Ah Ross and Rachel, Rachel and Ross… for anybody that grew up in the 90s, “Ross and Rachel” actually became a phrase used to describe people who were engaged in a long-term off again on again relationship. You know who we’re talking about, the couple that are absolutely terrible together, fight the entire time, and ruin the night out for everyone... the kind of people who break up with each other but reunite again out of fear of growing old alone.
Well, Ross and Rachel were the original poster boy and girl for this type of toxic engagement. From the series’ inception, their relationship was, in many ways, its focal point. From Rachel’s late arrival into the group (rekindling Ross’ childhood infatuation with her) in the very first episode, to the “will they wont they” nail-biting series’ finale, it would be fair to say that their partnership, or at times lack thereof, was the shows primary draw for fans and the most stable driving force for the writers.
However, aside from the tumultuous nature of the relationship and the intrigue it generated, there have been some issues with the Rachel and Ross relationship. Often times, it has raised a few eyebrows, failing to make sense and causing fans to question not only the relationship itself, but some of the plot points surrounding it. In this list, we are going to examine some of the faults and foibles of their relationship.
25 Why Did Nobody Tell Her About The Prom Video?
In Season 2, the friends all gather around to watch some Gellar home movies. Ross, however, seems reluctant to watch one particular video but acquiesces at his pals' insistence.
The video in question shows Monica and Rachel getting ready for their senior prom.
Ross suits up to replace Rachel’s absentee date Chip, but when he suddenly shows up, Ross is left heartbroken. Rachel is shocked by this revelation, but why? This is after their initial run together; you’d think either Ross or her longtime friend Monica would’ve told her that story!
24 Why Did Rachel Introduce These Guys?
In Season 5, Ross met and fell in love with Englishwoman Emily, the daughter of Rachel’s boss. So smitten was he that less than two months into their relationship, Ross both asked her to move to America to be with him and to marry him. Rachel, obviously still in love with her ex, was devastated by this turn of events. So why did she introduce the two? And why Ross, who was possibly even more in love with her than visa versa, propose?
23 Why Did Rachel Go For Joshua?
During the whole Emily/Ross fiasco, Rachel started dating someone herself. While working for the same tailor that gave Ross one of his future ex-wives Emily, Rachel developed a serious crush on Joshua, one of her regular clients. Now, as we mentioned, Ross still loved her and she him, which makes her decision to actively pursue him even more mind-boggling. Even if it was out of revenge, Joshua was uptight, unassertive, and seriously gun-shy after a recent divorce. Not exactly husband material there, Rach…
22 Why Did Ross Not Care More About The Joey Thing?
Ah, Joey, the simple-minded ladies man who struggles at the best of times to keep it together around women. The one thing he values more than anything is his loyalty to his friends.
Or does he?
In Season 9, Joey falls madly in love with Rachel. After “accidentally” proposing to her after she just gave birth (she said yes), the two begin an intense if awkward romance together. And other than throwing a punch at Joey (he missed), the whole thing just kind of fizzles out, and no one is to mention it again… got it?!
21 Why Would Rachel Even Go To Barry's Wedding?
In the Season 2 finale, Rachel attends the wedding of her ex-fiance Barry, acting as maid of honor to her childhood friend Mindy. The whole thing is set up to make Rachel look foolish: from the terrible bridesmaid dress to the stories that Rachel left Barry at the alter because she had a disease. Ross goes there to support his girlfriend, who wants to make it through “at least one of Barry’s weddings.” But why? Your friend sucks and you have a fella, forget the wedding!
20 Why Did Rachel's Mother Say That?
Monica plans a surprise birthday party for Rachel when accidentally both Rachel’s mother and father get invited to the wedding. The two are divorced and cannot stand being in the same room together. This necessitates two parties, one in their apartment with the mother and one in Joey and Chandler's with the father. The ensuing calamity sees Ross running back and forth on behalf of the father (getting glasses and drinks), leading the mother to accuse Rachel of dating her father. You’d think they penny would’ve dropped…
19 Why Did Rachel Forget That She Knew Chandler?
In an episode in Season 3, Chandler’s then-girlfriend Janice asks the friends if they had ever slept with one another (outside of Ross and Rachel, who at that time were the only two friends to have dated each other).
This question queues a variety of flashbacks.
