Unpopular Opinion: Rachel Green Should Have Ended Up With Joey Tribbiani

Rachel Joey look

– Posted by Sage

As shippers go, I’m fairly conservative. I usually stick to the canon, largely because real life is disappointing enough and I don’t need to set my heart on any more lost causes. But I do carry a torch for a few misfit couples (Toby/CJ, what you could have been!) – the ones that never really got there but I just can’t quit.

Rachel Green and Joey Tribbiani are #1 on that list. One of the reasons that Friends is my favorite sitcom of all time is that the writers developed a handful of 11th hour stories for our characters that changed the game, but still made sense. After years and years (and yeaaaaars) of Ross/Rachel drama and copy girls and “we were on a break,” the show managed to get me quickly and completely on board with Joey/Rachel. But then, they expected me to get off that ship just as quickly. I’m here to tell you that putting Rachel and Ross back together at the end of the series was sentimental and just plain wrong. Take away the fear of a fan uprising and the plans for a Joey spin-off, and the choice is clear: Joey and Rachel are the real soulmates.

Here are the top 7 reasons why I will go down with this ship:

1. The whole thing started with them getting to know each other better.

Rachel Joey award show

We’re not talking about friends who have suddenly found themselves attracted to each other after years of platonic intimacy here. Remember that Joey first hit on Rachel in the pilot. On her wedding day. And if you argue that point on Rachel’s side, I direct you to “The One That Could Have Been” for proof that she has been harboring a latent boy-girl thing for him.

So no, this isn’t about surprising sexual feelings or a drunken hook-up. (We’re not against drunken hook-ups here at Head Over Feels, whether they are of the televised OR personal variety. We have a drunken hook-up to thank for Mondler, after all.) How WONDERFUL is it that Joey and Rachel’s feelings for each other developed just because they got to know each other even better? Before Season 8, these two didn’t find themselves alone in storylines together very often. So, when they moved into Chandler and Joey’s old apartment together, there was plenty of new material to mine. I know from holding my ground in some bitter ship-battles that not everyone agrees, but to me, taking these characters down this path felt completely organic. Why? I’m glad you asked…

2. Rachel had FUN with him.

I love it at Joey's Rachel

Rachel Green had the richest journey of any character on Friends, except for perhaps for Frank Jr. – husband, father, pyromaniac. By Season 8, she’s a self-sufficient professional on her way to being a single mom. But deep down, she’s still the popular, rich girl who had it easy in high school (aside from the “hermaphroditic cheerleader from Long Island” rumor) and isn’t always the most composed or mature person in the room…

…Except when Joey’s the only other person in that room. Rachel obviously loves Monica desperately – she is her person – but it must have been freeing for her to move from the land of 11 classifications of bathroom towels to Joey’s House of I Don’t Give A Shit. And it’s not just the loosey-goosey housekeeping rules that she loves about being “the hottest roommate” Joey’s ever had. They have the same sense of humor (“Erectus?” “No, homo!”) and a similar glass-half-full, go-with-the-flow quality. And don’t even try to substitute the steamed vegetables that come with your steak for a half-pound lobster if you don’t want to make Joey Tribbiani fall deeply in love with you.

I’ll say it again: Rachel is going to be a SINGLE MOM. She’s dealing with an unexpected pregnancy and the father of her child dating other women. Spending time with Joey allows her to focus on the good stuff, take things as they come, and be excited about her new life, instead of worrying. No wonder she’s so grateful to him.

3. Being in love changed Joey. And he was fine with it.

Joey Tribbiani We love her

But really, this arc was Matt LeBlanc’s most Emmy-worthy work on this show. This is JOEY TRIBBIANI, as I screamed to Kim on Avenue A last night while talking about this post. Joey doesn’t share food, and he certainly doesn’t let himself be completely obliterated by his feelings for a girl. He doesn’t hold his best friend while she watches a scary movie, “terrified” of what’s going to happen. But if Barney Stinson can become a one-woman guy, why can’t Joey? He has even mushier insides than the Barnacle.

There are so many lovely sequences in the R/J episodes where Joey is trying to make sense of his feelings, either to himself, his friends, or a very cute dog. Joey is an innocent, which is why we found his womanizing endearing and not gross. We forgive it, because we can see that he’s just not ready. But he’ll get there. Way back in Season 5, he shows that growth for the first time. Joey sees Monica and Chandler cozily working on a crossword puzzle together and dreams about himself in Chandler’s place:

Monica: “But that’s good that you’re not in love with me, because you just want a girlfriend!”

Joey: “No, I don’t think it’s just about just getting a girlfriend. Y’know? I mean, yeah, I can get a girlfriend! Yeah, we could sit in the chair and do crosswords, but y’know are we ever going to have, y’know, the closeness like – like you guys have?”

Chandler: “Well y’know, Monica and I were friends before we started dating. So maybe – maybe that’s it?”

Joey: “Friends first? That’s interesting.”

Isn’t it, Joey? It is, indeed, very interesting.

4. It made Ross do this:

I'm fine Ross Gellar

Ross, understandably, doesn’t know what to do with himself when he finds out that Joey and Rachel are making a go at a relationship. And his meltdown is just gorgeous.

*See “Pi-vot!”, “MY SANDWICH?”, and “Get off my SISTER!” for more evidence that an unhinged Ross is the BEST Ross.

5. Joey fell in love with a pregnant lady and then with her kid. Are you kidding me with this perfection?

Joey Tribbiani helping out with the baby

Granted, Jennifer Aniston plays an incredibly radiant pregnant lady. BUT STILL, she IS preggers, and only getting more so. There’s nothing convenient for Joey about these circumstances. It’s messy, scary, and not at all glamorous. Joey is a family guy though, who will beat the shit out of anyone who hurts one of his many, many sisters and, if he had to, would pee on any one of us. He falls in love with Rachel AND with the idea of a family. He’s ready to give up all the things he loves about not being tied down to make her and Emma happy. Ross who?

6. It was hot.

Joey Rachel kiss

The defense rests. Not really, but you know what I mean.

7. BECAUSE THERE IS NO VALID REASON IT SHOULDN’T HAVE WORKED.

Joey Tribbiani she is so beautiful

Following the beautiful character development and all the sweet moments, the way that this storyline abruptly ended was nothing short of a crime. All I can remember is that, after weeks of sexual tension and some pretty steamy making out, Rachel and Joey decided out of the blue that it was too weird for them to be physical. And then they never spoke of it again. What?! Show, you cannot give me something this exquisite and then pull it away from me with no warning. Who do you think you are, Friends? Doctor Who?

I get that the Ross/Rachel seed was sown many moons ago and that some fans would feel betrayed if they didn’t get payoff in the finale. But wasn’t it enough? I was right there with you guys obsessively rewinding the kiss in Central Perk and crying through the first breakup. But after 10 seasons, those two were DIFFERENT PEOPLE than they were back in “The One with the Prom Video.” Maybe I just don’t believe in lobsters. Or maybe I think that Phoebe was wrong about which lobster belonged to Rachel.

I don’t know if I’ve changed any minds and hearts here today, but I do hope that I’ve at least explained myself clearly. Or maybe this opinion is a little more popular than I think. Rachel/Joey shippers, if you are out there, please make yourselves known! Or, if you think I’m completely off-base here, defend your undying support of Ross/Rachel in the comments. I’ll be there for you no matter what. (She did it! She said the thing.)

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99 thoughts on “Unpopular Opinion: Rachel Green Should Have Ended Up With Joey Tribbiani

  1. Ross says:

    This some bullshit. #RossAndRachel. I bet you are the kinda person that fux your best friend’s significant other and claims you’re in love. #Asshole

      • Stuti Yuhanna says:

        Thank God m nt d only one who thinks this way! I mean it’s like everyone is talking about Ross n Rachel n their ‘lobster thing’, but i was heartbroken when Rachel doesn’t ended up with Joey. I dunno why writers brought the storyline of R/J if they intended to end up it like this? I mean the only thing i hate about friends is this, they make Joey fallen love with Rachel n then there is whole new Joey who is even more sweeter n cuter than before , then Rachel also started feeling same n then it’s all over cz they can’t make out! It doesn’t make any sense. Also everyone else in friends have their partners but Joey was ended up alone! He was my favourite from all of them n he was left alone that is so not fair! Anyways now it feels much better that there are other people who thinks in a same way.
        N for those who say Joey was a womaniser or had no respect for women.

