I want to start this post by saying that I love Friends and every single character in it, even Julia Roberts when she steals Chandler’s clothes as revenge for fourth grade.
My two favourite characters when I grew up were Ross and Rachel, but I’ve noticed that over the years Ross has got a lot of hate. People argue that is he is the ‘worst’ boyfriend and say that he is emotionally abusive. To be honest, I kind of think it’s unfair (and not just because I think David Schwimmer is the cutest).
Whilst yes, Ross is insecure and whiny and needy, he also has many great qualities that get overlooked because Rachel chooses to stay with him and not go to Paris. Plus, let’s not forget that his first and only relationship ended with his wife leaving him for another woman. How anyone could go through that without a little emotional baggage and insecurity is beyond me.
During self isolation, I started watching Friends again (it’s still just as good as ever!!) and started seeing that, for all the hate Ross gets, Rachel treats him just as poorly at times too.
So here is my list of why is Rachel always so perfect either.
- She is arguably just as, if not more, jealous than Ross. Fair enough Ross is not the coolest about Rachel’s friendship with Mark, but Rachel goes out of her way many times to ruin Ross’s happiness when he is with someone else. When Ross is with Julie, Rachel does so many shady things to sabotage their relationship, from giving Ross terrible sex advice to instructing Phoebe to give Julie a terrible haircut. Julie is really sweet and doesn’t deserve it at all! Plus, let’s not forget that Rachel also convinces Bonnie, another of Ross’s girlfriends, to shave her head. Does Rachel have a vendetta against other people’s hair or does her jealousy about the idea of Ross with someone else just drive her to do these things?!
- Rachel tries to play on Ross’s emotions to get him to cheat. When Ross is asking Rachel for advice on how to take things to the next level with Julie, she describes her perfect kiss, moving towards him and talking seductively in a way that is ‘kiss me now’ suggestive. If Ross had kissed her, he would have cheated on Julie, a woman who, whilst not being Ross’s lobster, doesn’t deserve that. That never crosses Rachel’s mind because all she can see is her want and how she will do anything to get Ross.
- She isn’t really a ‘girl’s girl’ when it comes to relationships and friendships. Not only does she try to lure Ross into cheating on Julie, she also dates Jean-Claude van Damme even though Monica is the one who likes him. I don’t want to throw out the old ‘girl code’ line, but… girl code.
- She ruins Ross and Emily’s wedding. Ross gets sooooo much hate for Paris-gate, but what about his wedding to Emily?! Rachel flies to England with the sole purpose of destroying that relationship. Ross has always, always been in love with Rachel, something everyone in the show, including Rachel, knows. Yet it’s only when he’s about to marry someone else that she feels the need to tell him. Isn’t picking someone up when they’re about to move on and dropping them whenever you feel like it a little emotionally abusive?
- She’s pretty manipulative. Rachel is my favourite, but she does pull on Ross’s heartstrings whenever she wants. When Monica and Chandler’s engagement makes Rachel realise how lonely she is, she kisses Ross because she knows he will always have feelings for her. She doesn’t think about him at all, just how she can feel better about herself. And people wonder why Ross is so insecure…
- She’s rarely honest with Ross. After Emma is born and Ross and Rachel live together, Ross takes a message for Rachel from another man. Ross is completely blindsided by this. Whilst I don’t think that Rachel owes Ross anything because they aren’t together, surely you’d be honest about the father of your child about the fact that you’re moving on, especially when you live together? Again, Rachel only thinks of herself here, not understanding how just being honest would be so much better for everyone.
- A lot of her actions are selfish. When Rachel’s dad has a heart attack, Ross goes back home with her. She tries to initiate sex with Ross because she thinks it will make her feel better. Ross repeatedly says no and she repeatedly tries to push him into doing something he doesn’t want to do. It’s borderline sex pest behaviour. Can you imagine if that scene was the other way around?! On top of that, not once does she think of Ross’s feelings in it all and how crossing that boundary again will impact the two of them.
- Let’s talk about Paris. How could we not? I don’t think Ross was wrong in telling Rachel that he loved her before she left. How many times do we say to people ‘you need to say how you feel before it’s too late?’ Well, Ross did just that. You can’t hate him for it! If you can forgive Rachel for ruining his wedding then you can forgive Ross for being honest before she leaves. Besides, Rachel chose to come back. This whole ‘Ross makes her give up on Paris’ isn’t true – she made the choice. Paris offered a great deal, but so did New York. It’s not like Rachel gave up everything to be Ross’s stay at home wife – she still got an amazing career plus the man she loves, her daughter got to be with her father AND she got to live in New York where her friends and family are. That’s a pretty good deal to me! Besides, we waited 10 seasons to see Ross and Rachel together… was it really going to end any other way?!
At the end of the day, I love Ross and Rachel and the rest of the gang. I literally want my life to be 90s New York and to be a part of that group! Sure, each character has their flaws, but that’s what makes them relatable. That’s why Friends has stood the test of time. TV show characters are not meant to be buffed, flawless versions of people – they’re meant to reflect you and me, our best bits and our worst. Insecurity, jealousy and all.
What are your thoughts on this?