One sees Phoebe kissing Ross, and the other, perhaps most surprisingly, sees Chandler and Rachel about to make music together. All of this occurred before Chandler and Rachel had been formally introduced in the first episode, which makes no sense. Let’s just ignore the awkwardness of everything else…
18 Why Did They Talk About This?
In the opening episode from Season 3, Ross tells Rachel that he fantasizes about her dressing up as Princess Leia from Return of the Jedi. Nothing wrong with that, right? The only problem is that Rachel tells Phoebe this, defending her betrayal of confidentiality by saying that “girls tell each other everything!” At Rachel’s behest, Ross attempts to bond with Chandler in the same way, only to have Chandler over-sharing, saying that he pictures his mother, leaving Ross with the same problem. So, they’re both idiots with terrible friends.
17 Why Did Ross Get So Possessive?
When Mark meets Rachel at a diner where she is bemoaning her current work situation, he tells her he could get her a job in Bloomingdales. Rachel is ecstatic; Ross, however, is jealous and doesn’t trust Mark’s intentions. Ross spends every waking moment harassing his girlfriend about work and Mark, until inevitably, Rachel wants to take that infamous “break.” Poor Ross, you’d think he’d be smart enough to forsee this, but apparently, a Ph.D. in paleontology doesn’t guarantee you common sense.
16 Why Didn't He Just Let her Find Out?
In Season 3, Rachel brings a date to Joey’s play. Tommy, her new man, is, unbeknownst to everyone, is a hot head bordering on the psychotic.
Unbeknownst to everyone except, of course, Ross, who is witness to his outbursts when no one else is around.
Taking place after the “break” fiasco, all the friends assume he’s just being jealous when he earnestly tells them, until an outburst at the chick and the duck reveal Tommy’s true colors. He should’ve just let her find out on her own…
15 Why Didn't They Just Stay Together?
When all the friends go on a trip to Las Vegas, Ross and Rachel fly out together. Feeling mischievous, Ross draws a fake mustache on Rachel’s face while she sleeps on the plane. Upon realizing the prank, Rachel is livid, and the two get drinks together to numb the awkwardness of the situation. A few later and they’re running out of a Vegas chapel, legally married. Perhaps we could have called the series a wrap 5 seasons in had they just stayed together, but…
14 Why Didn't Ross Just Be Honest?
In the same way that Ross was unwilling to confront Rachel about the list she made until he cooled down, when Rachel took it for granted that the two would be getting a divorce from their sham marriage, Ross nodded and smiled in agreement, while secretly lamenting losing Rachel and getting divorced for the third time. So what did he do? He told her he filed for divorce when he didn’t, and the whole thing blew up in his face… again. Just tell her how you feel, man!
13 Why Did Ross Date Rachel's Sister?
When Rachel’s spoilt sister Jill comes to visit, she is encouraged to make it on her own in the big city just like her big sister did.
What she wasn’t encouraged to do, however, was to date Rachel’s ex, Ross.
And, well, you guessed it, that’s exactly what happened! Although initially resistant, Ross eventually decides to take her out. No, nothing happened between them, but come on Ross, there are just some things you do not do!
12 Why Did Rachel Date Ross' Girlfriend's Dad?
Turn around is fair play, I guess. Well, not really, this is still really uncomfortable for all involved. When Ross starts dating one of his students, the time comes for him to meet her father Paul. Paul, knowing that Ross is his daughter’s professors, is less than enamored with him. To make matters worse, Rachel starts to date Paul, meaning that his ex who he has a long and tumultuous relationship with is now dating the father of his current girlfriend, who hates him. C’mon, Rachel, you should know better!
11 Why Did Ross Join This Club?
Rachel and Ross’ relationship at its childish best! When Will, fellow alumni of the school that Ross, Rachel, and Monica attended (and played by Jennifer Aniston’s then-husband Brad Pitt) rolls into town for Thanksgiving, he is still holding a grudge against Rachel who bullied him mercilessly. He reveals to Rachel that he and Ross formed an “I hate Rachel club,” a club which Ross briefly rejoins after discovering that Rachel told everyone he was close with the school librarian. Water under the bridge Ross, she’s carrying your baby!
10 Why Would Ross Discuss Children?
The first real snag in their relationship. When Rachel is helping Ross take care of his son Ben, Ross casually tells his girlfriend that she’ll feel more comfortable around their future child.
