Blog PostsHow the “Friends” Writers Dropped the Ball on Ross Geller

Last week, Shakesville reposted an article that Ana Mardoll wrote back in September called “Why I Dislike Ross Geller.” The article is my second-favorite thing that Ana Mardoll has written (my favorite is his analysis of The Little Mermaid, which IS SO a mostly-feminist movie, nyah!) In a couple of thousand words, Ana brilliantly deconstructs why Ross Geller is an entitled, emotionally abusive Nice Guy who has no business being the romantic hero of a sitcom.

Whenever I rewatch Friends, I’m struck anew by how much of a jerk Ross is to Rachel, and how he’s often condescending and nasty to his sister and his so-called closest friends.

But even though I agree that Ross Geller is an emotionally abusive Nice Guy, I was still a little sad to read Ana’s article. Because in a different universe, Ross Geller is my favorite character on Friends.

Sure, Chandler Bing was the wittiest of the group, and one of my first-ever fictional character crushes. Sure, Phoebe Buffay had the most interesting backstory, and Lisa Kudrow was the most talented cast member on the show. Sure, Rachel Green had the best character development and was the only one of the six who wasn’t Flanderized by the end of the show’s run.

But Ross Geller was a nerd, reaching heights of Nerddom that no other character reached, and there are moments scattered throughout Friends that make me really love him. I love that he’s in the world of academia. I love that he loves dinosaurs. I love his nerdy references, one-liners, and dumb jokes. (“If I were a salmon shirt, where would I be? Upstream.”) (“I’ll prove it! I’ll prove it like a theorem!”) I love his freakouts and his dumb dancing with Monica to The Routine:

So how did the Friends writers drop the ball with Ross Geller? How did they turn what could have been a delightfully dorky character into an emotionally abusive jerkass?

The answer, I believe, lies in the third season. The season with all the jealousy.

In season three, Ross and Rachel are in a happy, committed relationship. But Rachel is unsatisfied in her work life. She’s not content with being a coffee shop waitress, and she wants to enter the fashion world. She gets her dream job thanks to a connection with a new male friend named Mark, who works at Bloomingdale’s.

Ross is not happy about this. He’s threatened by Mark’s presence in Rachel’s life, and he’s threatened by her job taking up too much of her schedule. He constantly demands proof from Rachel that she’s not interested in Mark, and shows up to her office with a picnic basket even after she’s told him multiple times that she’s too busy to see him that night.

(Yes, that night was their anniversary. Yes, it’s upsetting not to be able to spend time with your significant other on your anniversary. But I guess Ross forgot what he was doing the night of their second date the previous year – working. And I guess he also forgot that Rachel was disappointed but handled it like a grownup.)

Anyway, I don’t need to list all of the details about Ross’s possessiveness and jealousy, because Ana Mardoll did that already. Instead, I’m going to talk about the episode that shows the root of Ross’s jealousy issues – “The One with the Flashback.”

In “The One with the Flashback,” Ross is still married to Carol, and it’s evident that their relationship has been rocky for awhile. Ross mentions that Carol was feeling isolated because she didn’t have her own group of friends, and was starting to be happier now that she’s become friends with a woman named Susan.
Ross then becomes very encouraging of Carol’s new friendship. He tells her on the phone to enjoy her girls’ night out with Susan, and he seems genuinely supportive of his wife. He seems to recognize that Carol making new friends and expanding her horizons is good for her and good for their relationship.

A few days later, Carol tells Ross that she’s a lesbian. His heart is broken and his world is shattered.

Four years later, Ross sees Rachel making friends with a man who appears to be interested in her, and he sees it happening all over again. He doesn’t want to lose Rachel and he doesn’t want to be blindsided for the second time, so he becomes incredibly jealous, possessive, and controlling.

It also doesn’t help that he gets some bad advice from Chandler and Joey:

To be fair, Chandler and Joey are partially right – they almost perfectly describe predatory Nice Guy behavior (and Joey’s bit at the end, including his impersonation of Ross, is hilarious). But telling Ross to show up at Rachel’s workplace is a terrible idea. If Rachel doesn’t like Ross’s possessiveness, his being more possessive will only hurt their relationship.

Monica is the one who gives Ross the better advice, reminding him that any designs Mark may or may not have on Rachel are irrelevant. Mark wanting to sleep with Rachel doesn’t mean a thing if Rachel doesn’t return his feelings.

But Ross doesn’t listen to Monica. Being the supportive and non-jealous husband didn’t work out for him the first time, so why should it work out for him the second time?

That, I think, is the key to Ross’s jealousy and possessiveness. From all accounts, he seemed to be a pretty good husband to Carol, and it’s not until we see him with Rachel that he allows his jealousy to overwhelm his good sense and his better qualities.

His jealousy issues are not Rachel’s fault. They’re not even Carol’s fault (lest anyone think I’m arguing that Ross was a perfectly good guy until that lesbian ruined him!) But it’s important to recognize that a lot of the negative qualities he displays in his relationship with Rachel are a result of a painful experience in his life.

And that season of Friends would have been a great time for Ross to get to the root of his jealousy issues. He could have eventually realized at a) Rachel and Carol are not the same people, b) Rachel loved him and wasn’t going to leave him, c) Carol still would have left him if he had been just as controlling with her because she’s gay and it had nothing to do with him, and d) being possessive and controlling is a great way to make the person you love resent you.

Instead, we got “we were on a break!”

And then Ross and Rachel’s relationship issues stopped being about possessiveness and jealousy, and became about whether or not he cheated on her.

And Ross’s jealousy issues were never fully addressed, and at the end of the show’s run, after years of Ross being jealous whenever Rachel so much as spoke to a man, he and Rachel still ended up together, with her giving up a great job to be with him.

Season three of Friends was a great opportunity for Ross to examine the root of his jealousy in a funny way, but it never happened, and he and Rachel got back together because rom-com rules dictated that they were supposed to do that.

I wouldn’t trade Ross and Rachel’s second breakup for anything (“Y-O-U-apostrophe-R-E means You are, Y-O-U-R MEANS YOUR!”/”And hey, just so you know, it’s NOT that common, it DOESN’T happen to every guy, and it IS A BIG DEAL!”), but if the writers had allowed Ross to go through some character development and recognize how unfair he had been to Rachel, their reunion in the series finale would’ve felt earned instead of tacked on.

And it wouldn’t have left us with the vague, unsettling feeling that maybe the writers always thought that Rachel’s job was less important than the relationship with the guy who was threatened by, and dismissive of, her career.

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62 Responses to How the “Friends” Writers Dropped the Ball on Ross Geller

  1. Fiona Fire says:

    Thanks for the link!

    I watched Friends on and off and, despite being a hard core shipper, I never got behind the Ross- Rachel relationship. I never could put my finger on why I didn’t like Ross and I certainly didn’t get the Nice Guy thing back then– I think I was 12 or 13 at the time–but you make a pretty strong case.

