Without realizing or intending for it to be, Friends became the first television show I ever watched through to its conclusion. It was a show both my sister and I could sit down together and chuckle over (sometimes without completely getting the jokes) and that we could both enjoy. It was a lighthearted comedy with a bucket-load of heart that the two of us agreed was a notch above other comedies of a similar nature. (Seriously, who didn't split their sides laughing at the "Pivot" moment?)
A central facet of Friends was the on-again, off-again relationship between Ross Geller and Rachel Green. They were the couple of the show, despite several of the other characters getting into important relationships of their own. Ross and Rachel's relationship drama was one of the things that made Friends, well, Friends. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that one of the reasons the show kept me so avidly engrossed was my desire to see what would become of the two.
Of course, at its core, Friends is a comedy. So even though Ross and Rachel would go through the dramatic highs and lows of an inconsistent partnership, there were plenty of laughs sprinkled all over the tension. Ross and Rachel might be going through an awful break-up, but the show managed to soothe your dismay with some well-timed quips. Read on if you want to revisit one of the most iconic relationships seen on a television screen, along with some of its more ridiculous moments.
25 Who's Counting?
Frequently, Ross was one of the friends of Friends who said the most inappropriate comments at the most inopportune times. While moving a couch he had just bought, Ross gets into a little argument with the store clerk about his relationship status with Rachel (who is helplessly holding the other side of the couch). During this verbal spat, Ross reveals that he and Rachel have been intimate with each other two hundred and ninety-eight times. Firstly, a random store clerk is not the kind of person you should be sharing that information with, Ross. Secondly, you were honestly keeping count of how many times you and Rachel were together?!
24 Two Of Three
In the pilot episode of Friends, Rachel is introduced to the rest of the group after escaping her marriage with Barry the orthodontist. Though she only truly knows Monica Geller, having been friends with her in high school, she quickly becomes a part of the group. In fact, she's the only one in the group to have a relationship with two of the male friends.
Her relationship with Ross is well-known; it's practically infamous.
However, towards the end of the show, she also begins a relationship with Joey, the group's ladies' man. Since she and Ross are destined to be with each other (everyone knew they were going to end up together in the end), Joey and Rachel quickly lose interest in each other, almost as soon as they get together.
23 Joey In The Future
Perhaps because of the success of Friends, Joey was given his very own TV show simply called Joey. It ended after an extremely short run, and, since Joey was the only character from the original Friends cast that was in it, it did not offer much to fans. However, it did give us a bit of news about the future of Ross and Rachel's relationship. While talking to his newfound group of friends, Joey says that all of his old friends are married, and it's safe to assume that he's talking about Monica and Chandler and Ross and Rachel. Monica and Chandler got married during Friends. Even Phoebe and Mike got married on the show. So the only big news that Joey has given us is that Ross and Rachel did indeed get married after the finale of Friends.
22 Chemistry Produces Stardom
Ross and Rachel's relationship plays such an integral part of the show, I can't imagine Friends without it. But apparently, they weren't meant to be the big couple of the show. (Shocking, am I right?) Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer, the actress and the actor who play Rachel and Ross respectively, had such great chemistry between them that the decision was made to place them front and center. I can't say whether the show would be better or not if Ross and Rachel were not the main couple, but I can say that the show would probably be wildly different. I can't say this with absolute certainty, but I'm pretty sure that more than half of the show is about Ross-Rachel drama.
21 Happy Anniversary!
Ross is one jealous guy. If we didn't get to know and appreciate him as a main character before seeing his jealous behavior, we might have been seriously alarmed upon witnessing how he treated Rachel on their anniversary. Already extremely jealous of Rachel's boss, Mark, Ross is dismayed to hear that she has to work on their anniversary. Rachel wished to do well in her new job, but Ross wanted to celebrate with her anyway.
So Ross decides to bring a romantic picnic to to her workplace.
If I had to say who was out of line here, I would say Ross was. Rachel was thoroughly justified in becoming irate at Ross' behavior. He let his jealousy take control and he overstepped his bounds by invading her work when she had told him she was really busy.