        He is the only one who doesn’t slept with any of other girls in group. Like Chandler did (off course later he fallen love with Monica n married n they become most lovable couple of the show but at first time in London he did it without any feelings for Monica), but Joey inspite of feelings for Rachel puts his friendship before his love.

        N Ross as v all know cheated on Rachel n give his stupid legendary excuse ” WE WERE ON BREAK!” for doing so. N he also constantly mentioned that he wanted to be physically intimate to Rachel after that without any stings attached. Like when Rachel was naked in her apartment once he said he wanted it as one time thing! N also in ‘the one with Monica’s thunder’ he again wanted one time thing n ofcourse he made Rachel pregnant with again by one time thing. N even after that he started dating other women. This is what you R/R fans call LOVE! This is the way a man behaves with a woman he loves?
        Joey was a big time flirt i agree but did he did anything like this to whom he claims to be in love with? Think! n some people here are commenting about the wooden leg thing which was an accident! He was totally freaked out after doing that n so he ran away that can happen to anyone. And at the end of the day it was a ‘comedy show’ that wooden leg storyline was in humour way about Joey’s height of stupidity. But Joey’s character was always so loyal with his friends. Not only with Rachel look him with Chandler. He was the best n i wanted him to end up with Rachel.
        I heard makers of the show wanted to endup R/R together because of chemistry of Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer which was great btw. But I think if they wanted it they should portrayed Ross’s character more carefully.
        P.S. sorry for such a long comment but i wanted to share my thoughts.

        • Sujit Chandra says:

          Totally agreeing with u. I too have the exact feeling about Ross and Rachel. I still don’t understand how everyone calls them made for each other. Joey and Rachel are just perfect!!

    • If the best friend can date while his “significant other” is pregnant, then he has no fricking right to complain if his significant other wants to have a life…so BACK OFF..

    • Candy says:

      Wow, what an extremely immature thing to say.. Rachel and Joey are so perfect together. He is so sweet. The Ross and Rachel ship sail along time ago. Ross and Rachel hadn’t dated in years, it is not wrong for her and joey to be together at all and I am not the kind of person who fux my best friends significant other #Dumbass

  2. Cayden says:

    I wasn’t an R/J supporter (neither was I against them, just neutral about their relationship), but you’ve totally rationalized it! I completely agree. And I agree with your #4 for a different reason – Ross’ reaction was, I felt, very immature and insensitive. Throughout the series, Ross has done so many things that prove that he is not respectful nor considerate of Rachel (the list, the xerox girl, the mark thing, when she had to work late on their anniversary, etc), and I just don’t think he deserves her.
    Although, I do think R/R has better chemistry than R/J..

  3. Leen says:

    YES THANK YOU. I NEEDED THIS. I completely agree with everything on this list. I did love Ross and Rachel, their first kiss was magical and when they broke up I always knew they’d be back together, and they did, and it was short and disastrous. And after that, it just felt like they didn’t really fit together anymore, I’ve just thought of them as that type of relationship that was full of passion but at the same time, full of drama and that made things interesting, yes, but eventually you’re bound to surrender to something so draining. When they introduced the Joey and Rachel arc, it just clicked. They actually made sense. They were good friends, and later on it would be established that they like each other more than friends,and it felt like Joey was what Rachel needed, she was happy with him, they have similar interests, they have fun together and all the while they could raise the baby together. And Joey needed Rachel because he brought out the side of him he was missing all along, she taught him how it felt to fall in love, he was even willing to set aside his feelings because of Ross and I liked that he didn’t accept Emma just because she’s Rachel’s baby but because he genuinely wanted to take care of both of them (although it’s a love-hate relationship when Hugsie’s in the picture) AND he was man enough to confess his feelings to Rachel (it was so heartbreaking when Rachel turned him down the first time). The only thing missing for me was Rachel developing deeper feelings for Joey, and I thought that that was where the story would be heading but no, they chose to rip our heart out after just way too few episodes, they could have at least give us more episodes with them savoring the relationship. But I guess, they delivered the Ross and Rachel story too long that Rachel with any other guy would be a betrayal. But hey, for me, Joey is Rachel’s lobster.

  4. T. says:

    Thank you for this post. This sums up so much of how I feel! I grew up watching an episode of Friends here and there, but not until they put the show on Netflix did I watch it all the way through chronologically. So I knew how things would end up. But seeing the individual character development of Joey and Rachel each separately, and then the (albeit teeny tiny) arc of their short-lived relationship, I just….! It’ll always be Joey and Rachel together for me. I’ll pretend it ended some other way. Ross and Rachel had passion, but were better off friends. Joey and Rachel had a deep, solid friendship turned slow-burn. That’s what really made it for me. They just fit..

  5. I completely agree with you. He was so considerate the entire time. Ross freaked out when he found out she was pregnant, but Joey even read the baby books! I wish they would’ve ended up together. And let’s face it, Rachel and Joey are both 10s, Ross is an 8 at best.

  6. Carlistar27 says:

    I have one more thing I think needs to be added to the list
    When Ross made a list of cons about Rachel there were multiple things, you love a person for their traits not in spite of them
    When Joey made his list it had one thing, she made me switch to low fat mayo and then he said he did not even mind that.

  7. KK says:

    I totally agree. I was sad when FREINDS ended. And the fact Rachel and Joey were not together just made it worse.
    Joey loved Rachel enough to let her.
    He deserved her.

  8. KK says:

    Posting it again just because previous seems to be having lot of errors.
    I was sad when FRIENDS ended and the fact that Joey and Rachel didn’t end up together just made the feeling worse.
    Joey loved Rachel enough to let her go.
    He desrved her.

  9. Jjj says:

    This is nonsense. Rachel is DEAD serious about married life. That was why she left Barry to begin with. She can be a good friend with Joey. But there is no way for her to even consider Joey as a lover. By putting them together, you completely confuse friendship with love.

  10. Jjj says:

    Plus Joey has zero respect for women. Remember the leg? Saying Joey is a family man is like saying sun may come up from the west. The only reason for such a twisted plot is because NBC wanted to stretch the show from 9 to 10 seasons.

  11. Kay says:

    Thank you so much. <3 I felt really betrayed too when the writers just suddenly put a stop to their relationship. It was really out of the blue and made very little, if it ever did make any, sense. They just needed the series to come to full circle which was, let's be honest, a betrayal to who the characters were by the end of the show. Joey had become the one person who deserved to be with Rachel. Rachel had become the one person who completes Joey's life. Ross? Ross had become the person who says Rachel has smaller brains than he does. The ending just didn't make sense at all. 🙁

  12. SK says:

    The best part of any story is the way the characters develop and change. Joey and Rachel should have ended up together.

  13. delena says:

    exactly! I felt so good when Joey fell in love with Rachel.And the ending of season 9..! I haven’t loved any episode more! I mean at first Ross and Rachel were on fire! But in time they got too boring! Joey and Rachel should have ended up together

  14. Julia says:

    I agree completely! Joey was so supportive and they had a ton of on-screen chemistry. Rachel and Joey had fun together (ex. the date) and he was so sweet. They were good friends for a long time, and it’s not uncommon falling for someone you see everyday for years.

    Ross and Rachel were beautiful in the beginning, but after a while they became so damn dysfunctional. Sure they had their moments, but in the end I think it should have been R/J.

    Honestly I loved both, but it will always be Joey and Rachel for me.

  15. Rachel and Joey made infinitely more sense than Rachel and Ross. Ross was manipulative, petty and just overall mean to Rachel ever since he cheated on her. Joey actually treated her well. It’s ridiculous that Ross gets the girl he pined for after how horrible he was to her.

  16. nighthawk2005, so much YEESSS…I loved Friends when it first aired, but when it came on Netflix my husband refused to watch it with me because he hates Ross…then I realized that I hate Ross too…he is seriously the worst, from the moment he and Rachel break up the first time! He is immature, selfish, elitist, sexist, close-minded and mean….seriously the WORST. Joey and Rachel were so perfect together, and, from the moment he expected her to put her budding career at her dream job on hold for HIM, Ross never deserved Rachel. The, Worst.

