Unpopular Opinion: Ross/Rachel are the WORST

I was born in 1990, so I spent my formative years hearing the media glorify Ross/Rachel as the “IT” couple. Water cooler conversations were all about whether or not they will get back together, what did him saying her name mean, and heated debates over whether or not they were actually on a break.

When I got to high school and decided to re-watch Friends all the way through, I quickly became disenchanted with this couple. This is not the couple to look up to. This is the couple that makes family and marriage counselors cringe and hit happy hour with abandon.

What exactly makes them the worst couple?

  1. Ross is overly jealous of Rachel’s co-worker, Mark. He will not listen to her when she says that they are just co-workers, and Rachel never even gives a hint to liking Mark that way. In fact, when Rachel breaks up with Ross, she does not even go running to Mark. Ergo, it was all in Ross’s head. Ross became petty, manipulative, and domineering over Rachel’s life because he thought another guy liked her. This isn’t sweet. It isn’t romantic. It’s fairly abusive.
  2. He continually puts his work in front of Rachel, but gets angry when she has an emergency on their anniversary and can’t make it that night. He shows up at her work with a picnic and purposely disrupts her while she’s on the phone trying to figure out what caused the mess up. He cannot stand not being the center of attention (and we can probably thank his spoiling parents for that one).
  3. Ross was overall a very controlling boyfriend. He even forbade her to get a tattoo. It’s her body; her decision. When Ross doesn’t get what he wants when he wants it, tantrums arise. He yells at her in front of all of their friends when she is trying to figure out what outfit to wear to his award ceremony. Yes, he’s trying to make sure they get there on time, but what he says and how he says it screams controlling asshole.
  4. When Rachel is pregnant, Ross gets angry when she goes on a date with someone else. Meanwhile, Ross has a girlfriend and flirts with other girls in front of pregnant Rachel. He flirts with their nanny, but gets angry when Rachel kisses Gavin. He even hides the message Rachel gets from the guy at the bar because he refuses to acknowledge the fact that Rachel is allowed to see other guys just like he’s allowed to see other girls.
  5. Ross was constantly making her feel dumb. He even made a list about it when trying to decide if he should date her or not. He treated her like she couldn’t do anything outside of shopping, no matter what skills she displayed/learned.
  6. Ross was a cheater, and Rachel approved of it. He cheated on Bonnie with Rachel,  and Rachel was willing to be the other woman. She knew he was dating Bonnie, and she even tried to manipulate Bonnie into bad decisions to get Ross to break up with her. He even hook ups with Charlie (Joey/Ross’s girlfriend), before her and Joey break up.
  7. Ross is constantly lying. He has every intention of lying about sleeping with the copy girl, he lies about reading Rachel’s letter, and he lies about still being married to Rachel.  He even tries to lie to Mona about Rachel moving in with him.
  8. Ross decides to get married to Emily (Rachel’s boss’s niece) less then one year after breaking up with  Rachel. If this is supposed to be the “it” couple, the couple we are to strive to be like, how in the world is he ready to marry somebody else less then one year after breaking up with the ‘love of his life’? It just does not make sense.
  9. Rachel showing up at his wedding, and her subsequent “him saying my name has to mean something”, was just petty and childish. If she truly loved him, she would want him to be happy. She would not have disrupted his wedding day like that, and she would not have focused on herself in the aftermath.
  10. Ross not only dates Rachel’s boss’s niece, he also dates her sister. How horrible can a guy get? Then again, Rachel ends up dating Joey, one of Ross’s best friends. Neither one really has the high moral ground here.
  11. WE WERE ON A BREAK. That joke is the worst joke of all time, and makes this couple HORRIBLE. Here is a transcript of their fight:

Rachel: Oh my God. I cannot keep having this same fight with you Ross! Look, urrgh, maybe we should take a break.

Ross: Fine, you’re right. Let’s ah, let’s take a break, (goes to the door) let’s cool off, okay, let’s get some frozen yoghurt, or something.. (opens the door)

Rachel: No. A break from us.

Rachel afterwards tells Mark “oh and then I told him I wanted to take a break”. And then to top it all off, she leaves this voicemail:

Rachel: (on answering machine) Hi, it’s me. I’ve been trying to reach you all night. I feel awful. Please, Ross, you gotta know there is nothing between me and Mark. This whole break-up thing is just stupid. Eh, I’m just so sorry I put you through it. And, I y’know, I don’t want to get back together over a machine.

She literally tells him on his answering machine that they ARE BROKEN UP. So for the entire rest of the series, she makes him feel like crap for ‘cheating’ when she clearly says everywhere else that they were indeed broken up. Ross is clearly in the right to say that they were on a break, he even has audio proof of it (which it continually pisses me off that this recording is never brought up ever again. Like, why is this not used in his arguments? It would have ended the debate once and for all).

Neither person brings out the best in the other. When they are together, they are childish, petty, manipulative, and just overall horrible. Truthfully, Ross and Rachel had the best story lines when they were single and not trying to get with each other.

When people say they want to find their Ross and/or Rachel, I die a little on the inside. Nobody should look up to a couple that lies, cheats, controls, and manipulates each other. This is not a healthy relationship at all.

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Unpopular Opinion: Neglect vs Death

I recently started watching The Walking Dead. Well, right now I’m on a much needed break after binging three and a half seasons of perpetual misery in 72 hours, but I do plan on continuing. Anyway, right around season two and three, amidst the Rick/Lori/Shane love triangle drama, Daryl dealing with his racist brother, Caroyl blossoming from battered wife to badass, and Andrea’s questionable taste in men, I noticed that I knew next to nothing about T-Dogg, our resident man of color. Of course there’s also Glenn, but his neglect lessened once he got a white girlfriend, though I still know more about Maggie than I do Glenn. So, in season three T-Dogg dies. Look, everybody on that show dies. They’d already killed off Lori and Shane and Dale and Merle. Freaking Merle! He was in less episodes than T-Dogg, yet even he had a richer story. And that’s the problem. That’s what made T-Dogg’s death irritating to me, not the death of a POC character in a show that already lacked them, but the blatant neglect. This is what they all have in common.

The death of Abbie Mills from Sleepy Hollow is merely a symptom of a larger problem. They wouldn’t have killed her if Nicole Beharie hadn’t wanted to leave. The problem is, Nicole Beharie wanted to leave because her character had been sidelined. The same goes for Ricky Whittle from The 100, whose neglect only started in season three. Teen Wolf didn’t kill off Kira Yukimura, but they still got rid of Arden Cho after a season of absent episodes. Bonnie Bennett is still on The Vampire Diaries, but if you compare her story to Caroline Forbes…well it’ll make you go hmmm. The Wire killed off several black men, but the cast was full of them, all complex and fully realized. Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s strength doesn’t merely come from the number of POC’s in their cast, but how fleshed out they all are.

And yes, I’m aware of the disparity in numbers, but I don’t think merely holding onto the characters of color you have so they can hover on the sidelines while you meet your diversity quota is acceptable. I’m not asking show writers to give them immunity from death or suffering, just DO something with them. Give them beautiful and complex and heartbreaking stories. Treat them like you do your white characters.Like they’re actual people with actual lives. If history is any indication, progress comes in baby steps. Hey Hollywood, how about you start there?