How the producers over on Friends managed to drag that one “We were on a break” joke out for seven seasons and still make us laugh– well, that’s good TV for you. Watch The Big Bang Theory or Modern Family all you like, no show on earth has given us a couple like Ross and Rachel. The most dysfunctional couple in TV history had love, hate, a Vegas marriage, a divorce, plus, a baby. Oh, and those quotes are so iconic, we can never get them out of our heads.
1994 was the year Friends hit our screens, making Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer bonafide superstars. It was also the year we met a rain-soaked Rachel Green in her wedding dress, although, there is no way that Rachel knew that she’d spend the next ten years in the Central Perk coffee house. Ross had pined for the beautiful, girl-next-door, Rachel since high school. We know that Ross can’t flirt (unless you count the pizza delivery girl “gas talk” a success). Rachel also wasn’t above pointing that out to Ross: “You know what, that’s right. We met, you flirted, and then BAM… nine years later, you had me!”
This couple was pitched as TV’s ultimate love-birds (or lobsters). There’s a problem, though. Too much about Ross and Rachel doesn’t make sense. The constant “will they, won’t they” might have made for epic TV, but it didn’t add up. Unlike the stable Monica and Chandler, Ross and Rachel had the biggest rollercoaster of relationship fails ever. Here are 15 things about Ross and Rachel’s relationship that make zero sense.
15 STILL ARGUING ABOUT “THAT BREAK”
Pro tip: If you’re writing a TV script and want it to succeed, stick in the line: “WE WERE ON A BREAK!” In season three of Friends, Ross and Rachel were officially dating. They’d had their “museum moment.” Rachel had saved those eggshells from “the first time you made me breakfast in bed.” Then again, she had also returned the necklace Ross bought her. As Rachel inched her way closer to a real career (and a certain Mark came along with it), the insanely jealous Ross just couldn’t take it anymore nor could Rachel.
Rachel: “Look, ugh, maybe we should take a break.” Ross: “Okay, fine, you’re right. Let’s take a break, let’s cool off. Okay, let’s get some frozen yogurt or something.”
Er, not that kind of “break.” Whatever the “break” was, it led Ross to hook up with the girl from the copy place. Rachel found out, and the next seven seasons pretty much wrote themselves. For a couple who were so “made for one another,” their total inability to get past this blip is the biggest red flag. Literally nearly a decade later, Ross’ son, Ben, is even saying: “You and mommy were on a break.” The next one is all kinds of true…
14 ROSS NEVER RESPECTED RACHEL
Incidentally, this was not the first time Ross “fell ASLEEEEEP.” For a guy who was so in love, Ross sure knew how to be a giant jerk. Fans were quick to pick up on the one redeeming quality that Ross seemed to lack as a boyfriend— the fact that he never really respected Rachel. In The One Where No One’s Ready, Ross straight-up yells at her. “I don’t care if they make your ankles or your knees or your earlobes look fat. Just go in there and pick something so we can go.” In this pic, Ross is so disinterested in Rachel’s biggest passion– her career, he just falls asleep. And this guy’s own career is hardly edge-of-your-seat. (Chandler: “Oh, and Ross was what, a lion tamer?”)
Ross disrespected Rachel throughout the series. When Rachel is pregnant and experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions, Ross laughs it off and makes Rachel feel like an idiot. When she can’t spell “your” and “you’re,” Ross humiliates Rachel in front of everyone. After their intoxicated Las Vegas marriage, Rachel politely asks Ross for an annulment. Ross has the nerve to say that he did it while lying the entire time. Zero respect for her career and zero respect for her interests, Ross belittled Rachel from start to finish.
13 THEY WERE CLUELESS AT COMMUNICATING
Take Monica and Chandler— a couple who could actually communicate. While Ross and Rachel’s total inability to communicate makes for funny viewing, it just doesn’t make for a believable couple. If they aren’t screaming their heads off, they’re doing the exact opposite: Standing in total silence and fist-pumping. When they actually try and communicate verbally, it turns into yelling matches that are basically entertainment for the rest of the cast.
Rachel: “I cannot BELIEVE I ever thought of getting back together. We are sooooo over!” Ross: “FINE BY ME!”
In the few moments where these two actually voice how they really feel, it’s a similar story. When Ross tells Rachel that he doesn’t want it to “never be possible,” between them, Rachel should be running into his arms for an epic on-screen smooch. What does she do? She stands there awkwardly, takes her foot, and pokes Ross’ leg. “Thanks.” Rachel clearly had a lot on her mind after the whole “break” thing. Instead of sitting Ross down like an adult and telling him her beef, she writes that letter (18 pages, FRONT AND BACK). Ross never finishes it, accidentally “agrees” to the content, and we’re back where we started. Even Joey (who basically doesn’t have an IQ) can communicate better.