  17. Lee says:

    It should’ve been Rachel & Joey, & it always will be in my mind…& heart!♥ Just comes to show that good people always get screwed over in the end:'(

  18. Lee says:

    PS…wouldn’t a reunion episode be great, where Rachel & Ross are no longer together, then Rachel & Joey are able to rekindle their relationship? Ah, in never hurts to hope:)

  19. Muttley says:

    I just felt that Ross and Rachel were overwhelmingly annoying after awhile. Even Monica mocked it!
    “I love Ross! I hate Ross! I love Ross! I hate Ross!”
    And when she was with Joey, she seemed much happier. And Joey became a more considerate character, with less womanizing (less, but not drastically) kind of guy, who did what he could for his friends.
    I also found their reactions to Rachel’s goodbye a huge tell-tale.
    Joey: attempts to jump off a building
    Ross: gets angry, insults her, and becomes irrational – claiming he should be the focus of the difficulty in leaving.
    And while I understand they have a baby together, he makes no compromise to go with her (yes, he got tenor but if his job is not in jeapordy, can he not study in Paris for a year?) but instead makes her put her life on hold.
    Joey always – though he was upset about it – put his friends first after reasoning and realizing they need to expand. Ross doesn’t do that for Rachel.

    TL;DR? I agree completely! R/J over R/R any day.

    Bonus: They should’ve given Joey for back story! I felt he was so underdeveloped, and it almost like he got the R/J arc as filler to replace his of character development.

    • HeadOverFeels says:

      Totally. There was so much meat to the Joey/Rachel story and to Joey’s development alone that was just squandered when the writers realized they wanted to backtrack from something they intended to be an 11th hour twist. –S

  20. Megan says:

    Beautiful, just beautiful. I remember watching the episodes when I was younger but it was never in order. It wasn’t until they came onto Netflix that I really was able to watch the story chronologically and understand what was really happening. Of course in the beginning everyone loves Ross/Rachel because that relationship dynamic helped develop their characters and it fleshed out in a logical “let’s see where this old high school I never knew you cared about me puppy love” type of way. But when their relationship began to break down it truly did drag on into the realms of absurdity, and unfortunately that is something which TV writers live and breathe. (I mean can you blame them for wanting to write more episodes of their extremely popular show that was taking in the viewers? Most TV shows milk romantic story lines into oblivion so they can squeeze every last penny out of it.) I definitely agree that Ross’ character turned sour very early on for me, he was disrespectful, condescending, and sexist when he was with Rachel. Honestly for as many times as Joey was called a pig, I always felt that was Ross more than anyone. I loved watching Joey and Rachel become friends and fill in the gaps in each other’s lives when the other needed someone, and they always did it without ulterior motives. Rachel became so self sufficient in the end too that she and Joey (who seemed so easy going, and I believe would have gone to Paris with Rachel and Emma if there had been the chance) could have survived together and been happy, giving her the chance to be responsible in something like providing for a family (unfortunately TV writers seem to avoid the strong female career woman and stick to the over done manly man breadwinner style of relationships.) Also Rachel and Joeys love for one another seemed real and there was never any foul play between them, they honestly cared about each other and in the end when the passion of physical love has died down their true friendship and care for one another is the kind of love that remains and is hard to find. I wish with all my heart that they had ended up together, even though neither character was perfect their love seemed to fit comfortably into the storyline without much effort. I haven’t found many people that agree with the Rachel/Joey ship, so thanks for posting! (Sorry for the long comment…Friends was such a huge part of my life.)

    • HeadOverFeels says:

      This was beautifully put, and I couldn’t agree more. I appreciate Rachel’s growth so much more re-watching as an adult, and now her finale decision infuriates me! Let’s just pretend she didn’t get off the plane. 🙂 –S

  21. Reena says:

    This article is so true. I think Joey as Rachel should have ended up together cause they are so right for each other!

  22. I’m rewatching Friends and I’ve been enjoying Joey/Rachel so much! I agree, they’re definitely too underrated. It is a shame that the writers chose not to explore this pairing and instead went with the safe canon pairing that didn’t work anymore. Joey’s been so sweet and thoughtful, to Rachel but also as a friend to the others! But I’m biased though because Ross had always been the worst friend and boyfriend, I just don’t know why people root for Ross/Rachel when Ross’s been nothing but horrible.

  23. Sodapop says:

    I don’t really know. I’m really conflicted/confused about the Rachel + Joey vs. Ross thing.

    I think it’s mostly because there was A LOT of inconsistency with the characters.

    In the very beginning, Phoebe was the most unintelligent one of the group. Joey was the second, but couldn’t exactly be considered “stupid”, unlike Phoebe. Later on, Joey basically seemed to have an actual intellectual disability, and so did Phoebe, all for the sake of extra, very forced, comedy.

    Rachel started out dumb, got smarter, then… got dumber, again.

    Ross started out as a genuinely nice, very sweet guy I rooted for, and then honestly seemed to become quite an asshole who has no respect for Rachel, but feels entitled to her.

    Joey on the other hand is in general an actual pretty awful guy – he cheats on women, he sleeps with them and does not call them back, he threw a woman’s leg on fire and ran away, he doesn’t face responsibility… yet is all for brotherly love, so no one is to disrespect his sisters when he disrespects all other women, and bromance is above whatever has to do with women. He’s pretty sexist.

    However, Joey really matures (…but also becomes much more stupid, by fault of the writers, who force it) when he develops romantic feelings for Rachel. He begins to respect women more it seems. Joey is a family guy in the sense that he’s devoted to the family he has, but I never thought of him as the family guy in the sense that marriage and children are something he actually wants. But when Rachel comes into the picture, he doesn’t care. He doesn’t even question it. He doesn’t even wonder, “But can I deal with Emma, if/when I’m with Rachel?”. He just goes for it, and he loves them both. He jumps right into the fire without thinking about it.

    Rachel and Ross, I found to be a very boring couple. They had their cute moments. But I thought them to be annoying/frustrating, and detracting from the show more than anything else (with their drama). Rachel and Joey were fun, they had their drama, but they were more fun and genuine.

    I think it’s because we actually got to see their relationship as friends start and develop, and then their romantic relationship start and develop, whereas for Ross and Rachel, Ross loved Rachel from the very beginning, and you didn’t get to see it develop. That is because he loved her in high school. I feel like it’s a cop-out in many cases when stories do that. How easy is it to say “this guy/girl loves this girl/guy because this thing that happened in the past”? The past starts to overshadow their present.
    Ross is a very sentimental person – he even gets in an argument with Rachel about how she has no sentiment, until he finds out that she actually does. Rachel is from his past, from his high school. She was his first love. Again, Ross is sentimental. So Rachel is his sentiment, and he can’t let her go because of that.
    (But honestly I never understood this part either because Rachel was awful to him in high school, which is told throughout the entire TV series, and she was awful to all of his friends, except Monica. Sure, teenagers often like other attractive teenagers whether or not they’re awful, but later on when they’re adults, they usually realize, “Hey. Actually, that pretty girl / cute guy was really horrible to me. I think I hate them.”. The TV show never addresses this problem. Ross just likes her no matter what.)

    The one other qualm I have with Rachel and Joey, is that the way their relationship was portrayed seemed a lot more like Rachel was attracted to Dr. Drake Ramoray, not Joey. She realized she liked Joey only after she saw him as Drake, doing a scene in-person. She was “very aware it was Joey” during their final make-out session because she realized, “This isn’t Drake. It’s Joey”. I dunno. Just felt like that is what the show makers were trying to do.
    I argue with this myself though by saying that she only “realized it” at that point because when Rachel saw Joey as Drake, she was able to see Joey in a romantic light, whereas she would have never thought about it before because “it’s Joey…”, the womanizer, the guy who won the Noncommittal Award above even Chandler from the very start. Still, it’s something to think about.

    But if I had to pick, Rachel and Joey is better than Rachel and Ross.

    However, I think I’d pick neither.

    If Joey was not dumbed down so severely in the later seasons, and kept the way he’d been in Season 1, then he and Rachel would be STELLAR.

    However, if Ross hadn’t become such an asshole, then he would be competition. As you (…or someone else?) said, Rachel and Ross were both different people in the beginning seasons. Ross was adorable. But in the ending seasons, they do not work together, at all. I don’t even think they work together that well as friends. Rachel however works with Old Ross. Current/New Ross? No. Just no…

    • HeadOverFeels says:

      Wow, well I have to argue against either Phoebe or Rachel being “stupid.” Every one of the Friends were shown to be hapless or ridiculous in some things, but not in others. Phoebe was portrayed as being on some other plane because of her hippie-dippieness, but I would never call her stupid. I’m totally with you on Joey’s development, and that was definitely a big part of getting into their ship for me. It’s not like I was rooting for Joey and Rachel the whole time, because Joey didn’t feel, until Season 8, like a person who was ready for a relationship.