  2. Gareth says:

    I think the writers had a second chance to deal with the jealousy angle when Emily spent time with Susan but they didn’t resolve it then either.

  3. Charsi says:

    A girl on a forum had a dilemma. Her boyfriend asked for her hand, and on the other side, she got the chance of a job (abroad) she dreamed about since her childhood. Even her boyfriend made plans about moving with her, and he wouldn’t even have problems about getting a job there himself. But when she finally got this call, he suddenly decided to stay in the country and she must choose between the job and him. He didn’t/couldn’t even explain this sudden change of mind, it was probably a whim (or as I imagine, an excuse to break up and make HER the bad guy about it). And almost every commenter on the forum told her to choose the guy, or else she will be alone forever, and there is no happiness without a relationship.

  4. deidredreams says:

    I so agree that season 3 would’ve been the perfect opportunity to have Ross deal with his jealousy issues and grow as a person! Instead, season 3 broke my heart, because I loved Rachel and Ross together and then he turned into a possessive jerk! I was so so sad when Rachel said (I can’t quote literally, but I’m sure most of you remember the scene) that she was so happy with her new job and that it was a good thing that she had something she was good at and that it was only hers and was that okay? And then he says ‘yes’, but while hugging, behind her back, he mouths “No!” and we’re supposed to laugh! That was the first moment I was so disappointed in Ross, that I couldn’t love him as a character anymore.

  5. rtown004 says:

    I was reading different articles about the Ross-Rachel relationship because I hated him too for the possessive and emotionally abusive way he treated her, but it never occurred to me that his jealous issues totally stemmed from Carol “betraying” him. Brilliant point.

    While I would have loved if they progressed his character better, I think the sad truth is that Ross’s development was probably more like real life. It’s a shame, but not enough people admit, realize, or get help for their issues from past relationships and it burdens them for a long time.

    There’s no way Ross and Rachel would have lasted much longer after the final episode anyway.

  6. Leah says:

    You know as much as I agree with the issues Ross seemed to develop after his breakup with carol, I don’t really feel like Rachel is getting any credit here, she opted to stay with him, she opted to get back together multiple times, she had a child with him, and choose her family over career, is that the right choice? Maybe not but she grew from a spoiled princess to a self sufficient career woman and mother, and of course they ended up together- TV is a fairy tale. He was a hilarious character and it was FICTION!

  7. drush76 says:

    [“And Ross’s jealousy issues were never fully addressed, and at the end of the show’s run, after years of Ross being jealous whenever Rachel so much as spoke to a man, he and Rachel still ended up together, with her giving up a great job to be with him.”]

    Actually, Ross’s jealous issues were addressed some time after his breakup with Rachel. And it was Monica who pointed out to him that his past experience with Carol had led him to become so possessive.

    • Theresa Basile says:

      You’re right that it was addressed a few times – I phrased that badly. I don’t feel like it was explored as fully as it could have been, though. And it leaves a bad taste in my mouth that Rachel gives up a great job in the end to be with him, especially when he’d gone behind her back to try to get her to stay in New York in the first place.

  8. Dee Dee says:

    Oh boy some “feminists”… I don’t agree that Ross was been a jerk and unsupportive of Rachel’s job, that it was not the point. The point that I saw it was that he was feeling second to her job, and I agree he was being irrational about that, but Rachel did nothing to assure him that it was not the case, and bail him on their anniversary probably just worsen that thought on his mind… I mean it doesn’t matter if is a man or woman, woman can be hurt if they think their partner put them in second place after their work as well, unless you’re a very career oriented person you cannot see that hurts a lot to be put in second place… maybe I’m telling this because I used to be very job oriented (and I still am but not as much) but I realized it’s not worthy, spend time with the people I love is way more important, I think Rachel realized that at the finale, be with the man you love is too much bigger, work they can figure it out together after, who knows maybe Ross got a transfer to work in some French University or maybe Rachel received a new great opportunity in NY… 🙂

    • Theresa Basile says:

      Well, they never clarified that. At the end of the series, we have no idea what Rachel’s job is now going to be. Ross still works at the university. Clearly, Rachel’s career was not as important to the writers as Ross’s.

      • Rogue258 says:

        Well Ross did get her the job back a couple of times with Ralph Lauren n the end…so if Rachel stayed back then Ross would have got it back once again….and her job at Ralph Lauren was not that bad so she would have a fine career. The reason the writers brought her back to NY and not let her go to France was to make all the FRIENDS stay together in the same city New York the base of their show…
        Secondly staying back in NY would have been easier for Rachel…her family, best friends, daughter and the love of her life was in NY….is feminism gone to this extent that a woman always has to put her career every time before everything else that is dear to her?
        Ross was ready to move to London for Emily had it not been for Ben…

        • Theresa Basile says:

          The job that she had said she was growing out of and basically no longer had passion for.

          The show FRIENDS that was ending, because this was the last episode, and therefore had no reason for the Friends to stay together geographically. Besides which, Chandler and Monica were moving out of the city anyway.

    • carolanne says:

      I so much agree with you…thank you. I also made my “career” more important than family, so I always feel bad for Ross.

      • carolanne says:

        And Rachel always seems to want to be with so many guys and only seems to “like” Ross when he’s with someone else and trying to move on. Can’t watch the show when it’s too much about Rachel. Love all the others though.

        • Rogue258 says:

          True that….Rachel showed up in London and sabotaged(kind of) his marriage to Emily (she had no right to tell him that she loved him…the same thing she did with Ross when he was with Julie)….
          And if she had the right to tell him that she loved him then Ross also had the right to tell him that he loved her when she was going to France….she did it twice…why can’t he do it once….
          They both left things for each other because they loved and valued each other more than Emily Julie or France…

          • Theresa Basile says:

            She did, and that was wrong. And the entire time she was trying to sabotage his wedding, every other Friend (and some guest characters played by Hugh Laurie) told her how selfish she was being and how it was the wrong choice to make.

            When Ross decides to beg Rachel to stay in New York, however, everyone eggs him on and roots for him.

    • Kavya A S says:

      You’re absolutely right! He got her the old job back, with a raise! She chose to leave coz she was excited to go to Paris, a new opportunity, the same reasons anyone would be compelled. Everything’s growing extreme, including feminism. Some people have to acknowledge, everything in life isn’t a power struggle. She chose to stay coz her feelings for him were reciprocated fervently. The show quite ardently emphasized that all the jobs were equally credit worthy.

