-Pam reality that I settled on a financial advisor who owned a house with his girlfriend because I thought our one joke about Arrested Development meant we were meant to be. It was weird and I was weird for doing it! (But not as weird as when I invited one dude best friend (“best friend”?) to my place for a weekend and he spent the whole two days talking about another girl he liked, which convinced me we were actually just like Lalaina and Troy in Reality Bites, he just hadn’t realized it yet.) (And obviously nothing happened. Nothing was ever going to happen. Reality Bites is just a really good movie that I’ve somehow made my entire identity.)

Shipping culture has ruined us and made us all absolutely bananas. Sometimes friends do realize they want to be more, but for the most part it’s the emotional equivalent of sticking a rod in somebody’s bicycle wheels when they’re heading down a hill. When Harry Met Sally is a wonderful movie, but it is a perfect, beautiful work of fiction that should not be a roadmap for a romantic partnership. Carmy and Sydney should by no means realize they’re in love with each other. And we, as grown-ups, should be able to understand that ensemble comedies can thrive and exist without a will-they-or-won’t-they dynamic. (Abbott Elementary being an exception because it began with will-they-or-won’t-they, and I will follow Quinta Brunson and her vision anywhere she chooses to take me.) The Bear is a dramedy about messy, traumatized, interesting people who are already giving us more story than any one show has a right to. Let Carmy be Carmy. Let Sydney be Sydney. And for the love of all that is good, please let’s just let them be friends.

Need a little more Anne? Read more from Anne T. Donahue right here!

Tags: Anne T. Donahue, The Bear, top story, topstory

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