OTP Spotlight: Ross and Rachel

Friday, 18 March 2016

Show: Friends
Network: NBC
Actors: Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer

The classic "Will they-Won't they" couple on Friends. These two had their ups and downs throughout the series. I'm going to do something a little different from now on for the "Their history" section, I thought I would go through each season and talk about their progression per season. Then at the end, I'll talk about Why I love them.

Now if you've never seen Friends somehow, and don't want to know what happens, then posts like these probably aren't for you. Go watch the show, then come back and talk to me all about these two if you would like.

Season 1; In this season, it's established from the pilot episode that Ross has had a crush on his younger sister, Monica's old best friend, Rachel since highschool. Throughout this season, their relationship is very one-sided as his feelings for Rachel have resurfaced after all these years. Ross is newly divorced after finding out his wife was a lesbian. Rachel was a runaway bride at her wedding, so she's not exactly looking for a serious relationship this season. Their friendship does grow throughout the season though, and they even share their first kiss at the laundry mat, even though it was more a friendly peck from Rachel than a real first kiss. At the end of the season, while Ross is a away in China for work, Rachel finally finds out that Ross is in love with her, and she realizes that she has feelings for him too and she races off to the airport to tell him, unbeknownst to her that Ross is on the way home with Julie, his new girlfriend he met in China.

Season 2; The season picks up where Season 1 leaves off, Ross is with Julie and now the tables are turned and Rachel's the one hiding her true feelings for Ross. That is until when he finds out about Rachel's feelings. They share their first real kiss, and he breaks up with Julie. But before he did that, he wrote a pros and cons list about the two, and unfortunately Rachel finds it. She's understandably hurt about what was said, and they back to square 1. It isn't until a few episodes later when they watch an old home movie from Rachel and Monica's senior prom, that things start to look up for them. In the video, Rachel's date is late and presumably not coming so Ross gets dressed and ready to take her, when it's discovered that Rachel's date showed up afterall. Seeing what Ross was willing to do for her, and how much he loved her back then. Rachel goes to kiss him as Phoebe proclaims "See? He's her lobster" and according to her, lobsters mate for life. They spend the remainder of the season together as a couple. There was a cute foreshadowing moment in episode 20, when Ross tells Rachel how he thinks they'll have two babies, a boy and a girl but he hopes the girl comes first. A little foreshadowing for Season 8 ;)

Season 3; The first half of this season they are still the happy couple they were at the end of Season 2. It isn't until a handsome man named Mark offers Rachel a job at Bloomingdale's when things start getting bad for these two. Ross is extremely jealous of Mark which causes them to have to same fight over and over. On Ross and Rachel's One Year Anniversary, Rachel is too busy at work to celebrate with Ross. Even though she asked him not to, he brings the dinner to her office which only stresses her out more. This then causes a huge fight between them. During the fight, Ross brings up Mark, again, and Rachel is tired of having the same fight with him and suggests they should take a break. To Rachel this means putting a pause on their relationship, but Ross takes it as if they broke up. When Ross calls Rachel to see if they made a mistake, he hears Mark in the background and gets upset that he ends up sleeping with Chloe, the Xerox lady that Chandler and Joey have a crush on. The morning after Rachel wants to make it work, and Ross tries desperately to make sure Rachel doesn’t find out about Chloe which of course she finds out from Gunther. After they have the biggest fight which ends in one of the saddest break ups on TV (I cry every single time).

The episode after the breakup, it’s really tense between them. They can’t be around each other without fighting, and it puts their friends in an awkward position when it comes to hanging out together. Finally the four other friends address who hard it is for them, and ask them to try to learn to be civil with each other or the six of them won’t be able to hang out all together anymore. After Ross and Rachel work on being able to be in the same room as the other. Eventually making jokes and being on okay terms with each other. During one of the episodes, Monica is learning how to rollerskate for her job and falls on top of Rachel, hurting her ribcage. Ross ends up helping her getting ready for a work event even though he has an important event himself where he had the opportunity to be on TV. When Rachel has to go to the hospital, he gives up his chance to be on TV for her which really touches Rachel.