  9. Ross is actually my favorite character throughout the entire series (Joey being a close second). I hear a lot of hate towards Ross and understand the argument ts made here. However Ross wasn’t completely in the wrong in season 3. I’ll admit that sleeping with the zerox girl was borderline unforgivable, but I was on his side until that point. It’s natural to be jealous, but jealousy was only an underlying factor. Mark no longer worked at Bloomingdale’s on the night of their Anniversary. Ross hadn’t seen much of his girlfriend and being that he was in love, that was really upsetting. Ross wasn’t really jealous of Mark, he was jealous of Rachel’s job. Yes, Rachel was finally doing something important, but she barely acted like Ross mattered when she was at work. I know Ross’ anniversary picnic was disruptive, but that was a pretty decent attempt at a compromise. Oh and a one year anniversary is much more important than a second date. Plus, Rachel was at the museum during their second date and Ross didn’t throw a fit, instead he finished his work and then made up for the ruined date by taking her to a even more romantic setting. Ross was a great boyfriend and Rachel failed to see that he was just as important as her job.

    • Theresa Basile says:

      It is not a “reasonable compromise” to show up at your girlfriend’s job with a picnic basket after she has REPEATEDLY said that she does not have time that night. That’s the kind of thing that can reflect poorly on HER and make her bosses upset with her. Potentially jeopardizing your girlfriend’s career is not romantic.

      Anniversaries are important, yes. It’s understandable that Ross would be upset that he couldn’t see Rachel on their anniversary. It is not okay to show up unannounced and uninvited. If you can’t meet on the day of the anniversary, you reschedule. It’s not the end of the world if you celebrate a day late. He didn’t give Rachel a chance to reschedule their special night.

      Also, it’s really rich that the same man who used the fact that Rachel was “just a waitress” on the “con” list of her character traits one year before, became increasingly jealous of her career once she became more than “just a waitress.”

      I would also expect that someone who has a PhD would understand that sometimes, you have to put work first, especially when it’s your first, and possibly only chance, to really make it in a career that’s important to you. But then again, he repeatedly showed disdain for Rachel’s career of choice, since it’s just fashion and not “important” like paleontology, given his falling asleep at her lecture and making that disgusting “Jurassic Parka” joke.

      • Please, Ross was not jealous of her job. He became jealous because of the amount of time she was spending with Mark, especially on their anniversary. Furthermore, while I don’t agree with Ross’s actions, they were on a break.

        • Theresa Basile says:

          Mark was no longer working at Bloomingdale’s on their anniversary.

          And I’ll quote Monica on this, “So what if he does want to sleep with her – does that mean he gets to? Don’t you trust her?” His jealousy of Mark was completely unfounded.

          This is more of a response I usually give to someone who wanders onto my blog and begins his first comment with a rude and dismissive “Please,” by the way. Check your tone or further comments will be deleted.

          • Rogue258 says:

            In season three when they are analyzing about how he got so jealous and possessive..Monica said that “Up unitl high school you were always trusting, even when all your girlfriends were cheating on you..and then Carol cheated big time…didn’t matter she cheated with a woman…bottom line she cheated..(same resentment Chandler shows towards his dad because he cheated and abandoned his first..same emotions in Never Back Down 2 Movie…when the protagonist is upset about his dad cheating and not that he was gay)…

          • Theresa Basile says:

            I addressed this in the post already. Did you not see it?

      • Hardly Newsworthy says:

        Perhaps you have just read in to the entire relationship- and show as a whole for that matter- far more than even the writers of the show did. They don’t care what some feminist viewers think about a single character of their 20 year-old show, all they care is that you watched it, which you did a good number of times so it seems. How someone would be so put-off by a situation on a sitcom is beyond me.

  10. I have no sympathy for the Jurassic Parka joke since Rachel continually criticizes Ross for his profession. In fact, Ross’ career gets belittled more than anyone else’s. The entire cast jokes about how boring his job is at every chance they get. I never once found it funny when Rachel said he wasn’t a real doctor. And when were they to reschedule their Anniversary? The show eludes to the fact that Rachel’s new job gives her no free time which is why Ross is upset in the first place. I agree that he was very disruptive and that could have reflected poorly on Rachel, but had he been more subtle and not lit anything on fire, I could see it as an acceptable compromise. Regardless, Rachel had a right to be upset, but she could at least acknowledge that Ross was trying to spend time with his girlfriend because he rarely got to see her anymore. Instead she placed all the fault on him, telling him that he should be the only one to apologize. They both acted badly and had she acknowledged that she could have been a little more sympathetic then the fight might not have ended as poorly and the relationship may have been salvageable. And don’t make me bring up how bad of a decision it was to have Mark come over. I felt so bad for Ross when he overheard Mark on the phone. Talk about an ultimate slap to the face. I respect Rachel for all of the hardships she overcame just as much as you do, but she made mistakes too.

    • Theresa Basile says:

      I’ve been watching the show from the beginning, and while the gang often makes fun of Ross’s job, I don’t notice Rachel participating in much of it. She doesn’t really make the “not a real doctor” jokes until after the breakup. But I could be misremembering.

      I have some sympathy for Ross because of the way the other characters make fun of his job, but that sympathy is limited because of how condescending he can get about being more educated than the rest of them. I’m thinking particularly of how he wouldn’t let up on Phoebe not believing in evolution. I’m pretty sure Pheebs didn’t have time to read The Origin of the Species while she was a homeless teenager without a high school education, Ross.

      I do not see showing up at an office to be a reasonable compromise because he’s ignoring her words and her telling him she doesn’t have time. I don’t have a problem with his intentions behind it. He’s not trying to mess up her job. But he would be showing more respect for his girlfriend by listening to her.

      As for not seeing enough of Rachel…okay, this is not really Ross’s fault that the show is structured in this way, but it doesn’t help his case that we still see Ross and Rachel spend lots of time together even after she gets this demanding job. They still have dates at the coffee shop, he still sleeps over at her apartment, we still see them spend time together. That’s because the show is called Friends and the structure of the show is that the friends spend a lot of time together. What we see doesn’t match up with what Ross is saying. Again, that part’s not really his fault.

      What is his fault is that he starts getting jealous of her job and the time spent away from him after she’s only been at her job for a few weeks. Give the woman an adjustment period before pointing out, “Hey, I see less of you now, and I miss you.” She’s gone from waitress to dream job overnight and adjusting to a completely new office environment. It’s not just a new job. It’s a completely different type of job than she’s used to. She’s not going to figure out the work-life balance immediately.

      I don’t think the breakup is completely Ross’s fault. Breakups are rarely ever the fault of one person. Having Mark over was probably a bad idea – I understand why she did it, but yeah, not the best idea. But I definitely think Ross is more at fault for letting his insecurities from his breakup with Carol, understandable though they may be, affect his treatment of Rachel.

      I also think Rachel is a better person than I am for not dumping him the second after he yelled at her and threw her shoes behind her when she was trying to dress nicely for his event in “The One Where No One’s Ready.” That is not a way you should speak to your partner, ever.

