How Jeremy Allen White’s ‘The Bear’ Character Is Different From Lip in ‘Shameless’

FX’s The Bear has become one of the summer’s biggest shows. Since arriving on Hulu in late June, the series, created by Christopher Storer, has earned rave reviews. The Bear stars Shameless vet Jeremy Allen White as Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto. He’s a talented chef who leaves the world of fine dining to return to his family’s Chicago sandwich shop after his beloved brother dies.

Fans are drawing similarities between Jeremy Allen White’s The Bear character and his Shameless character, though in some ways they couldn’t be more different.

Jeremy Allen White attends the Los Angeles premiere of FX's 'The Bear,' posing in a light gray suit.
Jeremy Allen White attends the Los Angeles premiere of FX’s ‘The Bear.’ | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Jeremy Allen White’s most famous characters: Lip Gallagher and Carmy Berzatto

For over 10 years, White played Phillip “Lip” Gallagher on Showtime’s smash hit Shameless. The second-eldest Gallagher sibling, Lip was a straight-A student. However, Lip’s poor decision-making often landed him in some sticky situations with his family and the law.

Meanwhile, White plays Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto on The Bear. Carmy is the tattooed, mad genius chef behind The Beef. He can typically be seen yelling out orders, frantically rushing around the kitchen, or on occasion accidentally setting things on fire. 

The similarities between Jeremy Allen White’s ‘Shameless’ and ‘The Bear’ characters

On the surface, there’s a lot in common between Lip and Carmy. Both are the naturally gifted kids of working class Chicagoland families. They smoke and struggle with things, including mental health and family problems.

In fact, upon first reading scripts for The Bear, White was concerned that there were perhaps too many similarities between Carmy and his Shameless character Lip that he was initially reluctant to accept the role.

“I think I was too concerned with what other people might think,” White told GQ in a recent interview.

Coming off his decade-long run on Shameless, it’s not surprising that White had doubts about playing a similar character. But eventually, the show’s premise and its snappy writing won him over.

“I also knew that if I said no to this, that whoever ended up doing it, I would hate them forever,” White added before joking: “So there was some spiteful stuff going on, too.”

The differences between Carmy and Lip

Outside of their culinary abilities, White joked that there’s one major difference between Lip and Carmy: their on-screen romances.

“Carmy’s, like, the least sexual person. In playing him, I was aware that he had no room for love,” White said of his The Bear character. “Carmy does not f***.”

Over the show’s eight episodes, Carmy doesn’t have sex or even so much as flirt. This is, of course, a stark contrast to Lip, who was frequently shown having sex with multiple women throughout his run on Shameless. 

From a performance perspective, White’s portrayal of the troubled chef on The Bear was also very different and much more personal to him than his Shameless role.

As Shameless was coming to its end after 11 seasons, White found himself unsure of where his career would go next. The actor channeled that unsteadiness into Carmy, who White admitted was “at a similar place.”

“I think that was something Carmy was really struggling with, too,” White told GQ. “We kind of found each other at a similar place. He knew he’s really gifted at this thing, but he could be painfully insecure about his abilities as well. I was feeling a little insecure at the end, too.”

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