When Phoebe sets Ross up with her friend, Bonnie, Rachel becomes jealous. In the season finale, Phoebe invites everyone to go to her client's beach house. While there, Rachel lets her jealousy get to her and convinces Bonnie she looked better when she was bald, so Bonnie shaves her head. When Ross confronts Rachel, she tells him about the feelings she still has for him. They share a kiss and Rachel invites him upstairs. The season ends on him walking into a room, and we the audience aren’t meant to know if it’s Rachel’s room or Bonnie’s until the next season.

Season 4; First episode back, we find out Ross went into Rachel’s room. Bonnie was there too, but point is he chose Rachel. They kiss and then he goes to break up with Bonnie. Before Ross and Rachel can get back together, Rachel wrote Ross a really long letter that she wants him to read before they do. Ross being up all night breaking up with Bonnie, falls asleep while reading Rachel’s 18 page, front and back, letter. So he unknowingly agrees to something when she asks about the letter, and they get back together. Once he fully reads the letter, Rachel asks if he can take full responsibility for their break-up to which he doesn’t agree and even though Joey and Chandler tell him to let it go, he tries but he can’t. So after they sleep together, she brings up the letter again and he finally can’t take it anymore and shouts “WE WERE ON A BREAK” which ends their attempt at getting back together right off the bat.

Throughout the season, they often compete to make each other jealous and make lots of references to their relationship, but ultimately they become friends. This season, Rachel has a serious crush on a client at work named Joshua. When Rachel's boss asks her to take his niece out, she agrees until she finds out she has a chance to hang out with Joshua. So she asks Ross to take Emily out, and he reluctantly agrees. Even though Rachel doesn't end up getting to see Joshua that night, Ross ended up having a great time with Emily. While Rachel really likes Joshua, she gets jealous and upset that Ross and Emily are together. But she puts that aside and encourages him to be with her when Ross is sad that his and Emily’s 2 weeks are over. 

When Ross and Emily announce their engagement a few episodes later, Rachel looks devastated but quickly hides it and congratulates them. When Rachel tries to prove that she’s not upset, and tries to show that her and Joshua are on the same level as Ross and Emily, she suggests to Joshua that they get married, which freaks him out and he breaks up with her. She tells Monica and Phoebe that she’s not really sad about her breakup with Joshua, she’s more upset about Ross getting engaged because she always thought that they would be on again. When she tells Ross about her breakup, he comforts her which only makes her more sad but she puts on a brave face for him, and once he's gone, Rachel turns to her girlfriends.

In the episode where Ross and Emily are sending out their invitations, he contemplates inviting Rachel which he ends up deciding to give her an invitation, she then contemplates if she’s going to go or not. While they each think about what they are going to do, they think back on big moments from their past. In the end, Rachel decides she’s not going to go to the wedding because it would be too painful for her. Ross tries to get Rachel to come to London, but she’s adamant that she can’t and lies and pretends she has to work instead of telling him the real reason. He gets upset, and Rachel feels bad. Rachel talks about it with Phoebe, who helps her realize that she’s still in love with Ross. Phoebe then tries to help Rachel get over Ross, but is unsuccessful as Rachel decides she’s going to London to tell Ross she loves him. When Rachel gets there and sees them kissing, she decides not to tell him, but instead congratulates him. When Ross and Emily are doing their vows, Ross ends up saying Rachel's name instead of Emily's, and that's how Season 4 ends.

Season 5; Ross tries desperately to let Emily know that saying Rachel’s name didn’t mean anything whereas Rachel tries desperately to let everyone else know that it had to mean that he still loves her. Ross makes it known that he just sees Rachel as “just a friend” when he’s talking to Emily’s parents. Rachel being in the room when he says that is devastated. When they’re at the airport, Emily doesn’t show up for their honeymoon, Rachel convinces Ross to go by himself but then he offers for her to go with him since he could use a friend. Rachel agrees to go and gets on the plane, but Ross forgets his jacket and when he goes to get it, Emily is there seeing them. Upset, she leaves and Ross goes after her, leaving Rachel to go on the trip alone.