      • Regina Philange says:

        I agree with what you said about the show not matching up with what Ross was saying. He complained about Rachel working late in TOW Monica and Richard are Just Friends and Rachel promised that, for every night she got home late, she’d wake him up sexually. Then he said “Well, I want to be supportive” and I don’t think he raised an issue until two eps later. But yeah, with R/R there was a loooot of telling rather than showing.

        What irritates me even more about Ross’s inability to accept Rachel’s long hours is the double standard of her waiting for him to stay late at the museum, cutting into their first date. Rachel understood, patiently waited, stayed out of his way, said “you were worth the wait” and they had sex in Ross’s public workplace. How professional. Rachel later mentioned the boring long lectures she attended with Ross, who couldn’t even sit halfway through one of hers without trying to kiss her and falling asleep, distracting others. And in S10, when he got tenure, he said “Career is the most important thing ever” then, what, two eps later begged Rachel to give up her job (and probably her career) for him. Whether or not she could land a job in NYC isn’t the point, the point is Ross never fully grew, he went right back to thinking his needs were more important than hers, and the writers agreed. Meanwhile she mocked his job but I think deep down, she supported him and respected that he had a career in something he loved. I didn’t get much of that feeling from Ross.

        I don’t think Rachel was completely blameless and shouldn’t have lied about Mark being over, but he basically elbowed his way into her apartment so I don’t think she invited him in. She went on a date with him later to get back at Ross, but she couldn’t even go through with it. That scene with Chandler holding Ross back and telling him he has to let go was wonderful, but unfortunately Ross couldn’t.

        I think it was interesting for the writers to continue the character thread of Ross growing paranoid and possessive after Carol, but I agree that they dropped the ball on him. They realized S3 was too dark and serious, so they turned the silly up to 11 and turned the Break into a joke. A joke Ross pulled on the woman he idealized since high school and who gave up a promising job for him. Watching Rachel’s reaction, I though she was thisclose to heading back to the airport and I wouldn’t have blamed her.

        I completely agree about Ross throwing the shoes at Rachel. Some people act like it was no big deal but to me that scene was downright disturbing, and I hate that it was solved with Ross not even drinking the fat then being ‘rewarded’ at the end. He said he didn’t care about the others going, just Rachel, so why did he split his attention between everyone from the start and why didn’t he just hang out in Rachel’s room, actively helping her pick an outfit and telling her he didn’t care what she wore, he just wanted her there. Instead he humiliated her, ordered her around, acted violent, and later tried to kiss it better. It was another instance of many where I went from thinking “yeah, I see where Ross is coming from” (before the shoe throwing) to “run, Rachel, run!” Another moment is when Ross lied to her about the annulment. He *stayed married* to her and she was going to move in with him. Then when she found out and called him out on it, he shifted blame from himself to her and of course they had A Moment.

        I love the show but the writers had 10 years to show us why R/R were good together. They showed us that with Monica/Chandler over the course of 6 so I don’t know if the writers preferred drama with R/R, the network told them, or the writers lost interest but went through the motions to please R/R fans. I understand the show aired in a different time, but by 2004 the writing didn’t even try to resolve its main issues of “Ross doesn’t really see Rachel as a person, Ross is romantic no matter what he does, and Rachel is Ross’ prize.” I remain unconvinced that they’d last two months after the finale.

        • Theresa Basile says:


          Ross was the king of saying/doing thoughtless, mean things and then “making up for it” with a grand romantic gesture. (You know who else does that? Abusers.) The List followed by a list of her good qualities and a song on the radio to make her forgive him. Throwing her shoes and offering to drink the fat.

          He said he didn’t care about the others going, just Rachel, so why did he split his attention between everyone from the start and why didn’t he just hang out in Rachel’s room, actively helping her pick an outfit and telling her he didn’t care what she wore, he just wanted her there. Instead he humiliated her, ordered her around, acted violent, and later tried to kiss it better.

          Good point. I don’t understand why so many people have that episode on their top 10 lists when Ross is such a whiny, abusive dill hole. The only thing I like is the Joey/Chandler plot. The R/R drama is also so contrived because AS IF Rachel Green wouldn’t have picked out her outfit weeks ahead of time for any special event.

          One moment where I found Ross’s gesture genuinely nice is when he returned the tiny T-shirt a day after throwing such a tantrum about it. That was a really good moment, probably because he did it to make her happy without expecting anything in return.

          • Rogue258 says:

            What about the time he gave up his discovery interview for her post breakup?

          • Theresa Basile says:

            That was a very nice gesture. It’s a shame that earlier in the same episode, he was making gross comments about her body and how he could visualize her naked anytime he wanted, and continued making jokes to that effect even after she wanted him to stop.

            So it’s Ross at his best and at his worst in the same episode. I never argued that he wasn’t complex.

        • Jenna S. says:

          Yes yes yes! I know this is months and months late but THANK YOU for writing this! I’m re-watching the show and I cannot get over how awful Ross behaves towards Rachel. I agree with everything you said, and have a few more things to add.

          Ross clearly never respected Rachel’s new job (which I think is made worse by the fact that he didn’t respect her when she was “just a waitress” either, but anyways…). And I understand that when you’re in a relationship, you want to feel needed, appreciated, etc. BUT he could have tried to respect her job more. I think that the fact that it came through Mark’s help and that she didn’t have years of education made him see her job as almost frivolous, just kind of a nice hobby.

          I remember very clearly in TOW the Princess Leia Fantasy, Ross and Rachel are in bed together and Ross is doing some kind of work-related reading. Can you imagine if Rachel had done that when she started working at Bloomingdale’s? NO, because Ross would have thrown a hissy fit and gone into a jealous rage. It really all comes down to the fact that Ross’ job was “more important” than Rachel’s. Obviously, in Ross’ mind, it’s okay for his work to occupy some of his time with Rachel, but when it is Rachel’s job that is time-consuming, well, that is just unacceptable. And, let’s be serious for a second here, Ross is so insecure, he needs his girlfriend to constantly validate him by focusing all of her attention on him at all times. I don’t care whose side you’re on with the whole Ross/Rachel thing, that is just not a healthy relationship.

          One other thing that has bothered me for ages but I don’t think people discuss is from the very beginning of their relationship when Ross makes the list of Rachel’s flaws. I fully believe that Rachel overreacted to the list, but what infuriates me every single time I watch it is when Rachel finds the list and is clearly very hurt. She reads from the list, “Just a waitress?” and he says, “Now, that…that was, uh, I mean, as opposed to, uh the, uh…okay, IS THIS OVER YET? Rach?” He doesn’t acknowledge that her feelings are legitimate, he doesn’t take ANY responsibility for his actions and he is essentially saying, “Okay, your feelings don’t matter so stop being stupid and just get over it so I can tell people I ‘won’ Rachel Green.” He never apologizes, he tries to put the blame on Chandler, and he doesn’t even acknowledge that it was his actions that, at least partly, caused the whole mess in the first place. Again, I think Rachel, although she had a right to be hurt, blew the list out of proportion. But he literally just wanted her to act like it had never happened and get over it. To me, this just shows that he doesn’t respect her at all. It’s a very minor line, but to me, it speaks volumes about Ross as a person.