      And what you say about Ross’s fixation on Rachel in spite of how she treated him in high school is interesting. I think that he’s still stuck in high school, in that he’s determined to “win” and keep the popular girl who snubbed him. That’s why he’s so possessive of her when they date. His behavior in the Mark period was totally unforgivable. He even put her job in danger. Just because he wouldn’t lose out to a guy who looked a lot like a guy teenage Rachel would have dated.

      Thanks for reading, and for your comment! –S

      • Sodapop says:

        That’s true… Wow, I never thought about it that way (and I’ve watched it at least 3 times all the way through). I knew Phoebe was very “hippy” and spiritual, but I never thought of it as being something to explain her as being aloof.
        I might just be noticing the parts more where it seems as though she’s being dumb. Everybody has dumb moments – I have plenty myself (one involving a heavy computer, the top of a bunk bed, and my cat who stared at me like I was the dumbest thing on earth because it really was a horribly dumb moment of mine), but hers seem extremely common or at least come off as “dumb” to me. When she thought that a cat was her mother? That’s more so following her belief in spirituality, reincarnation, etc, which has nothing to do with stupidity. But I think now, a lot more moments could be explained by how she’s an “other plane” kind of person. Not to mention she’s had a bunch different past from the others, and she was more busy with trying to stay alive than with anything else. There are a lot of times where she gets something wrong that people could only get right if they had an education. If I watch it again, I’ll look into all of her moments more now that I can view her in another light.

        Rachel though, eh. I’ve always seen her in that light where she “doesn’t have any personality”, but at the same time because of that, I find her extremely uninteresting and don’t pay a lot of mind to her. Even the show-makers make fun of how boring she is all throughout the show. Near the end though she starts to develop something. I know though that “personality” is really just a matter of personal definition, and “personality” is thought to be had by those who have quirks, energy, and other notable things. I think the same of Ross as I do of Rachel, too. But I think that’s just because to me, they get overshadowed by the other four friends, and I’m more into the “bigger” personalities. I know I’m being picky. The show was several years ago, and it wasn’t common to see the type of personalities you see on TV these days than back then because they would have been “too weird” for the general audience. Ross and Rachel help to balance the others.

  24. joeyandrachel4ever says:

    I am glad I’m not the only one who thought this! Ross is a pretty ok guy on his own but when he he was with rachel I couldn’t stand him he was so petty even when they where “on a break”. I especially hated how ross was the one dating someone and rachel showed interest in a guy ross would still go out of his way to be a huge, whiney baby. Joey was so right for her but think it only seemed weird because the show pushed the whole ross/rachel thing so hard.

  25. Lelz says:

    I’m so glad I’m not alone with this! Mum and I have been having this conversation for years about how the writer’s totally copped out on the R/J romance but we thought we were alone. We were actually watching ‘the date’ episode (when Rachel was still pregnant) today and that’s how I ended up on this page! We literally turned to each other at the end and said ‘the writers made such a big mistake’ and laughed about how it was probably done for fan service, which is a poor way to write for any show.
    Now, my mum hates Ross so much – says he’s such a whiny, weak, arrogant and selfish character that it spoils the show for her. I don’t hate Ross as much but I can certainly understand where she’s coming from. This, I felt, always made us a bit biased about the endgame. However, reading through the comments above I see so much of what we think echoed in others’ observations and it’s quite relieving.

    So why do we think Rachel and Ross getting back together at the end was a cop out:
    1)Their beginning: Ross and Rachel were basically meant to be the classic ‘geeky guy in high school finally gets the popular cheerleader and after a tumulturous drama filled road they finally live happily ever after’. The problem was, the writers ruined it for themselves right from the start. As some users have touched on before, Ross had been in love with Rachel since high school. When Rachel turned up in Central Perk in the first episode he was still ‘in love’ with her and we shorty learn that Rachel had always known about it and never cared. However, despite knowing him for years and being his sister’s best friend, Rachel suddenly goes from having no interest in him to having an interest. So how does she change her mind so quickly? Simples; Ross does a few sweet things for her and, coupled with some failed relationship drama, she realises he’s a decent guy and gives him a chance. It’s an off-balance dynamic from the start. The main reason she decided to go for it was because he bought her a sentimental gift – it wasn’t because she really, really fancied him. So, in order to balance it up the writers needed to show her falling in love with him and why. They never really did that enough for me hence why I say they failed from the beginning.
    2) How Ross treated Rachel: Like others have said, Ross was really not very nice to Rachel as a boyfriend. He treated her poorly – he didn’t respect her, he didn’t trust her, he manipulated her, undermined her, cheated on her and was generally a whiny, jealous-ridden, selfish douche (starting to really understand where my mum’s coming from now as I type). Things did not get much better after they broke up. In fact, due to jealousy Ross did some terrible things. Rachel wasn’t innocent either but at the end of the day: she didn’t go through with telling Ross that she loved him during his and Emily’s wedding (Ross mucked that up by himself), she let him be free, but yet, even in Season 9 Ross is petty enough to not pass on a message to her from a guy in a bar.
    Also, like someone else said, Ross started out as a nice, sweet guy in the beginning of the show but by the time he split up with Rachel he was horrible. In fact, I don’t really know what anyone found attractive about him. Emily was the only one who brought out that sweetness in him until he messed it up.
    3) We Were On A Break!: Rachel never truly forgave him for sleeping with another woman the same night they decided to take a break. Sure, it turned into a bit of a runnng joke but they never really moved on from it. It was always needling between them as they never talked it out properly. After six seasons of stewing I don’t see how they could possibly move on even if it was addressed.
    4) Constantly failing at each stage of their relationship: They dated for a while: they failed and broke up. They tried again: broke up the next morning. They admitted that they still loved each other but even after Ross divorcing Emily they didn’t get together. Then they drunkingly got married: they got divorced shortly afterwards (also, see Ross’s awful selfish behaviour here), they never even tried to give it a go in spite of their history. They spent a drunken night together and Rachel falls pregnant: they still can’t manage to get back together. They live with each other for a while for the sake of the baby: Rachel ends up leaving again. So all in all, they fail at dating, they fail at getting married, they fail at raising a baby together and they fail at living together. They don’t work as a couple and they don’t work as friends. It’s a toxic cycle of we can’t work as couple but we still have enough feelings of jealousy and attraction that we can’t be just friends either so we try again and we fail because of the same reasons and it goes round and round. They are the kind of couple who can’t remain friends afterwards and need to stay away to move on properly.
    5) They don’t respect each other: I mentioned this before but I feel this is incredibly important. Rachel finds Ross boring. She has no interest in his job or his hobbies and admits she thinks he’s whiny and possessive. Most of her ‘loving feelings’ seem to be based on the sweet things he’s done for her. Similarly, Ross finds Rachel stupid. He is also controlling, possessive and manipulative. He didn’t respect her enough to trust her, he didn’t respect her enough to let her have a career without getting stroppy and after they split up this didn’t change a bit. He didn’t respect her privacy, he took away some of her choices and even tried to force a marriage onto her. At the very end of the series he even tried to sabotage her job in France because of his own selfishness. How can this couple magically get back together and live happily ever after? This is almost too ridiculous even for Days Of Our Lives
    6) They became different people: Rachel grew up so much after moving to the city. Who she was at the start was far from who she was in the end. I can see Ross being a comfort to begin with because he was one of the few famiiar things she had in her brand new life – a link to her past, to her old home life she’d just abruptly left. Her relationship with Ross allowed her stretch her metaphorical wings and give her the confidence to explore herself. Like a nervous toddler being weaned off the pushchair; Ross was the pair of arms that she could run back to when something startled her. However, when they broke up (when she grew too big to be held) the confidence she had procured allowed her to move more and more away from the protective adult until she was running around free and confident. She was no longer a clueless, spoilt, rich kid with no responsibilities; she became an independant single mother with a growing career and a mind of her own.
    Ross, on the other hand, was almost the opposite. His life became a mess and instead of growing, he inverted on himself. As he went from strong to weak Rachel went from weak to strong. Or in other words they grew in different directions.