Not only that, but Ross has planned out how many future children they’re going to have, where they’ll live and where they’ll go to school.
Rachel, naturally enough, gets freaked out by this, with her flight response kicking in, leaving Ross with the child. You’d think after his first marriage ended in disaster he’d be more cautious.
9 Why Did They Handle The List Like This?
Rachel is overcome with jealousy when Ross brings his then-girlfriend Bonnie on a trip with the rest of the friends. She wants him back, but before willing to take him she writes a long list of things she wants from him in return (including taking responsibility for alleged unfaithfulness, more later…). Ross skims the list, gets back with her, and upon rereading it, is appalled by its content. Feeling it's too late to retract, Ross swallows his pride, before exploding at her, ending it all again. Should’ve read it all first…
8 The One With The Break (Part One)
Okay, so this is the one question that has split Friends fans down the middle, so for the sake of diplomacy I’m going to show how both Rachel and Ross were wrong here.
Rachel first. So, you tell your boyfriend that you want a break, essentially putting the relationship on hold indefinitely, and you don’t expect him to find intimacy in other arms? If the bakery closes early, Rachel, a man’s still gotta eat! Come on, girl.
7 The One With The Break (Part Two)
So now, Ross’ turn on the chopping block. After sleeping with Chloe, Joey advises his friend to follow “the trail,” meaning any possible links between Chloe and Rachel.
Turns out there are quite a few.
Her friend’s brother is a work colleague of Phoebe’s and she is roommates with the Rachel-obsessed Central Perk employee Gunther. Needless to say, Rachel finds out quickly enough. Next time, man, just wait until you’re sure the relationship is officially over, or at least go out of town!
6 Why Didn't They Wait For Another Night?
Monica and Chandler’s engagement was one of the defining moments of the series, two of the main characters coming unexpectedly together to form probably the most enduring relationship on the show. The night that they get engaged, Ross and Rachel decide to rekindle their love, again. When they are spotted by Monica, who declares that she’s “opened a door to the past,” she accuses them of stealing her thunder. In fairness, maybe they could have picked a better night.
5 That Whole Europe Story Thing...
When Rachel falls pregnant and it is revealed that it is Ross’ child, the gang discover that Ross has the entire thing on videotape, as he was filming himself before Rachel entered the apartment. The two debate back an forth as to who initiated it. When they all watch the tape, it is revealed that Rachel hit on Ross first, telling him the “Europe Story” which Joey invented. Even if Ross never found out that Joey created it, surely he’d be aware that Rachel never went backpacking in Europe!
4 Why Baby Got Back?
All in all, when you really think about it, Ross and Rachel are not bad people.
Both of them are two hard-working young professionals doing their best to raise their daughter in spite of the fact that they are not coupled together.
That being said, when the two of them sing “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot to pacify the young child, surely questions must be asked about their moral compasses. Sure, she’s not old enough to talk yet, but what if her first words had been “Itty-bitty waist”?!
3 Why Was Rachel Such A Hypocrite?
During Rachel’s pregnancy, she says she doesn’t want Ross to date anyone else. Ross, being a gentleman, agrees not to date anybody, dismissing Rachel’s insistence that she is being unreasonable by assuring her that she’s allowed to be while she is carrying a child. This is all very sweet and Hallmark-y, except for the fact that while pregnant, Rachel dated other men herself. Perhaps we could cut her a bit of slack here, but still feels a tad bit hypocritical to us.
2 How Did Ross Give Up So Easily?
At the end of Season 1, Rachel learns of Ross’ love for her. Taking her sweet time, she realizes that, yeah, she loves him too, and plans to surprise him at the airport with flowers and a declaration of her devotion for him. Unfortunately for her, Ross comes out of the terminal arm in arm with Julie, his new squeeze he met over in China. You’d think Ross would spend more than one season trying to woo the love of his life, no?
1 Why Would Ross Make This List?
Before Emily, Joey and Rachel's list, there was Ross' list, the initial match which lit the fuse that erupted into a domestic Roman candle for over eight seasons. When Ross began dating Julie, Rachel finally broke down and told him how she felt about him, leaving Ross torn between his new flame and the love of his life.
Not for Ross who compiled a list contrasting the qualities and, worst of all, the flaws of both potential mates. Rachel, of course, found the list, thus setting into motion the decade-long rigmarole we’ve spent 24 entries dissecting.