          • Rogue258 says:

            About that list…
            First of all, I agree that Rachel had every right to be upset, and Ross hadn’t done a nice thing here…but he did apologize to her…The list was a result of a moment of panic (explained in later paras..) but she should have forgiven him when he MEANT that the “flaws” didn’t bother him, and he loved her despite those (and in subtext) any “flaws” (if any, where there)…
            We all human’s do have certain flaws and I believe that when we truly love someone…we love them inspite of anything rather than because of something..there are many women with beautiful eyes and many men with 6 packs…but we love the person we love even if they don’t have any of these…that is true love and that was what Ross said…sure Rachel was rightly hurt and had a right to be mad…but to be dismissive of Ross’s love for her as just a generous charity towards her, was actually insulting of Ross.

            It has been hinted numerous times on the show that Rachel knew that Ross had a big time crush on her during high school (starting with her first night in the city when she admitted to Ross himself that she knew Ross had a huge crush on her)…and also in a lot of flashback episodes he had tried to ask her out (albeit not smoothly, but still clear enough for Rachel to know that Ross wanted to go out with her)…
            Now did she ever make an effort to atleast try and go on a date in high school with Ross (again he may not have asked directly to her but she knew he wanted to and had she also wanted to go out with Ross he could have made a move)…but she didn’t wan’t to go out with Ross in high school..instead she repeatedly wanted to go to out with Chip, the cool jock popular guy in High school….the guy who had a bigger status than Ross in high school and was more SUCCESSFUL in high school world…so Rachel chose a successful popular jock in high school, who would cheat on her over the nerdy, awkward but insanely in love with her, Ross…so didn’t she make a (figurative) list in high school about the pros and cons of Chip and Ross Gellar?
            The ball was in Rachel’s court and she chose Chip
            Now 9 years later, Tables have turned and Ross is the successful person in the adult world… he has a better job, respect, smart and has the ball in his court now..
            He has to choose between Julie ( representing the female version of Chip..although she isn’t cheating on Ross like Chip did on Rachel, and the second person who he has to choose from is Rachel, an unsuccessful waitress, currently bottom of the barrel of the adult world in terms of career, it’s the same high school situation once again only with Ross having to make a decision instead of Rachel and he did the same thing as Rachel did…so why does he get the flak for the list…when 9 years back he was at the receiving end of the same thing…and here he has more reasons to hold on to Julie than Rachel ever had with Chip…still he is the bad guy for the list…
            I think both Ross and Rachel were on the wrong….
            But cut the guy some slack here….he was insanely in love with this girl for 9 long years and when he finally has moved on (again being cheated on by Carol in the process)..and then suddenly he gets to know that his lifelong dream can come true..the guy obviously panicked a little and did a stupid thing but wasn’t that bad…
            What made the list worse was that his cons were what Rachel thought were her worst qualities and that made her even more insecure of those “flaws”. Agreed that is hurtful…that what you think is worse about you is actually also the reason that the person you want to be with is using as a excuse to not be with you…but the same thing she did with Ross 9 years agao in high school…she chose the same reasons to not be with Ross in high school which made him insecure then…his nerdiness and geekiness, and akwardness…
            Rachel was more upset with the list because it perpetuated her insecurities that she felt about her…understandable to be upset over it…but what she forgets (and somehow the writers dropped the ball on this one too) that how she did the same thing 9 years ago and there isnt mention of it..

            And adding…how this whole thing works out when the genders are reversed is show in the episode when Monica goes out with Chip….
            Monica was fat and unpopular in high school. She wanted to go out with Chip, but Chip wouldn’t go out with someone like Monica, fat, unpopular unsuccessful in high school terms…
            Years later Monica finally goes out with Chip…but now Chip is highly unsuccessful (just like Rachel when she was a waitress and Ross made that list)..Chip is still stuck in high school mode…Monica is successful and smart, way above Chip’s league in adult world…so she dumped him…
            Didn’t Monica make a (mental) list of reason not to be with Chip…but because Monica is a woman and Chip a guy, here Monica goes unscathed and Chip receives flak for being unsuccessful (stuck in high school)…Infact it is glorified that how Monica gets to DUMP CHIP, like some sort of revenge of Chip ignoring her in high school, like Monica has a higher social status than Chip in adult world and she gets to dump him instead of other way around….
            Ross did the same thing with Rachel and he gets all the flak…even when the situations are same..Ross has a higher social status than Rachel and made a list (just like Monica) and Ross is the only bad guy…why no flak Monica and Rachel for doing the same thing as what Ross did?
            Ross’ only fault was that he had typed the list instead o just making a mental note?
            That is the only extra thing he did over Rachel and Monica (both of whom did it at some point of time)
            So why is Ross hated so much just because he pressed the print button, while others where just one step behind??

          • Theresa Basile says:

            Did you seriously leave TEN different comments on the same post defending Ross? Dear lord.

            I responded to some but I’m deleting the rest because I honestly do not have time to respond to each one.

            But I will add this – Rachel was under no obligation to date Ross in high school just because he liked her. She was not interested in him and it does not matter. It’s not equivalent to what Ross did which was make a list of hurtful things about Rachel while also trying to be with her.

  11. Simon Fallaha says:

    Hi Theresa

    Terrific piece and discussion, and it has given me more than a little food for thought. Funny how I almost always used to side with Ross in my teens, yet if you stop and think about his behaviour today, it does cross the line into reprehensible more often than not.

    I guess that many sympathised, or sympathise, with him because he never sets out to be a jerk, but ultimately, whether he means well or not is irrelevant. Or ought to be.

    A few thoughts:

    – He strikes you as the kind who wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants an intelligent girlfriend and/or friends he can relate to, but not to the point where he can’t feel good about himself or in control.

    I’m reminded of a comment by someone, somewhere, that suggested that Ross actually sort of liked that Rachel was “just a waitress” because that gave him the power, that he was the adult, with the book smarts and the high paying job. So for her to get a job in fashion threw a spanner into his works. But ultimately I think the show wanted us to sympathise more with Ross’s failure to adjust to this change rather than Rachel’s struggle in adjusting to her own change. A change that, in such a short space of time, she was handling admirably.

    – Which brings me to the issue of power again; does Ross, perhaps, strike you as someone who was trampled on in his youth because he was nerdy and nervous, and hence kind of relishes being the know-it-all of the group or the breadwinner in a relationship because it gives him the kind of control he never had in high school? It’s possible.