When she gets back she acts all fine with Ross, but the moment he leaves the room, she vents her frustrations to her friends about how awful the trip was and how humiliated she felt. When Ross is upset because Emily sent back all the roses Ross bought her, Rachel comforts him but is interrupted by Monica who tells her to leave it alone. Later on, Rachel decides to tell him that she still loves him despite everyone telling her not to, but after she says it she bursts out laughing because she then realizes how wrong it is to tell him while he’s still married. Then they start to laugh off all the things that are wrong in their lives. But end it with a friendly hug.

Ross begs Emily to come to New York so they can work on their marriage, and she agrees on the condition that he doesn’t see Rachel anymore. Ross is conflicted the whole episode until Rachel, without knowing what the condition is, tells him to do what he has to to fix his marriage. So when Emily calls, he says he’ll do what she asks, and Rachel being happy for him give him a friendly hug. Ross tries to tell Rachel, but he keeps getting stopped by things until he finally tells her in the end and she gets so upset she storms out of her own apartment. Later they are all hanging out, and Ross asks Rachel to stay, then when Emily calls and they pretend Rachel isn't there but Ross sees how hurt Rachel is so he confesses to Emily that Rachel is there. Then, they talk and Ross tells Emily their marriage won't work unless she trusts him and when she says she doesn't that is the end of their marriage.

For the remainder of the season they are just good friends. In the episode where Ross buys a new couch, the salesman doesn't believe they could be together so Ross makes note that not only did they date but they "did it" 298 times. Then when Ross can't flirt with the pizza delivery girl, Rachel goes gets her number for him.

In the season finale, they all go to Vegas to visit Joey, but Ross and Rachel can't fly out the same day as everyone due to prior commitments. When Rachel's home alone, she remembers a conversation she had with Phoebe and ends up walking around the apartment naked. Ross sees her from across the street and thinks that she wants to sleep with him. When he finds out that's not the case, Rachel makes fun of him which starts a little war between them where they take turns trying to embarrass each other. Ross takes it too far when he draws on Rachel's face because it won't come off. They end up getting really drunk in Ross' hotel room, so drunk that they end up eloping which is the cliffhanger for this season.

Season 6; Ross and Rachel don't remember anything about getting married until their friends have to inform them. Ross doesn't want to be known as the divorce guy so he ends not getting the annulment even though he told Rachel he would. So they spend a few episodes married without Rachel knowing. Phoebe thinks it's because Ross still loves Rachel, which he denies but makes it known that he still does by comforting her about having to move out and offering her a place to stay at his place. While Rachel is moving into Ross's apartment, she gets a call from the divorce lawyer and that's how she finds out she's still married. After they sign the divorce papers, Rachel tells Ross that it was her idea to get married, so they end up reconciling in the end.

When Rachel’s little sister, Jill, visits she ends up going out with Ross which makes Rachel extremely uncomfortable. When Ross finds out he stops seeing Jill, but Jill doesn’t take it so well and kisses Ross. After Ross tells Rachel about it, and says that he stopped it because he knew if anything happened with Jill than nothing could ever happen with him and Rachel again. While he doesn’t know if they'll ever get back together, he doesn’t want to close the door completely on their relationship.

Ross dates a student, Elizabeth, and Rachel ends up dating Elizabeth's dad for a little while. But eventually the age difference between Ross and Elizabeth becomes an issue for them, and Rachel breaks up with Elizabeth's dad when he gets over emotional.

Rachel and Phoebe are talking about Monica and Chandler’s engagement, and about how happy they are for them. They then talk about having a backup in case they are still single when they are 40. Phoebe tells Rachel that she already has Joey as a backup, so Rachel goes to Ross to propose they be each other’s backup. But Ross tells her that Phoebe already made him her backup. The girls then do a draw to see who will be their backup, Rachel gets Joey and Phoebe gets Ross but they quickly switch.

Season 7; After Monica and Chandler get engaged, Rachel feels sad and lonely and decides to kiss Ross. They talk about how they never had “bonus” night which is when after a couple breaks up, they have one night where they sleep together. They don’t end up sleeping together in this episode, but I thought that was foreshadowing to what their storyline in Season 8 is. 