    Joey and Rachel? Would it have worked?
    Only time would have been able to tell. They should have been given a chance to try and should not have be subjected to the weakest, most unrealistic cop-out ever written. The writers built it up over almost two seasons to end it dead in one episode in the most unlikely and cowardly of ways. It did not make any sense.
    On the surface, Rachel and Joey had a hell of a lot more going for them than Rachel and Ross. Just using the main points above should make a point 1) Their beginning: they have always been attracted to each other. This was shown right from the beginning when they met. Even in the spoof episode they date! They constantly tell each other they are attractive and before they even embarked on a relationship they spent years getting to know and love each other as friends 2) Joey treats Rachel very nicely. He never tries to undermine her relationships or decisions (unless it is in a funny way). He also tries to be honest and frank with her when possible 3) He obviously never got the chance to cheat on her but i don’t think he ever could. It should go in his favour that he even cut a date early so he could go back home to her – something he’s likely never done before 4) Until the cop out they never really failed on the imoprtant parts of their relationship. They got on so well during their dates, turned each other on, made them emotional and they lived together perfect harmony. Joey even changed his habits and home to accomodate her, which he’d never really done with a woman before and he instinctively made room in his heart for Emma too. 5) They respect each other. Rachel is probably Joey’s biggest supporter in his career and Joey has often been there to support Rachel in hers. They don’t undermine each other’s decisions or take away each other’s choices – even if it might hurt them. Someone made a good point earlier about when they were asked to make a pros and cons list, Ross had a number of very personal and mean items about Rachel in his cons list while Joey had only one and he spun it into something that was overall positive and more about himself 6) They grew more when they were together. Rachel, who was starting to lose control of her self-exploration, found some grounding with Joey. When she started to have feelings for him it was because of the things he said and stood for and for his personality – unlike with Ross where it was about the things he did for her. Joey found some grounding with Rachel too. He stopped being the womaniser he’d always been and he started to be more mature and responsible. Rachel was the first person he started to put before himself. Out of all the people, particularly the women, he’s met and dated in his life, I think it says a lot that she’s the first he changed for. Overall they grew stronger together.

    So, in conclusion, I strongly feel that Joey and Rachel had so much potential that was simply squandered by the writers being too afraid to upset the long-standing fans. I also wonder if there had been another season where they did explore the Rachel and Joey pairing whether the nostalgic need of endgame Ross and Rachel might have died away for most fans. Looking back on the series it seems to me that only nostalgia can explain the reason for anyone to think endgame Ross and Rachel was the right choice.

  26. sydney says:

    I HAVE FOUND MY PEOPLE. This is going to break many hearts but I never shipped Roos And Rachel. R/J forever. I thought Ross was honestly very insensitive towards her and he was way too emotional, and that was just the way he was. ESPECIALLY AT THIS MOMENT I AM WATCHING WHERE THEY ARE AT CENTRAL PERK AND ROSS IS GETTING MAD ABOUT THEM. They were both so alike, and it was adorable. Joey had straight forward ‘I like her and want to be around her’ feelings, Ross was more like ‘I want to be with her but I an going to be with a million other girls and be sad and get mad when she is with others’. Aghh, I ship Rachel and Joey so much that it makes my stomach have butterflies:))

  27. JaxR says:

    I’m totally on board! Thanks for this. I was rewatching Season 8 thinking how awesome they are together and wondering if anyone else felt the same way… but we have to be careful because the RachxRoss shippers are many and dangerous.

  28. Rachel says:

    The Ross-Rachel dynamic was dysfunctional and unhealthy. Even if you completely forget the on again off again nonsense entirely, the relationship never really made sense. The characters never really worked together. Ross is too selfish, possessive, and manipulative to be be with Rachel.

    As soon as Joey started to develop feelings for Rachel I was on board. They worked for all of the reasons you stated and more. Honestly, I think the decision to yank the Rachel-Joey rug out from under us came down to the writers being afraid to upset their fanbase, but I really don’t understand WHY! Did they really lack faith in their ability to craft a meaningful relationship narrative between these two characters? The storyline was so interesting and the growth we saw in Joey made his character even more endearing. Once they extinguished the flames of romance between the two, it seemed like the writing for Joey’s character fell a little flat. They just abruptly ended the relationship in which Joey found himself IN LOVE with a woman and just POOF… Nothing. Back to square one? Even though the writers never brought up the romance again, as a viewer I still felt (who am I kidding, feeeeeel every single time I binge watch the series) little pangs of loss and heartache whenever Joey is around Rachel.

    All around the finale pissed me off.

    Blehck.

    I just keep hoping somewhere in a Hollywood archive there’s an alternate ending to Friends during which Joey gets the girl he deserves.

    • Leiona says:

      You know, even with how (terribly) the show ended, I still could see how Joey and Rachel might eventually end up together.
      For one, Joey wanted to kill himself when Rachel said goodbye to him (which I’m still extremely pissed they didn’t even let us hear the conversation). He didn’t react that strongly to any other character’s “big news” towards the end…
      Another reason is, if you remember, for just a short minute Joey tries to convince Ross not to go after Rachel to the airport and that their last night together was an appropriate goodbye like Rachel previously told him. Although he seems to change his mind, perhaps his reflex is protecting Rachel’s future and letting her do what is best for her.
      I really do believe Rachel will eventually regret not moving to Paris, since she really wanted to and was going through with it up until Ross ruined it and told her that he loves her (please recall Rachel didn’t take up this chance when Ross got married to Emily). Eventually they will get into some kind of crazy fight that they can’t recover from and break up for the umpteenth time, and again, Rachel will find herself moving back in with her true best friend, Joey, which will open up the door to the best lovers of the show FINALLY being together. Maybe I’m a dreamer, but to me it makes sense. I watched the finale last night and I feel very dissatisfied with the show.

  29. This is just my favorite thing on the internet, ever. I fell in love with Joey the second he cuddled up to Rachel to protect her from Cujo. They made so much more sense (seriously, when you find someone that will giggle about “erectus” and “homo” with you, that’s the person you should be with! Also, Joey needed to be with someone that knew and cared about what a Soapie was).

    I think about when Joey told Rachel that he was falling in love with her. She made it clear that she didn’t reciprocate those feelings, but Joey loved her enough to stay by her side, even if it was heartbreaking for him, and he did it in the sweetest way (“I’m not going anywhere”).

    In comparison, Ross never got the courage to actually tell Rachel that he was in love with her. Instead he acted like a petulant weenie (I just watched the episode where we find out Ross co founded the “I Hate Rachel Green” Club; seriously, when you don’t tell the girl that you love her, you can’t “hate” her for not loving you back…).

    But, I often think, what if Ross had told Rachel he was falling in love with her, and she had turned him down like she did with Joey? I would bet my first born child that Ross would’ve been angry, abusive, and indignant that Rachel (a lowly woman) could possibly not want to be with him (a “nice guy”). I hate hate hate that she ended up with Ross.

    Not to get too serious here (sometimes I forget these people are fictional…is that a problem?), but I think Rachel was honestly stuck in a cycle of abuse with Ross. He was horrible to her 98% of the time, then would make some big gesture (the Central Perk kiss, drinking the fat, the prom, the brooch, the U2 song on the radio,chasing her to the airport, etc. etc.) proving that he “really loved her”. But then it seems like 10 minutes later, he was awful to her again.

    Joey was always so good to Rachel – he never had to make a big, romantic gesture because he never treated her badly enough to warrant one. In reality, I think Ross loved “Rachel: the status symbol” whereas Joey just loved “Rachel: the human being”.

    Can we just pretend that instead of Ross begging Rachel to get off the plane, Joey followed her to Paris?

    • HeadOverFeels says:

      This comment is beautiful and I accept your head canon! Thank you so much for reading – as you can tell from the title, I had no idea how many people shared my frustration with how that storyline carried out! –S

  30. I always thought Joey and Rachel was the worst thing EVER but this post just flipped my whole world view upside down

    Emma | eggplantemoji.com

  31. Rem says:

    I definitely preferred Joey/Rachel over Ross and Rachel. I don’t know if J/R would have worked in the long-run [although Joey was definitely the better boyfriend] but I think they had better chances to work than R/R. I did hate that the writers ended J/R’s relationship in one episode and never really bought up again.

    Basically, I don’t ship J/R but the finale would have been better [if Rachel had to end up with someone] if Rachel got off the plane for Joey, not Ross. I also find it funny that Phoebe called Ross Rachel’s lobster when lobsters don’t mate for life. Lobsters mate by something called ‘serial monogamy’ which, in cases of lobsters, one male lobster mates with a bunch of female lobsters. Basically, the female lobster hangs around long enough to gain sperm than goes away.
    Foreshadowing? I believe so.

      • Rem says:

        I actually had a longer comment but the ‘post comment’ button disappeared so I had to shorten it. And I just wanted to share my lobster fact. I can’t watch that scene or hear someone call R/R ‘lobsters’ without giggling. Add to the fact that Rachel later gets pregnant with Ross’ baby and it’s just hilarious. Who said science couldn’t make shows funny?

        So, technically, you can agree that R/R are lobsters without shipping them. But yeah, I completely get your J/R shipping. You know there’s something when Joey Tribbani doesn’t really mind switching over to low-fat anything.