12 THAT PREGNANCY REACTION
Correct us if we’re wrong, here— if you’re completely in love with someone, and they tell you that they’re expecting your baby, you’d be happy, right? At least, you wouldn’t look like this. Ross and Rachel may not have been “officially together” during one of their steamy moments, but it did come with consequences. Rachel found herself pregnant with Ross’ baby while Ross was dating Mona– whom he always managed to forget about:”MONA!”
Rachel has a pretty tough time announcing her pregnancy in general. She was super coy when a pregnancy test was found in the trash before Monica’s wedding. Phoebe assumed that Monica was expecting and Rachel just didn’t correct her. When it came to announcing the pregnancy to her dad, Rachel couldn’t even do it– Phoebe did. It was the Ross reaction that really grabbed us, though.
“Ross. I’m pregnant,” Rachel said. After the longest silence ever and Ross’ face just not changing, Rachel had to add: “And you’re the father.” Years of pining, love, whatever you want to call it… and this as a reaction? Rachel went on to have their little baby, Emma, but we aren’t forgetting this moment. We also won’t forget Ross’ angry call to the “protection” company– “YEAH, I’LL HOLD!”
11 FIRST CHANCE ROSS GETS, HE LISTS RACHEL’S FLAWS
For a guy who has been pining over Rachel since before prom, Ross really pulls out all the stops here. It’s finally happened. He’s landed the girl of his dreams. Rachel isn’t the world’s worst girlfriend, although, she can be needy. After “the break,” Ross is dumb enough to take advice from his buddies, Chandler and Joey. So, basically, a guy who dated Janice, and the biggest player in New York City. Since Ross is dating Julie (whom he met in China), his list is Rachel and Julie.
The man is clearly completely besotted with Rachel. We had already seen his ultra-possessive and controlling behavior. First chance Ross has to really build a relationship with Rachel? He’s writing lists of her flaws. Rachel is “just a waitress.” She’s “spoiled, ditzy, and too into her looks.” To be fair, when it comes to listing Julie’s flaws, the most Ross can think of is that “she’s not Rachel.” But hey, it wouldn’t be Friends without catastrophic communication. Ross manages to mess that one up nicely. Rachel finds the list, is humiliated beyond belief, plus, she reads her own name as “Rachem.” To be fair, Chandler was partly to blame, there. The next one really had fans divided…
10 RACHEL DATES JOEY
This one divided fans like nothing else. The risky choice to give Rachel and Joey a romantic storyline got seriously mixed reviews, although, a fair chunk of viewers thought it was great. We’re so far into Ross and Rachel’s endless “on-off” carousel here, it’s hard to blame Rachel for getting together with Joey. In a very “non-Joey” moment, we actually see the struggling actor in love, and it kind of seems that Rachel has real feelings for Joey.
Ross’ face when he walks in on Rachel and Joey kissing. That “look” hit an entire generation right in the stomach.
Considering Rachel had said to Ross several seasons earlier: “I never stopped loving you,” hooking up with Joey was a pretty nasty move. Both of them knew that Ross had a problem with it. Ross even spent an entire, fajita-filled episode telling everyone how “fine” he was with it. Okay, so that was, like, the best Ross delivery ever– “I’m FINE!” But everyone could see how badly he was handling it. The guy was standing listing all the things that F.I.N.E. stands for. Clearly, he was not “fine” at all. Many fans never forgave Rachel for dating Joey. Ross? He was pretty heroic, there. He let it happen and was even “okay” with it in the end.
9 ROSS DATES RACHEL’S SISTER
So, clearly, Ross isn’t any better than Rachel, here. When Rachel’s sister, Jill (played by Reese Witherspoon), arrives in NYC, fans got a nice taste of just how spoiled the Green girls are. Exactly like Rachel was in season one, Jill is 100% relying on her daddy’s credit cards– shopping for “apartment pants” and “job sweaters” don’t count as trying. Jill’s inability to stand on her own two feet isn’t Rachel’s biggest problem, though. The real problem is that Jill has her eye on Ross.
Joey: “I didn’t know we could date your sister!” Ross dating Rachel’s sister was way too much, even though he ended it. “She got all mad and broke my projector.”
Jill’s brief stay in New York is exhausting for Rachel (who is still clearly in love with Ross). “Where is my sister, and why are the drapes SHUT?” Rachel screams as she tries to peer into Ross’ apartment from across the street. Ross had taken Jill back to his apartment to look at fossil slides. Classic Ross, but dude… jerk move. Rachel even warned Ross that Jill was just dating him “to get back at her.” Ross didn’t listen. Jill kissed him, and Ross “didn’t stop it.” Seriously, these two have a lot that doesn’t make sense.