Rachel dates her assistant Tag this season until her 30th birthday when she realizes that if she's going to follow her plan than she has to be with the man she's going to marry now, and realizes Tag is too young for her and breaks it off with him.

The day of Monica and Chandler's wedding, Chandler is missing and Rachel feels upset for Monica so Phoebe pulls her into the bathroom so that Monica won't see her upset. While in there, Phoebe discovers a pregnancy test that she assumes is Monica's but we find out at the end of the episode that it's Rachel's, and that she's pregnant.

Season 8; During the wedding reception, Phoebe covers for Rachel while trying to ask her who the father is and when did it happen, questions Rachel's not ready to answer. Monica talks to Rachel about how hard it's going to be for Phoebe to be a single mom, which makes Rachel emotional. Then when Rachel doesn't drink the champagne, Monica clues in that it's actually Rachel that's pregnant. Monica and Phoebe encourage Rachel to take another pregnancy test to be sure, when she does Phoebe pretends it's negative just to get Rachel's true feelings about the fact that she really did want to have this baby then she reveals that it's positive.

Monica and Phoebe speculate who the father could be, and think it's Tag based off a sweater that was left in Joey and Rachel's apartment. When Rachel gets forced to confront Tag by Phoebe, Tag's wearing the sweater proving it's not him. Then at the end of the episode, Ross stops by and recognizes the sweater and claims it's his and he's been looking for it for a month, meaning he's the father! After everyone finds out, Rachel finally tells Ross who doesn't take it so well at first. When Ross shows up at the doctor's, he suggests they get married, Rachel tells him they shouldn't because they're not in love. They argue a little about it until they see their baby on the monitor and all is resolved. 

When they tell the story of how it all happened, it's revealed that Rachel made the first move with Ross resulting in them sleeping together. A few episodes later, Rachel goes on a date with one of Joey's co-stars which freaks Ross out at first, but he comes to terms with it. Then he runs into Rachel who cut her date short because he wasn't okay with her being pregnant. Ross ends up cheering her up, and when Rachel goes to see him to maybe hang out more, he's met up with Mona who he met at Monica and Chandler's wedding. Ross and Mona end up dating for the first half of the season.

Around the time they start talking about names for their baby, they have their check-up where they can find out the sex of the baby. At first they say they don't want to know, but Ross catches Rachel peeking and thinks she saw when she really didn't. Ross ends up finding out, and since he thinks she already knows, he reveals that they are having a girl. When Ross keeps missing important moments, Joey suggests that Ross and Rachel live together and so Rachel moves in with Ross. When Mona finds out Rachel is living with Ross, it's too weird for her and she breaks up with Ross.

At Ross and Monica's anniversary party, their parents tell the guests that Ross and Rachel are married. So during the party, they pretend to be married and when they get Ross to explain how he proposed, he tells this beautiful story that moves Rachel and he later tells her that that was how he thought he would've proposed to her when they were dating.

When the baby is late, they will do anything to get the baby out so they try everything the doctor suggests except for sex because Ross is worried about what that will do to their relationship. But when Rachel continues to be unbearably mean, he goes for it and after just one kiss, her water breaks. As they are getting ready to leave, they have a moment where they genuinely kiss and it's very sweet. In the finale, they have their baby. When they can't come up with a name, Monica tells them the names she had picked out, and Rachel loves the name she picked for a girl, and Monica tells her to take it which is how they come up with the name, Emma.

After the baby is born, Phoebe and Ross talk about why he's not with Rachel and he's worried that if they do and it doesn't work out that it will hurt Emma. Earlier in the episode, Ross's mom gave him an engagement ring and he left it in his jacket pocket, when Joey goes to move it, it falls out so he bend down to pick it up and turns to Rachel. She mistakes that as him proposing and because she's upset and afraid she'll be alone, she says yes unbeknownst to her that Ross is on his way to her room to discuss getting back together, and that's how this season ends.