  32. saga says:

    all the people in this comment section accusing ross of doing all the things that EVERYONE on the show is guilty of doing lmao. no one’s a saint.

  33. Steven K Dykes says:

    I completely agree. Ross is not a good person and is truly super annoying in the show. Joey had a real love for Rachel. Ross is incapable of such a love

  34. Sajnee says:

    In response to the idea that everyone is a mess on the show, I agree. Joey has had some spectacularly horrific cringeworthy moments, but so has Ross.

    And to me, the biggest difference is that Joey’s story has a character arc full of growth and development. Like everyone said above, he truly is in his element when he falls for Rachel (and boy does he fall hard). You can see him grow up and its exciting for everyone. He never is really out of character, this new version of himself is still very true to Joey, but it is a gradual change that you can see before your eyes in the last 2-3 seasons. Everyone’s been pretty shitty in the past, it is the fact that they’ve learned and moved past that stage that is real and good and exciting and human.

    Ross doesn’t really have any such growth. Till the very last scenes of the show, he’s still pushing Rachel to give up her life for him. And maybe that is a gross oversimplification of the matter, but he does so many things he shouldn’t – time after time after time. And don’t get me wrong, Ross is adorable (the leather pants, the christmas armadillo), but he was never even just simply nice to Rachel, never prioritized her, and Rachel deserves so so so much more.

    I think the Joey and Rachel storyline needed a lot of work before I’d hardcore ship them, but they had a solid beginning, and given the chance, I could see myself falling for them.

    Even though I’m not entirely aboard the R/J ship yet, I wholey believe that Rachel getting off the plane destroyed so much of FRIENDS progressive vibe.

    If you want to be a wife, a stay at home mom, move hell and high water for your man, anything that (non feminist) feminists are quick to disregard, go for it, all the more power to you. (Love your analysis of that idea in the MBFGW post btw) But it was clear, throughout the entire series, that those were not Rachel’s plans. The show starts with her leaving a wedding because she needs to find herself – and I just can’t see her leaving a job for Ross in line with that character. It just isn’t true to herself. We watched her struggle as a waitress and then climb the ladder at a job that fit her so well – I hate seeing that all just end in nothing (well stagnancy but still).

    I’m really hyped up on like frustration over this now. This is going to keep me up ahah.

    • HeadOverFeels says:

      Joey and Rachel’s journeys complemented each other. It made so much sense to me that they would move towards each other in that way. I agree with you that it wasn’t fleshed out properly; it’s one of the great bummers of my lifetime that the writers didn’t look at R/J as a serious option, so they didn’t let it fully breathe. In order to make Ross and Rachel happen again, they had no choice but to regress Rachel. I hate hate hate so much that “the” line of the finale is “I got off the plane.” Like, that’s supposed to be romantic. Or something? It’s Rachel giving up on the biggest opportunity she’s ever had. Imagine if she’d TARDIS’d over to herself in the pilot and told past Rachel she’d one day get a big time fashion job in Paris. And then that she’d give it up for the guy who drooled over her in high school. No. Compare that decision with Monica and Chandler moving out to the suburbs to raise their family, which was so much more organic, earned, and in-character. Rachel got the full shaft in the finale, and I will never get over it. –S

  35. Trung says:

    I cannot understand why people think that Joey and Rachel are a better couple than Ross and Rachel. Rachel had more fun living with Joey than living with Ross only because they were good friends. Like Joey and Chandler or Monica and Rạchel. They could live harmoniously with each other because they were good friends and not in a relationship. Even if they had issues, they resolved them pretty quickly. Ross and Rachel lived together unmarried, plus a baby of their own. Given the huge history between them, it could be understood why Ross and Rachel could not stay roommates for much longer (though I personally hoped they would renew their loving relationship after Emma was born). People argue that Ross and Rachel were a bad couple because they had nothing in common? Try Monica and Chandler. In the first 4 seasons, they did not have a thing for each other. Monica even had a crush on Joey when she first met him. They slept with each other before their feelings developed. Still, many people regarded Monica and Chandler as the best couple in the series. Can any of the Joey and Rachel shippers point out anything Monica and Chandler have in common, seriously?

    Joey and Rachel shippers have a point to argue that Ross didn’t deserve to be with Rachel because he behaved crazily and didn’t respect her at all in the later seasons of the series. But, don’t you people ever think that it was because of the first divorce with Carol that might have turned him into an “arrogant” person that he later became? Or maybe because of the 2nd divorce with Emily, when Ross was asked to stop being friends with Rachel? Put yourself in Ross’ situation (3 divorces before he was 32 years old, in love and got married and got divorced from a girl for 2 decades and had a baby with her) to see if you would act differently with what Ross did when he was around Rachel. Everything that he did made sense to me.

    Besides, with Ross and Rachel, they were meant to be together and be a couple. Ross had been in love with Rachel since 9th grade, meanwhile Joey didn’t even have feelings for her until season 8. And there were countless number of moments of Ross and Rachel that makes everyone’s heart melted. How many of those did Joey and Rachel have? Joey was a guy for you to be friends with, not in a loving relationship with. You can see how good of a friend he was with the rest of the cast.

    And I have an example of Joey not deserving to be with Rachel. Remember all the times the guys (Ross, Chandler, and Joey) made out with an ex of their best friends. First, when Chandler kissed Kathy while Joey and Kathy were “technically” still in a relationship (I used the double quotation marks because in that episode Joey already went out with a date behind Kathy’s back), he realized he did was wrong and admitted with Joey. Secondly, when Ross briefly went out for an episode with Janice, at the end of that episode, Ross came to Chandler to say what he had done and worried if Chandler was OK with it. When Ross and Charlie kissed when she just broke up with Joey, and it was Charlie who made the first move on Ross btw, he knew when to stop and started to think about Joey and what he just did with Charlie and eventually told Joey on the place to see if he was OK with it. What about Joey? He acted childishly as he went to kiss Rachel after Ross kissed Charlie. Why couldn’t he man up and go confront Ross and Charlie when he saw the two of them kissing? He “revenged” Ross by kissing Rachel and then didn’t even have the courage to tell Ross about it before Ross’s infamous “I’m fine” scene.

    Here’s a quote from Scott Silveri, who was a producer/writer/editor on FRIENDS from 1996-2004, on Joey and Rachel’s relationship in an interview with Vulture:
    “They ultimately did feel more like a brother/sister relationship,” That’s to show why Joey and Rachel made absolutely no sense at all and J/R shippers are just ridiculous. No one, from the producers to the actors or anyone, wants Joey and Rachel to be a real thing.

    I welcome any criticism from Joey and Rachel shippers. 🙂

    • HeadOverFeels says:

      Actually, there is something I want to address here, and that’s the idea that being great friends somehow precludes two people from developing other feelings. Your partner SHOULD be your best friend. That should be the core of your relationship, whether you started out as pals or began dating right away. Conflicts like the ones that Ross and Rachel had aren’t proof that they were a better romantic couple, they’re proof that they were misaligned.

      Also, Ross doesn’t get to be the victim of his divorces. His first one had LITERALLY NOTHING TO DO WITH HIM and after it was over, he treated Carol’s sexuality like a joke. He was petulant and really just terrible to Susan. Honestly, it’s shocking to look back on it. He was a grown-ass adult man for the entire series. His choices and actions are his own. I like to think I’d act MUCH differently in that situation, since you asked. Ross blamed other women for him being “unlucky” in love; he hung all of his teen angst on Rachel; and frankly, was a gigantic baby about everything. Joey, on the other hand, showed true growth throughout the series as he came to understand that he wanted more. (i.e. The episode where he dreamt about being with Monica, and the gang helped him realize he was subconsciously longing for a real relationship.) I’d personally take Joey over Ross any damn day, but you do you I guess. -S

  36. Maryam Jamal says:

    I am so glad to find this article.. It was aching me today even more coz I just saw the watching cujo scene… *sobs*
    I mean I know Ross and Rachel had a relationship long back and they had to be a couple.. But! Joey and Rachel were perfect together..
    I mean Ross didn’t deserve her.. Why? Because his hookups with Rachel were mostly physical oriented and a drunken night result.. When Rachel tells him she is pregnant.. He is off course happy and offers to marry but he didn’t persuade her to stay with him the way Joey did.. Joey too made her stay with him and was ready to sacrifice his life to stay with her.. No physical attraction.. No other convenience except for Rachel as his friend.. The whole scenario was in fact against him..
    Then while Ross is actually going to be a father of his and Rachel’s unborn child.. He is still out dating.. And enjoying his life according to his conveniences.. When Rachel’s dad comes barging in on him.. He goes to Rachel and says.. I don’t care about your dad, I care about mona.. Joey is obviously more loyal.. In the one where Joey dates Rachel.. He has just started to develop feelings for her but he comes back from his date even though the usual end of his dates were a steamy night.. He isn’t enjoying the date also.. Also be want in some influence of alcohol when he started developing feelings for Rachel.. The two didn’t even use their tricks.. They on fact put their moves out in open.. So joey actually feel in love with the person.. Not her body.. Not her popular school girl image.. And when he holds Rachel while watching cujo.. I swear I could cry..
    And joey is waaay more responsible for his friends.. He is ready to marry phoebe or rachel.. Whoever is pregnant.. Not that I am saying it’s impossible to be a single mother.. But it just shows the sense of responsibility he has.. I think it was joey who deserved her.. He loved her enough to let her go knowing sure was happier with ross.. I mean except for the reason that Joey never showed his true emotions and wouldn’t have broken down if Rachel left her( which she did) while Ross would have broken down actually.. There was no reason to not hook Joey and Rachel..