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8 THE ACTORS HAD NO CHEMISTRY
Ten years of this show gave fans more than enough chances to spot a pattern. The fact that there wasn’t all that much chemistry between some of the actors. Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer were reportedly “great friends,” according to People, but fans weren’t convinced. Something about these two was having fans make statements like: “They don’t seem like a natural couple.” It doesn’t help that there are entire seasons where they’re so busy dating other people, there’s no room for any romance.
Seriously. The number of people Ross and Rachel managed to date during their “on-off” stages in insane. Rachel had Paolo, Danny (the guy she fogged), plus, Gavin, and Tag (whose last name she didn’t even know). Ross wasn’t much better. Aside from the “girl from the copy place” who landed them in the whole “break” argument, Ross was even dating other women while Rachel was expecting his child.
Ross dated Julie and Emily (although, getting her name right at the wedding was too much). There was also the super messy girl, the girl from Poughkeepsie, Mona, Charlie, and that immature student. If anything, these two seemed more compatible with one, or more, of their various partners. Monica and Chandler on the other hand? Well, the most Chandler did was “kiss another woman,” although, that was to help out Monica with wedding photos.
7 THIS HAPPENED BEFORE RACHEL AGREES TO MARRY JOEY
It isn’t a good sitcom without terrible timing. This one gets the writers serious props, although, it still leaves the viewers at the same conclusion. By this point in Friends, Ross and Rachel had been through their countless “getting back together” (or not). They had gotten inebriated in Vegas, married, divorced, and pregnant. Joey was more of a father figure than Ross during Rachel’s pregnancy, but it was after Rachel gave birth that “Ross and Rachel” made the least sense.
“Yes.” Joey accidentally proposing to Rachel– when she had JUST had Ross’ baby. We literally have no words…
Joey finds himself alone in the delivery room with a very emotional Rachel. Somehow, Ross’ ring (in a nice little box) ends up in Joey’s hand at the same time as Joey finds himself on one knee. That only means one thing to girls. A proposal. The thing that really weirds us out here isn’t Joey’s malfunctioned move. It’s Rachel’s reply. Rachel just lies there in the bed on the brink of tears and says: “Yes.” Fans geeked out over this one for, like, ever. Was Rachel fully in love with Joey? An emotional basket-case? Joey and Rachel didn’t last, but that answer left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth.
6 THEIR PERSONALITIES ARE POLAR OPPOSITES
For some, opposites attract. We’ve seen it in The Big Bang Theory, Sex And The City, and Grey’s Anatomy. There’s no arguing that Ross and Rachel had completely different personalities. Ross was a hopeless romantic– sending Emily 72, long-stemmed, red roses kind of proved that. But he was also a giant nerd, an intellectual, and a scientist. Rachel was the kind of ditzy fashionista who could actually come out with lines like: “Cupid.”
Well– except when: “Did you know that something really boring happened to someone really ugly in the Middle Ages?” These two can’t even be on the same wavelength when they’re in the same hallway. Rachel: “You’d tell me the truth, right?” Ross: “Rach, you can’t look fat in an X-Ray.”
Their interests? Couldn’t be further apart. Ross is into dinosaurs, fossils, documentaries, and his talks on “sediment flow rate.” Rachel is into shoes, gossiping, fashion, and her own image. They even have different fears. When Rachel finally faces hers at the park after a traumatic childhood experience, fans discover that Ross is terrified of spiders. While both of them made efforts to show an interest, a lot of fans feel that their personalities were just too far apart. A lot of viewers even felt that Rachel and Joey had more in common than Ross and Rachel.
5 ROSS IS WAY TOO POSSESSIVE
A lot of fans have wondered whether Ross’ possessive streak was the cause of the whole break-up. Ross is possessive and jealous on the kinds of levels that would have most girls saying: “No way.” Ross fell in love with a fantasy of a girl he had “loved” since his teens. His actual ability to have a healthy relationship with a grown woman was zero. When Rachel finally breaks away from her job at the coffee house to work in fashion, Ross is immediately jealous of Rachel’s co-worker, Mark. If Ross isn’t sending her a zillion teddy bears and flowers, he’s sending singers to remind her that she has a boyfriend. He even shows up at her workplace.
“Ross from minute one has Rachel labeled as his,” one fan tweeted. Drowning Rachel’s office in teddy bears and roses, Ross was ridiculously possessive.
“I’m tired of having a relationship with your answering machine,” Ross said to Rachel as her career was finally moving forward. Fast-forward a few seasons, and Ross is controlling who Rachel dates while she’s pregnant. When they finally have the baby, Ross is so possessive, that he won’t even let Rachel choose a nanny that she likes. “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Ross asked. Er, maybe because those people are possessive and controlling?
