Remember Friends? That’s a rhetorical question really. It’s one of those shows that’s almost impossible to miss. When the theme song says “I’ll be there for you,” it means it! The ‘90s and early ‘00s NBC series is one of the most popular shows ever, spanning ten seasons and hundreds of sayings attached to it. Just say “pivot” and the Friends fans will pop their heads up. But, real talk. David Schwimmer’s Ross Gellar is a seriously problematic character. It’s time to stop romanticizing him. He’s just straight-up the worst.
Poor, poor Rachel for not seeing these red flags. According to Jennifer Aniston, her famed character would still be happy and in love with Ross Gellar, too! Gross. Sure, Ross is a little annoying to begin with, but his unpleasantness really explodes around Season 6. Grab a faJITA and let’s reflect on key moments from Friends that show Ross Gellar’s true colors (“It’s SALMON”).
David Schwimmer as Ross and Cole/Dylan Sprouse as Ben on Friends
So I know this is just a television show and child actor labor laws exist, but I do not want to know how Ross’ first son Ben turned out at a Friends reunion given his treatment on the show. First off, he seems a lot more like an uncle to his son, then an actual parent considering how much he spends time with him. Sometimes a young Sprouse twin would show up in an episode and I forgot he had one? But once he and Rachel have a child, he’s all about the parenting life, right? Plus, one time he totally wouldn’t let Ben play with a Barbie even though he picked it out himself and it was his “security blanket” at the time. He forced a G.I. Joe doll on him despite his wishes.
David Schwimmer with college student in Friends as Ross Gellar
The number one rule about being a college professor should be to not get involved with a student. It comes off as creepy and doesn’t make students feel safe at all. Also, the fact that one person has control of the other’s grades (and therefore future) creates an uncomfortable power dynamic. Yet, Ross totally does this in Season 6 with a student who is at least 10 years younger than him. When he finds out it’s against school code, they hide their relationship too! The worst part is when Rachel ends up dating the student’s father (played by Bruce Willis) and Ross complains about their age difference (which is much more realistic by the way).
Jennifer Aniston as Rachel in Friends, gifts from Ross
Not to mention how incredibly possessive Ross is! He shows this again and again throughout the series toward his “lobster” Rachel, but it’s maddeningly apparent when she first starts working at Bloomingdale’s. Once Ross notices a possible “threat” in Mark at her new place of work, he starts barging in unannounced and by sending her annoying cards with his face on it and grand flowers. Sure, it’d be cute to receive a gift from your boyfriend at work, but he clearly only did these gestures to fend off Mark. Rachel understandably gets mad calling it “marking his territory”.
Ross and Emily’s London wedding in Friends
Yes, something dramatic has to happen during a season finale. But, it’s just sooo Ross to be the one to set things off. At the end of the fourth season, after he’s been dating Emily for a while they send all their family and friends off to London for an expensive wedding overseas. When the big moment comes to say “I do” Ross calls Emily “Rachel” in front of everyone! It’s disrespectful to his wife-to-be and Rachel for not telling her how he feels before it slipping out in such a big way. Don’t even get me started on the time he wouldn’t go through with his divorce with Rachel later because he didn’t want to be divorced three times. The second time (with Emily) was completely on him.
Ross Gellar and Charlie Wheeler in Friends
If stabbing backs and taking names doesn’t already look to be Ross’ MO, think back to the time when Ross hooked up with fellow paleontologist like a single beat after she broke up with Joey. Charlie and Joey may not have been a match made in heaven and it’s pretty clear her and Ross would be a better match, but Joey is only just processing his breakup with Charlie when Ross dives in and goes for the kiss, right in his view! And again, when the tables are turned on Ross, when Rachel and Joey get together for a moment, Ross can’t help but whine about it.
Ross and Rachel “Take A Break” On Friends
Now it’s time to talk about the No. 1 talked about Friends phrase of all time. “We Were On a Break!” Ross and Rachel hit a rough patch in Season 3. Rachel opens up the discussion for the two taking some time off from each other but Ross instead takes her words to heart and just storms off! Before he knows it, he’s wallowing in a bar and hooking up with the cute copy girl. The two spend the night together and Ross spends an entire episode trying to cover up the trail of his cheating. Once Rachel confronts him (and literally every time after) he never owns up to it. He defers to the “we were on a break” line – even though they were not broken up. And it’s a dumb excuse.
Ross and Rachel on the series finale of Friends
The most disappointing thing about Ross has to be how his behavior just ends up leaving fans with a bitter taste in their mouths when rewatching the series finale. In the final episode, Rachel is given a shot to travel to Paris and live out her dreams of fashion design there. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the taking, but Ross hates the idea. He doesn’t want her to be happy or follow her dreams away from the coffee waitress she starts off to be. So he goes behind her back and gets her a job in New York and goes to her at the airport to convince her to stay. She ends up running after him and fictionally keeping up with bullshit for 25 more years!