  37. Tejashri says:

    Whatever she got off the plane for Ross.. N that makes complete sense.. Because they were always meant to be..

  38. Hana murasaki says:

    I loved the idea of rachel and joey together. Passion is good, but i dont want it at the expense of a dysfunctional realationship. R/R Had great chemistry and drama factor – But that’s all the they ever had! Real love is built on friendship- And for them it was sex and heartbreak on a loop. After the pregnancy, them getting back together did not make sense at all. The writers were like ‘oh they have so much history together, and the random sweet incidents are enough to melt hearts’ And bam rachel gets off the plane. It just makes the characters weak and unrealistic. Dont even get me started about how i feel about ross. Idk why writers would do that to a perfectly nice character.
    a lot of people say R/J is unrealistic cause they are too much alike. Hello? Have you ever been in a relationship? The whole ‘opposite attracts’ Thing is so draining!(trust me i learnt it the hard way)at the end of friends rachel had grown into a responsible adult. She needed someone who will give her stability and security, not mindless drama. Joey gave her exactly that. And that’s why i will go down with this ship.

  39. YES to this post and all the other R/J comments above.

    The first time I binge-watched Friends, I was a senior in high school. I was more immature then (obviously) and totally bought the whole “Ross is Rachel’s lobster” thing that was fed to us. I was a little weirded out by the R/J relationship because that wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.

    The second time I watched Friends, I was a senior in college. Having been a little more exposed to the real world and with a little more wisdom, I realized that I didn’t totally buy the R/R = lobsters thing. I realized how disrespectful and immature Ross acted towards Rachel. And when I watched the finale, I remembered how romantic I had found the “I got off the plane” line to be the first time I watched the series. But why did I find that so romantic? Rachel was giving up this huge job opportunity that she’s been working towards for 10 years! And why–because Ross starting whining about how “unfair” the situation was for him? That’s essentially what ruined the R/R relationship in the first place. Ross felt threatened by Rachel’s job and Mark and he started whining about how “unfair” it was to him that Rachel had to work late. I started realizing that Ross hadn’t changed. He hadn’t grown or learned from his mistakes. If this is what ruined their relationship in season 3, why would it be any different this time around?

    And now, a year after graduating from college, I am watching the series a third time (I can’t get enough of it and it just makes me happy!). I’m in the middle of season 10 and it’s really interesting how drastically my views have changed since the first time I watched Friends in high school. During my first viewing, I was totally in love with R/R. I got excited every time they hooked up or entertained the possibility of getting back together. I was happy crying when they ended up together.

    But now, as a 22 year old, I find their relationship to be completely exhausting and, as somebody said above, dysfunctional and borderline abusive. Like so many people above have said, Rachel makes this incredible journey throughout the show. But Ross just holds her back. This time around, I found it so offensive when Ross said “your brains are smaller than mine.” He has no respect for Rachel even though she has come so far. Why would anybody want to go back to a relationship like that?

    And this time, I found the R/J relationship to be so organic. It just completely makes sense. Joey is so kind and respectful towards Rachel. He’s always there for her and she’s there for him. I completely agree with all of the thoughts above about how perfect they are for each other. I think it’s so sweet to watch Joey change and mature and fall in love with Rachel. Joey deserves a girl like Rachel. And Rachel deserves a guy like Joey. I know there’s this huge R/R fanbase but I think the show could have been so great if they went with the R/J relationship. And, if Rachel had chosen Joey, it could have made a really important statement. Even though Rachel loves Ross, he’s not the right guy for her. Nobody should ever settle for someone who is mean, disrespectful, and selfish just because they love that person.

    • HeadOverFeels says:

      I love this whole comment, but especially what you said at the end. You don’t owe anything to anyone if they treat you badly, even if there’s mutual love there. You just don’t. And that’s what’s unsettling to me about Friends fans who say Ross and Rachel “had” to end up together. Why? Because she OWES him for being popular in high school? Nope, he should be trying to earn her. Every damn day! -S

  40. Prayag Bansal says:

    I would have liked the Rachel/Joey arc in the middle seasons like 5/6 especially when Ross is married to Emily and Rachel needs an emotional support .But when it happens at season 10 ,it is just plain desperate try by the writers to extend the longevity of the show .Rachel’s feelings were purely physical (from the shows point of view ) and developed really fast after watching Joey kiss a girl on his show set .The writers also made Ross OCC in the later seasons for some reasons .Why is it that Joey suddenly starts developing feelings after being best friends with Rachel for 8 years .
    Joey and Rachel make more sense than Ross and Rachel but Ross and Rachel balance out each other’s negatives except his jealously.The writers could have explored his jealousy issues with his first marriage more intensively .Also Rachel never re-assured him leading up to their breakup that she loved him while Monica did it with Chandler .Ross has sacrificed so much more for Rachel than a person sacrifices for a high school crush .Ross could have been written way better in season 8,9 and 10 but the writers decided to tank it .Ross also never put his endless sacrifices in Rachel’s face after each fight or after they broke up .For every mistake Ross made he did 5-6 good things to make up for them .Ross paranoia originates from his first divorce after Carol lies to him for months before turning into a lesbian .Now ,they should have made them both have a chat and make Ross more human being in terms of his relationship .Not to mention ,Joey was also great but for me the idea of Rachel and Joey didn’t stick somehow after being so emotionally invested in Ross and Rachel .

  41. NoThanksRachelAndJoey says:

    I just can’t get on board with Rachel and Joey because Jennifer Aniston and Matt Le Blanc’s chemistry is so nauseating to me. Rachel always talks to Joey like she’s talking to a dog or a tween. She has a forced casualness with him that makes me feel embarrassed. I really really didn’t like them together. I like Ross and Rachel together just because of sentimentality from the beginning of the series and because of Emma. But I don’t like how most of the characters were written towards the end, especially Ross. They made him so ridiculous. But somehow, I still love Friends despite it all. Haha!

  42. Nazmi Akif Sözen says:

    I don’t care if joey and rachel should be end game(altough i wish for it really strongly).I just want joey to be happy.He was always the honest,childish guy i loved about him.He never lied about his true nature.As someone mentioned earlier when he think he fell in love with monica he just wanna directly move out never even act on it never wanted to have conversation about it out of respect for Chandler (who kisses his girlfriend behind his back)and then he even forgive him and gave him support at the thought of beeing him happy.Same with Rachel he didn’t even go after Rachel just thought about how Ross feel about it and confess his feelings after having the talk with Ross about Rachel.Even after Rachel came on really strong to him which he confess “I have gone over this moment on my head 100 times and not once did i ever say no”but he still did nothing right after he saw Ross kisses Charlie and did not even get angry.He always cared about his friends in a way none of the others except maybe phoebe care about them.Think about things he did for his friends and you will understand.I just wanted him to be happy and i still do.And my opinion they were perfect for each other.

  43. Melody says:

    Could this BE anymore true? Season 8 was my favourite season PURELY because it was the start of Joey and Rachel. It made me so emotional in every scene when Joey was with Rachel because it showed how much he loved her and how he would do anything for her. When Joey told Rachel that he was in love with her really broke my heart. It was the first scene Joey actually cried in and that made me really sad because Joey deserves the best girlfriend in the world, and it absolutely made no sense to me why Rachel turned him down. <3 I loved them.