Season 9; The first episode back is a bunch of misunderstanding between almost all the characters about who’s really engaged to who. In the end it’s cleared up that neither Joey or Ross were going to propose to Rachel. Ross did want to see if Rachel wanted to start dating again and Rachel seems interested in talking about it, but he gets thrown off when he realizes that Rachel said yes to Joey’s accidental proposal. After that Ross and Rachel decide to just be friends and take care of their child.

Rachel has her first night out with Phoebe, and before she goes out her and Ross have a moment. At the bar, her and Phoebe talk about it and while they do some guys send them drinks. Rachel ends up giving her number to one of the guys but then instantly regrets it because she doesn’t want Ross to pick up the phone if he calls. He ends up getting the call anyways, and decides to not give Rachel the guy’s number. At Rachel’s birthday she ends up kisses her co-worker that she hates, Gavin, on Monica’s balcony. Ross ends up seeing from his apartment across the street. Ross being Ross, goes about it all the wrong way, and he and Rachel end up getting into a huge fight over everything that she ends up moving out of the apartment and back in with Joey.

For the rest of the season, they are just friends who are parents to Emma. In the season finale, Ross kisses Joey's very recent ex-girlfriend, Charlie and since Joey just finished finding out that Rachel has a crush on him, he goes and kisses her.

Season 10; When Ross finds out about Joey and Rachel, he tries to pretend he's fine when he's really not, but he tries to be in the end for them. But it turns out it's too weird for Joey and Rachel when they try to sleep together, so they break it off and agree to be just friends. As for Ross and Charlie, she gets back together with her ex-boyfriend when they meet up again when Charlie's ex-boyfriend is the person that's going to decide whether Ross gets his grant or not.

When Rachel's dad has a heart attack, Ross goes with her to Long Island to visit him. While there, she tries to make a move on Ross but he refuses because he's worried that because she's upset and vulnerable that he would be taking advantage of her. While he thinks he was doing the right thing, Rachel is annoyed with him about it. After this he claims that they will never have sex again, that "sex is off the table". Which later leads to a conversation about them, and how it's a shame since they have such a strong connection. After that Rachel tells him that for them "it's never off the table".

Rachel goes for an interview with Gucci, but her boss from Ralph Lauren is at the table next to her, and she blows the interview and gets fired from her job. Ross goes with her to clear out her things, and they bump into Mark on the street and he offers Rachel a potential job opportunity with Louis Vuitton. Because it's Mark, Ross becomes jealous again and thinks he's only doing it to sleep with Rachel, but it turns out Mark is married with kids. Mark offers Rachel a job, but it's in Paris so Ross tries deperately to get Rachel her old job back from Ralph Lauren so she can stay in New York and he does, but she decides she wants to take the job in Paris.

At Rachel's going away party, she says goodbye to everyone except for Ross which he gets upset about and he thinks it's because she doesn't care about him as much as she does the others. When he confronts her about it, she tells him that it's the exact opposite that saying goodbye to him is too hard for her. They sleep together after that, and the next morning Ross is heartbroken when Rachel saw it as the perfect way to say goodbye. Phoebe convinces him to tell Rachel how he feels, so they race to the airport so he can tell her. After he tells her he loves her, she still gets on the plane but calls him (and gets his voicemail) while she's on it about how she regrets how they left things and how she needs to see him and that she has to get off the plane. The message cuts off before she says if she got off the plane or not, and Ross is left wondering but she's already in his apartment because she got off the plane. They kiss, and declare their love for each other, promising that this is it, no more on again/off again, they are back together for good.

Why I love them:

It was so clear from the start that they were meant for each other. It was great when they got together, it was heartbreaking when they were apart. Every moment they have together is either very sweet, very heartbreaking, or both. Even though they were the quintessential on again/off again couple, it was very fun to see how their relationship progressed through the whole series and it was so satisfying in the end when they ended up together.

Are you a Ross and Rachel fan? What did you love about them?

***PS. How do you like this style of OTP Spotlight? Going through each season and writing about all the moments that shaped their relationship. Do you like it this way or was it too long and you prefer the way I use to do it? Any input would be very helpful.

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