20 Friendly Fantasies
When you're in a relationship, you shouldn't keep secrets from each other. Being in a close relationship with Rachel, Ross shares the fact that he has a "Princess Leia" fantasy. Love can make you do crazy things.
We as the audience are treated to a hilarious reveal.
Rachel sweetly decides to fulfill Ross' wishes one night while they're together. She disrobes, revealing a Princess Leia outfit from Return of the Jedi (you know which one I'm referring to). While the moment made me laugh, it also made me say, "Aww," inside. Knowing Rachel, Star Wars is not her cup of tea. She's the fashion-consuming one of the relationship, and Ross is the one who is a bit of a nerd.
19 A Shiny Pate
Ross isn't the only one who can be bit by the jealousy bug. Rachel gets a sting of her own when Phoebe sets up Ross with one of her old friends. Initially, Rachel was okay with the idea of the set up because she remembered Phoebe's friend, Bonnie, was a woman with a shaved head. (Rachel is such a generous woman.) However, it's revealed that Bonnie grew her hair out, so when Ross meets her, the two really hit it off.
Rachel is none too pleased by this turn of events.
So when the whole group sets off to the beach, she sneakily convinces Bonnie to shave her head again. Looks aren't everything, and Bonnie seemed like a really nice person. Still, Rachel went out of her way to ruin Bonnie's relationship with Ross by doing this.
18 The Flirting Trimester
I have never been pregnant, so I'll admit to not knowing too much about the process, but I had no idea there was such a thing as a stage where you find yourself drawn to nearly any person. When Rachel finds herself carrying Ross' child, during the four-month time period, she feels waves of attraction toward random people. Color me surprised, but I wasn't aware that this was an actual stage of pregnancy. I get the feeling that this episode is only partly based on reality, and the rest is an exaggerated portrayal of someone whose body is riddled with overactive hormones. As per Rachel's own words, she found herself thinking a guy who had a bowl haircut and hairy fingers looked extremely cute.
17 Initial Success
Another bit of proof that Ross and Rachel are meant for each other is that they have the exact same initials when you take their respective first and last names. She's Rachel Green, and he's Ross Geller. (Is it just me, or do fictional people always have amazingly awesome names? No one in real life that I know has a name that is as audibly pleasing as a fictional character's name.)
None of the other friends on the show have this in common except for them.
Despite this being supremely obvious, I did not notice this fact until way after the show had ended. It doesn't mean much. Similar initials are not signs of a great relationship in the making. It's just a ridiculously cute coincidence.
16 Prom-Time Memories
In addition to offering a hilarious glimpse into the past, Monica's old prom video gave us a heart-wrenching look at Ross' feelings for Rachel. In the video, a younger Rachel and Monica are gussied up and waiting to be taken to the prom by their dates at Monica's house.
Monica's date arrives, but Rachel's is nowhere to be seen.
Ross, Monica's older brother, decides to dress up in a tuxedo so that he can take Rachel to the dance instead, but by the time he eagerly approaches her with a bouquet of flowers in his hand, she unknowingly flits out the door with her date, who has only recently arrived. Ross' look of disappointment is so moving, you completely forget to laugh at his ridiculous mustache and hairdo.
15 First Date
When Ross and Rachel shared their first kiss, every fan of their relationship who was watching fist-pumped the air in the perpetual expression of it's-about-time. Afterwards, we all eagerly anticipated what would come next. Imagine our surprise that Rachel and Ross, while technically together, waited a week to go out on their first date. Clearly, avid fans were terribly invested in the relationship, which made the "slow" pace that Ross and Rachel took more surprising. (Audiences these days are really used to the idea of instant gratification.) But can you blame them? The first kiss that Ross and Rachel shared was so steamy and passionate. I would have thought a date was going to happen that night.
