So I know this response piece is about 13 years too late (God, we are old), but the internet wasn’t really big then and I’ve just finished watching Friends the second time through and I just have a lot of feelings. I know I’m about to lose a significant number of friendships and Betches may lose half its followers, but I’ll be damned if I let my better judgment stop me. I know Rachel and Ross is like, one of the most iconic TV romances of the 90s—possibly of all time—and it probably inspired your future wedding Pinterest board, but I don’t care. Rachel should not have gotten off that plane on the finale of Friends, and I’m not afraid to say it.
Rachel was offered her dream job working for Louis Vuitton in Paris, an opportunity that probably comes once in a lifetime. Now, maybe this is just because I’m dead inside, but there is no man on this Earth—except possibly Future—that I would give up my dream job for. And actually, Future definitely makes enough money to fly back and forth from Paris regularly, so I will amend my previous statement to say that NO man is worth giving up my dream job. As bae himself would say, chase a check, never chase a bitch. And we all know that Ross is Rachel’s bitch, so no, the statement applies as written.
And the same should apply for Rachel. Rachel, despite being spoiled and a daddy’s girl, admittedly hustled her way from shitty coffee shop employee to assistant at Fortunata Fashions to personal shopper at Bloomingdale’s to buyer and personal shopper at Bloomingdale’s to executive at Ralph Lauren. She went through a lot of shit, from serving coffee to her old-ass boss to dealing with Joanna’s crazy, insecure ass (may she rest in peace). She may have been kind of whiny and annoying, and was a bougie-ass ho, but she definitely earned that killer job at LV. And she should not have given up everything she worked so hard for to go back to a job she hated, a job where she’d advanced as far as she could, a job that ALREADY FIRED HER ONCE and didn’t even want to take her back. And all that for some nerdy paleontologist who thinks sushi gives you mind control powers (I wish).
Like, Ross is cool and all, but he’s not “fuck up your life” cool. Plus, what does that say about how much he supposedly loves Rachel if he’s not even willing to meet her in Paris? I mean, he’s been working his dream job for all 10 seasons, how about some compromise?
What really should have happened is Ross should have gotten his shit together, applied for some jobs, and joined Rachel in Paris when he had an offer lined up and ready to go. “But what about Ben?” you say. “He couldn’t just leave his son behind in the U.S.” you say. Okay, so, two things: One, where the hell was Ben all last season of Friends? No, seriously. Was that kid still alive? He is only mentioned in the first part of the last episode and his last physical appearance is in season 8 (“The One Where Joey Dates Rachel”, in case you’re interested—and yeah, I looked it up so try me). Ross never even sees this kid. For all we know, he doesn’t even have visitation rights anymore. Dark, I know, but someone’s got to say it.
Two, what about Emma? She’s Ross’s kid too. Why is it okay for him to leave Emma behind but not Ben? Ben has two moms to take care of him—and he’s like, what, 8 or 9 at this point? He’s good. Rachel, meanwhile, is about to be raising a baby all by herself in a foreign country. If anyone could use Ross’s presence and support, isn’t it Emma?
“But what about true love?” you say. “Doesn’t love conquer all?” you say. “Rachel and Ross are ~meant to be~,” you say, somehow inserting tildes into speech. Yes, let’s talk about ~true love~. Rachel and Ross have dated and have this huge history—they were even fucking married, FFS—but how does the moment Rachel realizes she’s still in love with Ross go down? LET’S ROLL THE TAPE.
“I still have feelings for Ross but feelings don’t mean love. I have feelings for Ross. I have continuing feelings of love, but that doesn’t mean that I’m still in love with him. I have sexual feelings but I do love him… *gasp* Oh my god! Why didn’t you tell me?!”
Like, come on you guys. We all know this is bullshit. You can lie to your friends about your feelings, but you can’t lie to yourself. You can be in denial, you can not want to admit it to yourself, but you yourself not even knowing you’re in love with someone is not a thing. It just isn’t. So how ~real~ is this love really? I’ll leave that to you to decide while I go into the Witness Protection Program.
At the end of the day, there are plenty of fish in the sea—Rachel of all people should know this. Rachel is hot. She would have done fine for herself in Paris. But okay, even if she and Ross are “soul mates” (gag), she should NOT have fucked herself over, ghosted on her dream job in a super unprofessional way and totally burned all her bridges with Louis Vuitton (a very dumb move for someone who wants to work in fashion and now has a baby to support), and gotten off that plane for him. She should have flown to Paris, called Ross from some café, face-first in a croissant, and told him to get his ass on the next flight to Charles de Gaulle. Does that make for good TV? Absolutely not. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t low-key disappointed when she got off that plane. Phalanges be damned.