    Possible, too, that he’s the kind who wants respect from everyone yet respects no one, because he’s been so focused on trying to better himself that he’s never fully thought about anyone else’s rights or feelings.

    – A couple of moments near the end of Series Three stood out. The sacrifice he made for Rachel in deliberately missing his TV debut to look after her when she was injured. It seems touching, but one should also consider the traditionally sorrowful look on his face when he realises that it hasn’t gotten them back together.

    And then there was Bonnie. I still think Rachel convincing her to shave her head was more than a bit low. I’d be interested to know what you think there.

    • Theresa Basile says:

      oes Ross, perhaps, strike you as someone who was trampled on in his youth because he was nerdy and nervous, and hence kind of relishes being the know-it-all of the group or the breadwinner in a relationship because it gives him the kind of control he never had in high school? It’s possible.

      That’s interesting, and definitely plausible. We don’t really know much about Ross’s childhood except that he was a little nerdy in high school and his parents treated him nicer than he treated Monica, but it would add another layer to his pomposity.

      I still think Rachel convincing her to shave her head was more than a bit low. I’d be interested to know what you think there.

      I agree. Ultimately, it’s Bonnie’s choice whether or not to shave her head, and if Ross can’t handle a bald girlfriend, that’s his own issue, but Rachel did it with the intention of throwing a wrench into their relationship, and that’s low.

  12. Carolanne says:

    I admit I haven’t seen the Friends shows as often as some of you, but what I did see about Rachel, I did not like. Example, on one show Ross ripped up a message from some guy she met in a bar and when Rachel found out she went ballistic that Ross never gave her the message. True, Ross should have given her the message….so wrong of him not to, but Rachel’s reaction, to me, seemed insane. Is she really that hard up and pathetic to have every guy go out with her? Wow, it made me dislike her so much. Yes, Ross was wrong but c’mon, he didn’t murder anyone!!

    • Theresa Basile says:

      So, Rachel’s reaction to Ross’s controlling and possessive behavior is worse than Ross’s possessive and controlling behavior?

      I mean, if you want to argue that Rachel sucks, at least go with a different example – like running to England to break up Ross’s wedding.

    • Anwesha says:

      I wud like to say sumthn here..ross had done the same earlier too..back in season 2 wen he had taken a.msg for rachel and then thrown it the lobster episode..see the point is not tht rachel went ballistic, its tht ross has tried again and again to take her choice away..whether its her job, whether her friends (mark) or as simple as giving her a msg..remember wen rachel went on a date while she was pregnant and ross went paranoid? The same ross dint think twice before seeing mona, in the same fricking episode…his hypocrisy rankles…and thts tht..he refuses to apply the same rules for himself and rachel..and this wud piss anybody off..d

      • Carolanne says:

        I agree with you guys that say Ross is controlling and jealous, and how dare he throw away her messages, but what really irritates me about him is that he doesn’t end it for good and stop being an ass. Rachel, to me, is too desperate for a man. Every single time I put on ‘Friends’, she is with a different guy. I don’t “get” her although sometimes she is very funny. Pheebs and Monica are great and Joey, Ross and Chandler are so funny. But I just don’t care for Rachel…sorry, my opinion.

  13. Joe Blow says:

    Am I the only one who is noticing that Ross is a huge tool all around? I am only on Season 4, but even taking the Rachel thing out of it, he is still a huge dick. He acts like he deserves everything, and bitches constantly when he doesn’t get it. I was like Ross growing up (no friends), but eventually I realized that it wasn’t all about me and grew up.

  14. Mac says:

    I agree. Ross was actually my first favorite . I really like him, especially with his soft spot on Rachel, but after season 3, his character became the total dick. They really damaged David’s character—with him screaming all the time , being needy and being such nerd. Now, I’m still watching season 7 and I’m really hoping that Ross would change.

    • Jenna S. says:

      I agree, there are so many times that Ross is just hysterical (Can you say, “PIVOT!”), but I fully believe this is all in David Schwimmer’s amazing acting skills. Ross himself is simply a horrible person.

  15. Ariel Kim says:

    I actually completely agree with this. Never quite understood my dislike for Ross until now. Jealousy can be a very toxic issue.

  16. Erin says:

    I so completely agree. I have been on a binge re-watching all of the seasons, and watching season three now as an adult and not a naïve teenager, I was pretty disgusted and disheartened by Ross’ actions. Watching the season finale as a teenager, I really only remember being excited at Ross and Rachel reuniting. Watching it now, all I can think about is the fact that Rachel gave up such an amazing opportunity for a man who had never been supportive of her, or what she wanted. All I can think is that if the series were created in today’s society, hopefully the writers and producers would be more aware of these issues.

  17. Jack says:

    Great analysis of Ross, but there are some points in his defense.

    1. He’s a Mad Genius. At 26 he had a PhD from Columbia (a world class paleontology school) and a senior museum job. At 30 he was a tenured professor at NYU. He builds anthropology exhibits and dinosaur skeletons. He published highly regarded papers on Sediment Flow Rate. He incorporates MRI scans and DNA testing into his work 20 years before anyone else. And he does all this in his spare time, since his main activities are drinking coffee and obsessing over his dysfunctional relationships. He’s like the Issac Newton of paleontology, if Issac Newton did mechanics on nights and weekends.

    2. He’s very generous with his time and money, giving Rachel as much as she needs without any hesitation.

    3. He’s never violent. Despite the script making him borderline bipolar, Rachel isn’t physically afraid of him. She knows he won’t hit her and that the kids are safe with him.

    4. Despite little on screen time with Ben, he’s written as a great father.

    5. His bad moods are like those of a small child, and his friends can easily calm him down or cheer him up.

    You make a lot of valid points about him, but at the end of the day I still see him as a harmlessly egotistical idiot-savant with a good heart. They could have written him much better, but he’s still a decent character and Schwimmer has some great moments. I’d watch him over Phoebe’s husband any day. Paul Rudd was a terrible choice for that show.

  18. Charles Wise Chambers says:

    An attractive stranger overhears your conversation at a cheap dinner, offers you a chance at dream start in your dream occupation, and becomes a fairly close friend and confidant in very little time. Not only should Ross have been questioning his motives, but Rachel’s friends should have too. Ross was an insecure idiot, but any person with true human emotion would’ve felt some type of way, too.

    • Theresa Basile says:

      I don’t disagree, and Mark did turn out to have a crush on Rachel the whole time (although he was clearly dating someone else in “TOW All the Jealousy” and seemed to like her a lot, so I’m not sure what happened to the girlfriend). But there’s a big difference between not trusting the interloping guy and not trusting your girlfriend.