14 The Infamous Break
Ah, the break. Shouting "We were on a break!" is one of the most memorable lines Ross ever had on the show. Everyone who has watched Friends knows what that line is referring to. And even those who have not seen the show might have heard that line. It is Ross' excuse for an unspeakable act that he commits while on a break with Rachel. He and Rachel had gotten into a fight, after which she suggests they go on a break. Immediately afterward, Ross loses himself in a bottle and spends the night with someone else. The morning after sees Ross regret his actions from the previous night. His regrets are all the more compounded when Rachel visits him to say that she's sorry for her harsh words. The two of them end up breaking up for real after Rachel finds out what Ross did on their "break."
13 Airline Troubles
The show's finale saw Rachel set to leave for Paris. Her dream job awaited her, though she had to leave Ross behind. He manages to catch up to her at the airport, but no matter the loving words he said, he couldn't convince her to stay. He traipses back to his apartment morosely and checks his answering machine when he gets back home. Imagine his surprise when he hears a message from Rachel, saying that she is going to stay for him. However, in the message, we hear her struggle to leave the plane about to take off. (For obvious reasons, the flight attendant had a problem with that.) Romantically so, Rachel surprises us all by standing in Ross' doorway just as the voice message ends. The big question is how she managed to get off of a departing plane.
12 The Mighty 300
Thanks to Ross' strange need to count everything in his life, we all know how many times Ross and Rachel were together intimately. As I stated earlier, Ross had the count at two hundred and ninety-eight after they suffered the infamous break. After that, we know that they spent one more time together in order to make the bouncing baby Emma.
That puts us up to two hundred and ninety-nine.
At the show's ending, when Rachel is set to leave for Paris, her and Ross say good-bye to each other the same way, which puts the count up to three hundred. So you can now rest assured that while we knew Ross and Rachel during Friends, they got together three hundred times. Is that useful information or what?
11 From Goof To Genius
Another secret of the Friends universe regarding Ross and Rachel is Ross' career status. It's established very early on that Ross is the intellectual one of the group. He's a paleontologist until he becomes a professor later on in the show.
By season ten, he's getting tenured.
If that's the case, then Ross must be some kind of super genius. He got a Ph.D. some time before he was twenty-six, which is veritable rarity in the sciences. And he got his tenure after around only four years of teaching when it was never explicitly stated that he was set to be anything more than a temporary instructor. Maybe it's no wonder that he seems so clueless about relationships. His brain is so full of intelligence, he can't handle any extra information.
10 Lying Under The Stars
For their first date, Ross decides to take Rachel to the planetarium. It's a very sweet moment, and one that everyone who was a fan of their relationship was waiting for. Ross takes her to exactly the kind of place we expected him to take her. It's a science-related place, but he turns it into a very special moment where they lie on the floor of the planetarium and gaze up at the display of stars above them. This place ends up being the first place where they spend a quiet evening together for a whole night. It makes for an embarrassing morning after when they wake up to see two young kids ogling at them through the interactive glass of the exhibit.
9 Third Time's The Charm
Ross is a sloppy bundle of melancholy when we first meet him in the pilot. He's going through a divorce with his lesbian ex-wife, so understandably, he's not going to be a ray of sunshine. His mood should definitely have gotten progressively worse as the show goes on. By the time he loopily marries Rachel during a liquid-filled night in Vegas, he's on his third marriage. His second marriage was to Emily, and that relationship ended quickly, right after vows were spoken, in fact.
And we couldn't expect a spur-of-the-moment marriage to Rachel to last.
All in all, Ross got married three times, and then he got divorced three times. I wouldn't be surprised if Ross and melancholy started hanging 24/7.
8 A Spare Back-Up
If you need any more evidence that Ross and Rachel were meant to be together, look no further than the episode where Phoebe and Rachel discuss having back-up men in case they never get married. Since Monica and Chandler are getting married, it makes the other two women question their own futures. They decide to ask Joey and Ross to be their back-up husbands in case they reach the age of forty and they remain unmarried. I don't think I have to spell out who got Ross. (Well, honestly, there was a bit of a misunderstanding in the show. Phoebe chose both Ross and Joey to be her back-ups, and she and Rachel had to argue over who got who at the end. But we know who won Ross in that discussion.)
