Let’s look back to the year 2013: Brooklyn 99 was just beginning, and we were introduced to the character Charles Boyle: a nerdy, slightly neurotic man pining for the love of a woman, Rosa Diaz, who was not suited for him. But in a stroke of pure genius, Boyle and Rosa don’t ever have a romance, and their characters blossom over the course of seven years. I think you can see where this is going.
I wanted Rachel and Ross to get together. I saw how he longed to just tell her how he felt, only to feel as if somebody gut-punched him every time she went on a date with another man. Over the course of a season, I constantly wanted to yell at Rachel for not seeing what was right in front of her.
But it was never about Rachel and what she wanted. Or hell, even what she needed. Rachel was a spoiled little rich girl, who realized as she was about to marry a man she didn’t love because she never had to take care of herself. No one had ever invested anything in her, and she never had to do it herself because, like her mom, she was just going to go from her father’s house to the sorority house to her husband’s house. And Ross was just another example of her not really knowing what she wanted. I mean, she didn’t even want to date him until Monica convinced her that it might be a good idea. She just thought of him as Ross, her friend’s brother who was now her friend.
But think what could have happened if they’d never gotten together. Because honestly, I kind of feel the lack of chemistry that the writers put between her and Joey was much better suited to her relationship with Ross. Maybe they went on a few dates, maybe they even had sex in the museum like they did, only to realize … yeah, this whole “I liked you in high school” and “um, I was lonely and just kind of decided to try you on” thing isn’t so great? I think we’ll do better as friends. How much growth could both of them had over the course of 10 seasons that didn’t include that stupid “WE WERE ON A BREAK” argument that somehow made its way into the final episode?
I’m not saying that they couldn’t have been the end game for each other (like I still think Rachel and Joey were), but they both needed to grow and become better people in order for that to actually work. Ross needed to deal with the jealousy and heartbreak from his divorce with Carol, and Rachel needed to grab that independence and become the strong career woman she was destined to be. Take a look at Boyle and Rosa: Boyle is now raising a son with his girlfriend Genevieve, and Rosa is a proud bisexual woman. Both are far cries from what they were at the beginning of the series, and it just makes me wonder what could have happened had the writers of Friends been brave enough to keep Ross and Rachel out of a romance.
Sure, we wouldn’t have Season Two’s “lobster” moment in “The One with the Prom Video,” and the entire heartbreaking breakup scene in Season Three wouldn’t have been able to showcase the underrated acting talents of Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer. But we might have gotten something even better than that.
Art Credit: ThingLink