The popular sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S has a special place in the hearts of its viewers. The friendships and love that this show displayed have ignited hope in the masses to achieve the same. The coffee shop, the apartment, and the actors became iconic and synonymous with the show. The fandom also grew with the growth of the reputation of the show. There were wars among fans about Rachel and Ross v/s Rachel and Joey. But the majority stood with Rachel and Ross as their OTP (One True Pairing). A relationship is generally supposed to be mutually beneficial and supportive while Roschel’s was just not. Ross’s behavior towards Rachel was not only detrimental to her character arc but also highly toxic. Although she was not entirely a saint, let us just say the scale is just not in favor of Ross.
Ross plays the ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ (How many tropes have we seen of that, eh?) and Rachel plays the damsel-in-distress (at least in the beginning). The whole ‘he-has-feelings-when-she-doesn’t-and-she-has-feelings-when-he doesn’t’ brings in a lot of angst and pining at the beginning of the series. The fact that their relationship began based on friendship was commendable but did not entirely explain further events. As a friend and as a member of the core group, Ross supported Rachel’s foray into the ‘real-life’. He also knew how fiercely she felt about her independence and how she was looking for her place in the world. So why did he not actually support her when she got her job and all the responsibilities that came with it? A person who is working can sympathize with her need to give her 100% to the job she loved doing. Yes, that did not leave much time for dating and yes, she had to interact with male colleagues and even form meaningful relationships with them but that did not ever mean she stopped loving Ross. Just because the show did not show it did not mean that Ross also did not maintain such relationships with his female colleagues. This was such a pivotal point in their relationship and what comes after is even more heartbreaking. Ross and Rachel take a break and Ross sleeps with Chloe. The iconic ‘We were on a break’ is played for comedic effect in the latter part of the show. Although they had a lengthy discussion they could not exactly achieve a compromise regarding that matter. Ross tried his best to explain his stand on the issue but was not ready to listen to Rachel’s point of view. Rachel, on the other hand just wanted someone to blame. Toxic, much?
Besides this, the fact that both realize their feelings at critical moments seems suspicious. It is almost always when the other person is going to go far away. Like when Rachel realized her feelings when Ross was going to marry Emily. Or when Ross realized his feelings when Rachel was about to board a plane. Seems as if it is more about ‘loss’ rather than ‘love’. The only difference is that Rachel does not actually confess her feelings and holds back while Ross did. Ross messed up anyway and Rachel lost an enormous opportunity that would have furthered her career and brought so much individual growth. She would also have a job she loved and found her place in the world, the one she was seeking in the first place. This would have given Rachel a better story arc, one which she deserved.
– Darshana Jose
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