7 In The Beginning...
I'm fond of mirroring in literature and movies. When dual patterns emerge that show how things can remain the same from the beginning of a story to the end, it just gets my literary-analyzing soul a-tingling. Even Friends can't stop me from spotting these patterns. Both at the beginning and end of Ross and Rachel's relationship on the show, a rush to an airport is involved. When Rachel realizes her true feelings for Ross, she goes to meet him at the airport, not knowing he's going to be arriving with a date. And at the end of the show, Ross rushes to the airport where Rachel is taking a plane to Paris in order to tell her that he loves her and he wants her to stay.
6 Freshman Foundations
One of the things that Ross and Rachel's relationship had that no other relationship on Friends had was history. Aside from the prom video which showed the lengths Ross was willing to go to in order to comfort Rachel, it's revealed that Ross had a thing for Rachel all the way back in the 9th grade. From the small peeks into the past, we could see that Rachel was more or less oblivious to the fact that Ross liked her.
But I don't think she could deny the staying power of Ross' feelings for her.
If, as Joey reveals in his spin-off show, Ross and Rachel ended up getting married, that makes Ross' crush on Rachel all the more impressive. It lasted past his twenties, all the way into his thirties.
5 A Kiss From A Ross
When Rachel was pregnant, little baby Emma took her sweet time coming out. Rachel remained rotund past Emma's due date, and boy did that really push her buttons. Rachel became grumpy and irritable. (I don't blame her.) A doctor gives her a list of things she can do to induce labor, but none of them seemed to work. Finally, as a last resort, Rachel asked Ross to be intimate with her, which is one of the methods the doctor recommended. They shared one steamy kiss, and that was all it took for Rachel's water to break. That must be one passionate smooch that Ross and Rachel shared if that was all it took to induce labor. Of course, Emma could have just finally decided it was time.
4 So That's Your Master Plan?
Ross was probably acutely aware of what annulling his Vegas marriage to Rachel would mean. It would mean he would have three failed marriages under his belt. So I understand his reluctance to end it, and why he tried so hard to convince Rachel to stay married to him. But when she said no, it was not in either of their best interests to lie to her and not get the annulment. What did Ross think would happen? That he could keep Rachel's marriage to him a secret for all the years he planned to stay married to her? It's no wonder she got so steamed at him when she found out. And when she did find out, it was a bit too late for an annulment, and they had to get a full-fledged divorce.
3 Dirty Laundry
Rachel came to the group of friends as a bit of a fugitive from her rich life. In abandoning her orthodontist fiancé at the altar, she had abandoned the lavish lifestyle she was used to. As such, Rachel had to get used to doing things she wasn't used to doing.
One of those things was doing laundry. With a rich family to rely on, she had house servants who did that kind of stuff for her. Without her rich family... Of course, she turned to her good friend Ross to teach her how to properly clean her clothes. She and he spend a delightful time at the laundromat getting her laundry done. They even share an impromptu kiss that Ross, admittedly, takes to heart more than Rachel.
2 Plans For The Future
We all expected romantic happenings for Ross and Rachel as soon as they got together, but even we were surprised at how quickly Ross wanted to take things. He and Rachel had just hit the six-week mark when he let slip that he had already planned how many kids he wanted to have and where he wanted to live.
Rachel was understandably off-put by these remarks.
Six weeks is barely a month. And yet here was Ross already planning a perfect suburban lifestyle without taking any of Rachel's wishes into account. I'm pretty sure input from Rachel about how many kids "they" were going to have would have been appreciated. Rachel was a little too quick to forgive Ross for this one, in my opinion.
1 The "It" Couple
Ross and Rachel's status as one of the best television couples has been gone over multiple times. They are perhaps the most classic case of a will-they/won't-they relationship, one which spawned countless others in numerous TV shows. It's not solely because the show creators kept us in suspense about whether or not they would end up together. It's because we all knew that they would.
Ross and Rachel demonstrated time and time again that they cared about each other, no matter the mistakes they made in regard to their relationship. We knew that no "break" between them could last. How could it? In the immortal words of Phoebe Buffay, they're each other's lobsters.