  44. Cathy says:

    This opinion may not be as unpopular as you think. I for one have always liked the brief Rachel/Joey romance way better than 10 years of immature Ross & Rachel. Also Le Blanc and Aniston had much more onscreen chem than Schwimmer & Aniston ever did. Rachel/Joey started so late in the series, but it packed more punch. Ross & Rachel became ridiculous after a while, and frankly, I thought Ross was a jerk to her about 90% of the time. For many reasons (fan service being the biggest), the writers really had no choice but to put R&R back together in the end, but I for one wish they hadn’t. I truly believed that she and Joey fell in love, and I stopped believing that she felt much more than friendship for Ross at that point. Ross and Rachel had very little in common. I never understood what all the fuss was about. As far as long lasting couples went, I preferred Monica and Chandler any day of the week. In fact, I even liked Pheebs and Mike better than R&R!

  45. Emma says:

    I absolutely, wholeheartedly agree with what you have said here. Honestly, I disliked Ross and Rachel from the start. It is too dysfunctional and I find both Ross and Rachel to be far more annoying and immature when they are in love with each other than when they are just friends. Like they are both much more pleasant and hilarious and just themselves when they’re not with each other. In addition, Ross was such a dick to Rachel sometimes, like when he yelled at her for wanting to look nice at his ceremony or when he tried hiding the fact that he slept with the copy girl instead of growing some balls and telling Rachel the truth. I love that Rachel and Joey grew to have feelings for each other because of their FRIENDSHIP (as well as some lust, of course, but mainly friendship) and their compatibility and similar interests and that Joey’s character was able to turn a 180 just out of adoration and love for one person. People argue that Rachel treated Joey like he was her inferior and that may have been the case in the beginning, but their relationship definitely changed as Rachel and Joey both matured – it grew from absolutely nothing and it wasn’t forced at all and I so wish it were endgame. If their relationship had actually gotten a chance to develop, like maybe making Rachel’s feelings even more based on personality than physical attraction, instead of ending abruptly and for no good reason, way more people would have been on board.

  46. Joey, as written, is a sweet guy and would support Rachel, but let’s be honest–Rachel is way smarter and more worldly than him. If Rachel had become his lover, she would have had to look outside her romantic relationship for someone to have deep meaningful interesting conversations with–which is not ideal.

  47. Jojo says:

    Thank God there are people who feel like me R/J was def the way the show should have went,,it felt so easy,right and fun for them,and kinda made people dislike Ross’s character a lot,,,def Rachel should have ended up with Joey,,,thank u for having this article

  48. SK 913 says:

    My sister has gotten me super into Friends recently, and I heard about the J/R storyline, and just watched the kiss scene, along with Ross’ resulting meltdown. Dear Lord, what a disgusting, possessive, jealous, spiteful man-child he is.

    He is dating another woman at this point–a woman he more or less “took” from Joey. (Not that Charlie is anyone’s property, of course, but she’d been sort of involved with Joey. That’s all I’m trying to convey.) So why the ever-loving crap is Ross STILL hung up on Rachel? Like, I could understand if his reaction was like, “Whoa, you kissing Joey??” But instead it’s “Rachel’s doing something I don’t approve of, this cannot happen!” Being a white man does not allow you to tell people what they can and cannot do, Ross!

    And from what I’ve heard, along with your lovely commentary, J/R have more than just a physical relationship (in the painfully short time they have as a couple). They grow together, are compatible, and have an incredibly strong friendship based on respect and mutual interests. If the show didn’t dumb them down, they’d absolutely have interesting, smart convos together about a whole host of things–but they’d be interspersed with pranks and dick jokes, of course. And I think that, together, they’d be a very progressive couple and would be great role models for Emma. (Think body positive ideas from Joey and Rachel teaching Emma she doesn’t need a man or woman to complete herself.).

    TL;DR: Ross is a prototypical men’s rights activists, a terrible boyfriend, and a worse human being. Joey/Rachel all the way!

  49. Nina says:

    Thank you for that! I’m rewatching Friends, and remembering why I loved their pairing so much. They work just so damn well! Ross is an amazing character, and I love him, but he is not, in reality, a very nice person when Rachel is concerned. They didn’t work anymore by season 7 and beyond – come on, it was getting awkward AF. But Joey and her… I shipped so hard.

  50. Holly Wilborn says:

    Hey girl, thank you so much for validating my feelings. I have been binge watching this show and the whole ordeal with Rachel/ Joey has made me an emotional wreck. I love how much they balance each other out and care. It makes me feel so much better to see that there are other like-minded people out there who agree that the friendship that R/J built their relationship on was beautiful and much more solid than what Rachel and Ross had. Seriously, though! R/J forever! The break up upset me so much I had to stop watching season 10. The writers are heartbreakers. :'(

  51. Liis says:

    i agree with you 100%. I actually have to say that i liked the ending of HIMYM so much more than the ending of Friends. Still, I love both of the shows but when I binge watched Friends recently, I watched until the ending of season 9 and then just stopped. I just couldn’t watch more, knowing what the writers would do to Joey and Rachel.

  52. Ross is rachels lobster enough said for them, now I just want to contradict your points in respect to each other
    1. Ross also knew her from high school days so this isnt a good point.
    2. Rachel and joey had fun together when they were just “good friends” when there were no love feeling for each other. And when joey had feelings for her but rachel didn’t joey and rachel didn’t even meet each other for week or something
    3. Being love with someone and changing them also isn’t good point to remain together for the rest of the lives and also it was not only love but he was getting matured you know year by year and one time he have settle down so.
    4. Yeah that was funny.
    5. I think i saw him growing a feeling for one pregnant girl who was all alone in the hospital and also its not like ross didn’t want to help he wanted to so..
    6. Well it was also awkward and they had weak chemistry which even matt leblanc and Jennifer agreed on in an interview after the end of the series where matt said that it was just not right and it always was ross and rachel and Jennifer said she always had a special place for ross and rachel in her heart
    7. To be in a serious relationship both of them had to be on a committed relationship well rachel was in a relationship for few episode but joey was straight playboy and i agree he wanted to change but he didn’t cause he still had one night stands after joey and rachel didn’t worked out for first time and responsibilities would be a bitch for them wouldn’t it??
    Now for some extra points
    8. Ross and rachel already had a baby together which was a hint that they will end up together
    9. You only talk about joeys feelings here and only a point about rachels, and from a episode we could say that rachel had feelings for dr.ramoray not joey so it was basically a fantasy for rachel more than feelings
    10. From season 1 to season 9 we had only seen ross and rachel and suddenly seeing joey together with rachel made me feel wrong and it was said that they were just trying new things just like an experiment which didnt work out so they suddenly stopped it just after three episodes it was perhaps said on the same interview i actually forgot.
    So here it is you
    And im happy and was so relief that ross and rachel ended up together
    And im not saying it wouldnt work if only this had been done early in the series but after huge history of ross and rachel and after the baby it just didn’t feel right
    And ive seen some negative comments here about ross which isnt all true cause ross may have freaked out at first when hearing about rachel and joey but he accepts the fact they will be together and just be happy for them as a friend would be and ross and rachel both are very similar in many ways that they will be jealous when other one is seeing a different person even though they break up and will do whatever to break their relationship and they always have misunderstanding for each other, they were always selfish in a way more rachel than ross i guess but the fact they always cared about each other even after a huge fights and the way they were always there for support when one needed and how they sacrifice some huge thing to be with each other when needed and they always showed they still have feelings for each other makes them complete and makes me happy and hopefully many more happy than people over in this section and they ended up together which was great so these points doesn’t really matter now

  53. Fernando says:

    Joey and Rachel would be perfect to me, but:

    Crane: When we had Joey fall for Rachel the actors freaked out. Matt kept saying, “It’s wrong. It’s like I want to be with my sister. We said, “Yes, it’s absolutely wrong. That’s why we have to do it.” You can’t just keep spinning the same plates. You have to go places you’re not expected to go.

    LeBlanc: It felt wildly inappropriate. I was like, “That’s Rachel. She’s supposed to be with Ross.” Everybody got super-defensive about the whole thing. We went to David and Marta as a group and said, “We’re really concerned about this. It doesn’t feel right. We have a problem with it.

    Crane: Once it actually started it was heartbreaking because it couldn’t go anywhere. It was always going to be Ross and Rachel.

    It’s sad but after 8 seasons it was too late for Joey and Rachel.

    • HeadOverFeels says:

      It’s their show, and of course those actors have the right to feel strongly about it! It’s so interesting because I (like you) have the complete opposite reaction. Thanks for sharing this! – S

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