  19. Sruthi says:

    I agree that Ross was a jerk during season 3 but his character improved a lot by the end of the series. He was exceptionally nice to Rachel during her pregnancy and a lot of other situations, He’s funny ( David Schwimmer is an amazing actor) and caring. Rachel has one of the best character developments but she tends to have that idea that she can get everything she wants (which she does get, most of the time), she got Ross at season 2, joey at season 9…. So yeah, all the characters are equally good and bad , except Phoebe who is just amazing (Kudos to Lisa Kudrow)

  20. Manoj The Great says:

    I know it doesn’t make much sense to look too much into it because it’s fiction.. but Theresa, I think I would have to disagree with you. If one had to point out, clearly Rachel was MUCH MORE SELFISH and UNREASONABLE of the two, while Ross was true to his love for her for most part of the series.

    I guess ‘Carolanne’ has covered a few of the things I wanted to say in her comment in this string but.. Get this:

    Rachel falls for Ross after he hooks up with Julie.. and bails after he breaks up with Julie just because of a dumb list.

    She again starts liking him when he gets Bonnie… and after she breaks them up, again bails because of the 18-page letter.

    Same thing with Emily, while he was about to get married, she runs after him and after it fails,
    she tells Monica that she doesn’t go after guys right after they get divorced (hysterical)

    After she gets pregnant, she goes on a date with some actor friend of Joey, and after realising that it won’t work out and she’s out of options, again turns to Ross after he’s unconditionally nice to her (but gets interrupted by Mona (TG for that)).

    I could perhaps go on and on.. but the point has been made. In this regard, Rachel is rather horrible as she was ALWAYS AN OPPORTUNIST (which would piss off a lot of people), and Ross was always the one who fights/adjusts for the relationship.

    Please let me know if and how you disagree with this,Theresa.

    MONICA sets the benchmark on how selfless a person can be. She’s of course, the BEST CHARACTER EVER. <3 <3 🙂

    • Theresa Basile says:

      First, never apologizing for looking too deep into fiction. It’s an excellent hobby 🙂

      Secondly, I agree with some of the smaller points that you’re making, but not the larger one.

      Yes, Rachel acted badly in some parts of her relationship with Ross – talking Bonnie into shaving her head was particularly low. Bonnie’s a grown woman who can make her own choices, and Ross not being able to handle a bald girlfriend is a little shallow, but that doesn’t excuse Rachel from being underhanded there. (However, I think that’s less gross than Ross lying to Rachel about agreeing with the letter and sleeping with her anyway.)

      With Julie, I’m more sympathetic, because you have the timeline a little wrong. Rachel decided to pursue a relationship with Ross BEFORE she saw him get off the plane with his arm around Julie. It wasn’t a shallow “OMG I want him just because she’s unavailable!” She realized she had feelings for him, went to the airport to tell him she felt the same way, and then saw him with another woman. And she only left a message for him confessing her feelings when she was stinking drunk.

      The wedding with Emily – she acted badly, but every person on the show told her to her face that she was acting badly, so the show was holding her accountable for her bad behavior, which it sometimes does not do with Ross.

      The list is also one of the most dehumanizing things Ross has ever done, in my opinion, not just a “dumb” list that she should get over. That’s a big problem I have with Ross throughout the series. If he does something upsetting that hurts Rachel, he expects her to get over it when it’s convenient to him. In The One Without the Ski Trip, the friends mention that Ross and Rachel fought because Rachel was still upset about Chloe, and Ross said that because they were on a break, she should be over it by now. Not only does he hurt Rachel, but he doesn’t even think she’s entitled to be upset with him.

      Ross may be the bigger pursuer of the relationship overall, and was that way from the beginning, but being the pursuer in a relationship is not, in of itself, a positive trait. Not when you fundamentally don’t respect your partner.

      This is more than I wanted to say on the subject – not that I don’t enjoy the conversation, mind, I’m just running out of new things to say. So I’ll direct you to this link which I agree with 100%:

      • Manoj The Great says:

        Hi Again.. 🙂

        I did briefly go through that other website u suggested.. but that one seemed (don’t mean to offend) rather ridiculous as it was simply obsessing over Rachel. Particularly the part where it was suggested that Joey would have been better for Rachel(than Ross) was downright HILARIOUS. I say this because Joey would’ve obviously dumped Rachel roughly about 3 nights after they start dating for real, if Joey’s character in seasons 1-9 was any indication.

        Back to our discussion, if the List was so DEHUMANIZING, why was it NOT A BIG DEAL when Phoebe made a list (with her fingers)to choose between the Fireman guy and the Teacher guy she was dating simultaneously, and when Monica suggests Ross to make a list about Elizabeth and covertly says that she did the same thing at start of her relationship (with Chandler).

        The only reason it was a big deal in case of Ross-Rachel was because it was PRINTED (so stupid of Chandler) and she read off it.

        Re-watching Friends makes me hate Rachel more than Ross (so maybe I should stop re-watching :P)
        It is a fact (fictional fact) that Rachel in no way is a better person than Ross. It was shown on multiple occasions – when that girl Louisa from Animal Control comes to catch Marcel and says that she went to the same high school as Rachel and calls her a B**** for being mean to her (in S1), and when Brad Pitt says..well essentially the same (in S8). The directors were clearly trying to show that she’s spoiled and selfish (maybe getting better over time but still..) which would prompt viewers to join the ‘I HATE RACHEL Club’ along with Ta-Taka and Brad 😀
        So, I don’t get why she’s seen by you or anyone as the underdog or the innocent one. She’s an opportunist.. above anything.

        I see that most of the arguments in this page are rather rational.. so I keep adding to it.
        And about Ross not respecting Rachel and her job, well she never respected his job and rather made fun of it (ironical coz he has a Ph.D. while she was a waitress once with no job skills). Also, Ross NEVER MOCKED Rach as a waitress or when she was in fashion, he was just worried that it came in the way of their relationship, while Rach just plain makes fun of his job coz she feels that it’s funny.

        Maybe your argument is that the dynamics change when in a relationship, and that may be true.. but Ross was only wrong in that part alone.. while he was a better person than her in pretty much all other seasons.

        • Theresa Basile says:

          You really don’t see any difference between Ross saying Rachel is a) ditzy, b) spoiled, c) too into her looks, d) “just a waitress,” and Phoebe not being able to decide whether she preferred the guy who was handsome and one who was sensitive? You don’t see a difference between someone listing his love interest’s negative qualities and Phoebe listing someone’s positive qualities?

          As for Joey, when he made his list about the things he didn’t like about Rachel, the only thing he could think of was “she made me switch to light mayo.” The whole point of his arc in S8 was that his feelings for Rachel were different from anything he had felt for anyone before.