4 RACHEL IS TOO NEEDY
Female sitcom characters being “needy” is nothing new. It’s also not far from the truth– women can be more emotional than men. What doesn’t make sense here though, is Rachel’s neediness compared to Ross’ personality. Rachel can be pretty independent when she wants to be. She was brave enough to cut up her daddy’s credit cards and “get one of those job things.” She climbed the ranks at Ralph Lauren and really made something of herself. When it comes to Ross though, Rachel turns into this needy, insecure girl– the opposite of who she really is.
The girl who can come out with lines like: “I’m sorry, did my back hurt your knife?” turns into a completely different person around Ross. If Rachel isn’t physically climbing onto Ross’ back like this pic shows, she’s forcing Ross to accompany her to the hospital– when they weren’t together. Rachel needs a guy who will constantly reassure her, encourage her, and tell her she looks beautiful. Instead, she’s dating a controlling guy who can’t even tell her what she needs to hear. This isn’t saying that Ross or Rachel have personality flaws. It’s saying that they’re completely incompatible. The next one makes sense for ten seasons of TV, but it doesn’t add up to a good couple…
3 LIES AND MANIPULATION
Where to start with this one? The Ross and Rachel relationship had as much love in it as it did lying and manipulation. That time when a vulnerable Ross was alone in Rachel’s apartment and she ditches her date in the hall? In she walks, all sweet and lovely, promising to make Ross some tea. Her actual plan is to catch Ross at a vulnerable moment and tell him that she’s “still in love with him.” What about Bonnie, who is no longer bald, alarmingly attractive, and suddenly a threat? When Ross ends up dating Bonnie, Rachel encourages Bonnie to shave it all off again.
Ross: “When I said I got the annulment? Yeah, I didn’t get the annulment.” Rachel to her crying sister: “Please! I invented that!”
Rachel manipulated as an art form. She had been doing it with her own parents for years. When it came to letting Ross back into her life after their “break,” she dictated the terms in a long and very manipulative letter. To be fair, Ross never finished it. “It was five o’clock in the morning, and you had rambled on for 18 pages… FRONT AND BACK!” When these two got married and Rachel asked for an annulment? Ross straight-up lied. What a mess.
2 THEY SABOTAGE EVERY CHANCE THEY HAVE
Including this one, from their one chance to actually make it as a married couple. When the gang ends up in Vegas, Monica and Chandler (who are way more stable) nearly get married. The only couple who actually gets married in Vegas is these two, though. Ross and Rachel got a little carried away with the minibar in their hotel room, giving us the glorious: “Well, hellooo Mrs. Ross! Well, hellooo Mr. Rachel!” You can’t blame an intoxicated couple for not remembering their actions. But when a supposedly loved-up couple get married and even that falls apart, what kind of couple are we looking at?
Ross and Rachel had so many chances. Ross wasn’t going to repeat the “break” mistake. Rachel continued not to trust him. Instead of being together, they just tore each other apart. In the few moments when they had a window of hope, you could always rely on one of them to mess it up.
“Ross, I still have feelings for you,” Rachel bravely tells Ross. Instead of seizing the moment, Ross just sits there and laughs awkwardly. “Ross, I’m pregnant.” Well, you saw the reaction to that earlier. With a baby, a marriage, and over a decade of history, these two still couldn’t find a way to “work it out.”
1 YOU CAN’T HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT
Well, unless you’re stealing your neighbor’s cheesecake and eating it off the hallway floor— like Rachel and Chandler did. Ross manifested this kind of behavior quite a lot, especially during and after Rachel’s pregnancy. Let’s see. It was fine for Ross to date Mona while Rachel was pregnant. When Rachel wanted her own relationship and kissed Gavin from work, though? Ross couldn’t handle that. Hitting on the baby store saleswoman in front of Rachel was also pretty “up there.” To top it off, Ross– who has literally spent the entire show saying that Rachel is “the one,” then goes on a date with the saleswoman.
“I, Ross…Take thee, Rachel.” Ross even tried to make his marriage to Emily work after clearly still being in love with Rachel.
It just keeps cycling. Ross hits on their nanny, Molly. Ross has difficulty processing Rachel and Joey’s relationship, but he’s the hypocrite here. Isn’t he dating Charlie at this point? Rachel is no better. She’s the one who went and broke up Ross’ wedding– is that how you treat people you “love?” But hey! When Emily isn’t showing up, Ross will happily hit their honeymoon with the one person he isn’t supposed to be speaking to (Rachel).
Wait. Are these two so dysfunctional that they’re actually made for each other? This is where it’s over to you. Or rather, your friends who will clearly have an opinion. Facebook didn’t create the share button for nothing…
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