Joey and Rachel were one of the most contentious relationships in Friends – some fans believed that they were incredibly well-suited, but most felt that it was a romance shoehorned into the show for no real reason. And everyone knew that Joey would always be just another roadbump on the way to Rachel reuniting with Ross (which, of course, came to be in the finale).
In some ways, these two really were a great couple – they both loved style, they have a lot of fun together, Rachel is definitely the most supportive of the group when it comes to Joey’s career and awards, and they know they can live together. However, it’s still not enough, compared to all these reasons that fans knew they were doomed from the start.
She Wasn’t Interested At The Start
Eventually, Rachel and Joey do connect, but when Joey first told her that he had feelings for her, she absolutely did not reciprocate. In fact, they ended up sharing a ridiculously long hug, over dinner, after she told him that she just didn’t feel the same. And while some feelings may develop over time, this is definitely not a good sign – especially when they were both single and already knew each other extremely well.
Joey’s Feelings Were Potentially Just Proximity
Rachel moved in after her and Phoebe’s apartment was damaged in a fire, and then stayed there when it was rebuilt as a one bedroom. Up until this moment, Joey seemed to have no real attraction to Rachel, despite spending an incredible amount of time together – so why was it that he started to fall for her when she moved in? It seems strange, and especially given that he fell for his other female roommate, Janine, maybe Joey just thinks he’s in love with any woman who is available and around that much.
They Are Both Terrible With Money
Admittedly, both Rachel and Joey get better with money as time goes by, but out of the gang, they are definitely the worst. Rachel has spent her life spoiled, and Joey swings from totally broke to incredibly rich, bailed out by Chandler whenever he messes up. If they got together, they would probably end up bankrupt…
Joey Pushed Her Away In The Past…
Fans might not remember, but before Joey developed his feelings for Rachel, he had actually turned her down once already – and not that long before.
…And Then She Slapped Him Away
Of course, once Rachel and Joey actually do try and get together, it’s clear that Rachel is seriously uncomfortable with getting physical with Joey, and keeps slapping his hand away when he tries to touch her. Later, they try to ‘power through’ the awkwardness with wine (and Rachel accidentally knees him in the crotch). This kind of discomfort is clearly not a great start for a romantic relationship!
Rachel Seems To Think He’s Stupid
Admittedly, throughout the series, pretty much everyone likes to make fun of Joey for being ‘stupid’ – and as time goes on, his character is written to be less and less intelligent, too. But the fact that Rachel joins in on this really suggests that they would never make it as a couple. Her looking down on him for not being a big reader, making fun of him for not understanding things, and generally seeming to believe she is smarter than him points to a wildly unbalanced dynamic without a clear foundation of respect.
She Has No Time For Dating
A fairly major issue in their relationship is simply timing. At the point where Rachel and Joey start giving things a try, first she is pregnant, and then she has a new baby – neither of which are particularly good times to try and launch a new relationship.
Joey Struggles With The Idea Of Dating A Friend
At various points in the series, it’s shown that Joey doesn’t do too well with the idea of dating a friend. In earlier episodes, when he gets the idea from Monica to date friends, he starts hitting on his existing friends – and Rachel is quick to shut that down, and explain that’s not how it works. Later, he expresses discomfort with the idea of being with someone who is a friend, and before he tells Rachel how he feels, he wrestles with the idea of asking a friend out. This is clearly not a dynamic he is interested in.
They Lack Chemistry
It’s not just that Rachel slaps Joey’s hands away, but that in general, the two lack real chemistry as a couple. They are fantastic friends, and have a lot of fun together, but when it comes to that spark, there’s just something missing. And for a couple who want their romantic relationships to be monogamous and sexual, that’s a huge issue – how will they make it work if they can’t drum up some chemistry?
Her History With Ross
The most obvious reason that everyone knew this relationship was doomed to fail was that Rachel and Ross are lobsters, and that Ross is most evidently not ‘fine’ with the idea of Rachel and Joey being in a relationship. That might be a bit ridiculous, of course, but it definitely put a strain on the dynamic for everyone, and doesn’t exactly hint at a great future. Rachel had also just had a baby with Ross, and fans knew that they would get back together in the end, so few people had any real hope for Joey’s chances.