          I really didn’t want to debate over whether Ross or Rachel is the better human being, but, well, I’m trying to remember which one of them hit on their cousin when they hadn’t gotten laid in awhile…and which one flat-out lied to their ex-wife and said his girlfriend fell in love with another guy when he was the one who slept with the girl at the copy place…

          Anyway, like I said, we’re just going around in circles at this point. Ana Mardoll’s post has everything I feel about Ross and Rachel in there, and if you didn’t really pay attention to it, then there’s not much more to discuss. This post is 4 years old and I’m getting tired of rehashing the same points. Thanks for commenting.

  21. Simon Fallaha says:

    Hi again Theresa

    A little thought just occurred to me.

    What was the use of “Take A Bow” at the end of Season One meant to imply? That Rachel was at fault for not recognising that Ross had “always been in love” with her, and that with Ross and Julie getting together, she was paying the price for “(taking his) love for granted”?

    If so – and I admit, this is just a theory – that’s a little back-handed and mean-spirited. Now, in fairness, at the time, I’m not sure many would have thought that, as Ross was in no way subtle about his intentions towards her over the course of the series. Which led Jennifer Aniston to admit in an interview, if I remember rightly, how hard it was for her to “play dumb” about Ross’s crush, as it was obvious to just about every viewer and every other “friend”. In short – the “it was so obvious, how on earth didn’t you see it” thing.

    But if you think about it, Ross was majorly at fault for his own ponderous passivity. Repeatedly throughout the season, he dropped sledgehammer hints of his intentions without explicitly asking her out. It was sort of like dancing around a dream, refusing to make a move for fear of an illusion being broken. Now, you might put that down to anxiety. And, in fairness, fear is a powerful fuel, but still. There is a limit.

    Which makes the episode of Frasier where Frasier calls Niles out for similar behaviour towards Daphne so refreshing.

    • Theresa Basile says:

      You know, I never really thought about the song choice at the end of that episode. It just sort of popped into my head as “Oh, sad song.” But I think you may be right, and the message is infuriating.

      It’s not as though Rachel ever led him on. She wasn’t cruel or dismissive of his feelings. She wasn’t keeping him on the back burner as a safety school dating option. She didn’t know how he felt about her! And when she found out, she wanted to talk to him about it, and decided not to pursue a relationship, but then changed her mind. And none of that back-and-forth involved being cruel to Ross – it was entirely eternal. So for the writers to punish Rachel for her obliviousness to his crush is pretty mean.

      And I agree with you that it stretches suspension of disbelief a little far that she was completely clueless about his feelings. But, on the other hand, Monica and Phoebe didn’t know either, and Ross did spend a good amount of season 1 mourning his breakup with Carol/being focused on Carol’s pregnancy. So I interpret that as Rachel thinking at the beginning of the season that Ross’s old crush from high school was reignited briefly and then went away.

      It’s also interesting that you brought up Frasier. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it, but I don’t recall the show trying to punish Daphne for not realizing Niles’s feelings for her. It was painful for her to come to terms with her own feelings, but it felt natural, like this is how a human being would act, not the hand of God (being the production team) smacking her down for not giving Niles her love. I also recall a lack of entitlement on Niles’s side – he pined for her and some of his behavior was inappropriate, but I don’t remember him acting like he was OWED Daphne.

  22. Simon Fallaha says:

    Thanks for replying, Theresa. It occurs to me now how often Ross was dropping hints in front of Rachel, kind of hoping she’d catch on without having to ask her out. What was it he said to her about Marcel…? “Just so hard to accept the fact that something you love so much doesn’t love you back.” Easy to see what he was implying, and he was totally unsubtle about it.

    Re: Frasier, yes, I agree with you in that I don’t remember Niles acting like he was entitled to Daphne, and that Daphne coming to terms with her own feelings felt natural.

    The similarity I see is that Niles, like Ross, was dancing around a dream he didn’t want broken. As Frasier told him: “You were never in love WITH her, you were in love AT her… Rather than see her as she really is, you keep holding on to the memory.”

    • Theresa Basile says:

      “Something you love so much doesn’t love you back.” Some THING. Yeah, way to respect Rachel’s humanity, Ross.

      The Frasier plotline was more realistic. I liked that they showed Daphne reacting to the pressure of being put on a pedestal. (It was also one of the more clever ways to disguise/explain an actress’s pregnancy that I can remember.) And the resolution – Niles and Daphne sharing what they DIDN’T like about each other and falling more in love after that – was pretty great.

  23. Elle says:

    I’m 900 years late but I only just found your awesome article and absolutely loved it!

    I think, instead of serial-dating, Ross absolutely needed to come to terms with how he treats his loved ones and work on it. I remember first watching the entire Emily fiasco on Nick@Nite (I was Phoebe; didn’t fully get it at 13 when it wasn’t being syndicated.)
    After seeing WHY the relationship didn’t work out… I kind of raged.
    Did he really not see the parallels there? Emily couldn’t trust him and they ended a marriage. Ross didn’t trust Rachel (not Mark) and it ended their relationship. You’re absolutely right; Monica gave him golden advice and he ignored it fully.

    I’ve effectively shut down the “on a break” thing in those years; which is good. It was cheating to Rachel- that’s all he should have worried about than only just the one night they broke up. Shortly after he was pitting Monica and Joey against Rachel and boldface lying to Carol (Ski Trip Episode). No Rachel shouldn’t have made him take all the blame but after months of his “I didn’t do ANYTHING wrong”, who can blame her for that resentment?

    Not to mention the first bloody episode of season 3 has him making ecstasy sounds when Xerox girl was first brought up. He’s been thinking about his tryst for quite some time!

    Maybe it’s because they put together the most positively developed character together with the most horribly repressed one and… somehow they are “hashtag relationship goals!”

    • Theresa Basile says:

      It was cheating to Rachel- that’s all he should have worried about than only just the one night they broke up.

      Exactly. It’s not enough that he slept with another woman. That, I think, CAN be forgivable. But he had an entitled, selfish reaction to Rachel’s hurt feelings about it. As though she was allowed to be mad for whatever length of time he thinks is acceptable and then has to get over it.

      Excellent point about the ski trip, as well. Look at the differences in the way they behave. Rachel thinks it’s fair that the other friends hang out with Ross instead of accepting her invitation, because he asked first and they stay committed. When the situation is reversed, Ross throws himself a giant pity party and even gets Joey, Phoebe, and Monica to each say they’ll stay behind. (I kind of love Chandler for not buying into that.)

  24. Janet says:

    Good points, but it went beyond just the jealousy around Mark and that one night. He slept with a woman just hours after they were “on a break” and throughout the rest of the show’s run, every time it came up, he would cry out “We were on a break!” He never apologized. If he had done just that, it would have made a difference. But I’ve been watching reruns and he’s just so whiny and spoiled and so mean to Rachel that I don’t know why she ever cared for him. The finale was disappointing. It would have been much more satisfying if he had gone with her. But in order to be worthy of the relationship, he owed her an apology for sleeping with that woman. His defensiveness about it never gave way to even a little empathy over how he hurt her.

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