It’s been over since 2004, but that hasn’t stopped multiple writers and fans from throwing in their two cents about Friends and its characters: Was Phoebe the worst or was she actually the best? Was Chandler funny or just a terrible friend? Why did Joey get stupider as the seasons wore on? Was Ross always the worst? Whatever happened to Ben? Are Ross and Rachel OTP or were they kind of terrible together?
In hindsight, there’s a lot to unpack over 10 seasons, and, as we become more aware of what would and wouldn’t fly these days, it’s difficult not to look at a show from the 1990s through a 2019 lens and pick apart everything wrong or problematic about it. A whole 10 seasons means different writers, different storylines and character development, which all impacts a character’s life (and love life).
In terms of Rachel Green, she had one of the most up-and-down love lives of any female sitcom character of the decade, with the long thread of her romance with Ross running through it all. Looking back, we found some things about Rachel’s romances that just don’t add up or make a whole lot of sense! From Barry to Gavin and all the guys in between, these are the bones we have to pick with the '90s hair queen.
20 She Doesn't Notice Gunther's Unrequited Love
We know that Rachel was written to be pretty self-absorbed, but how does a woman – who seems to care a great deal about what people think of her – fail to notice the constant affections and unrequited love of Gunther, her one-time boss and the man who runs the coffee shop she frequents for 10 straight years?
We know that Rachel is completely oblivious to Gunther’s affections because it isn’t until the final episode that he finally confesses his feelings – and she’s surprised!
In real life, Rachel would’ve been aware of his attraction to her and, if she wasn’t into it, would have at least discussed it with her friends.
19 To Sail Or Not To Sail?
Continuity errors are bound to happen throughout a show that runs for an entire decade, which is why we usually give things a pass if they’re mentioned in the pilot episode or even the first season. However, Rachel’s experience in sailing is not an early mistake.
In Season Five, Rachel tells potential love interest Danny that she’s going to a sailing regatta gala, to which he asks if she sails herself. She says, “No, but I support it.” However, in Season Seven, Rachel teaches Joey to sail his new boat, explaining that she’s been sailing her whole life! Well, which is it, Rachel?
18 Ross And Russ
Rachel admitted that she had an irrational fear of things in her eyes in “The One With Joey’s Big Break” in Season Five, but, as far as we know, there was nothing actually wrong with her eyesight.
How, then, does she not see the obvious similarities between the identical Ross and Russ in Season Two? It’s understandable that Rachel would seek out someone like Ross to help lick her wounds over their split, but the fact that she fails to notice that they’re identical until the end of the episode (appropriately titled “The One With Russ”) is laughable and utter nonsense.
Everyone else noticed right away!
17 Accepting Joey’s Proposal
Joey was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he found himself on one knee with a ring in his hand after Rachel had just given birth. Without him even speaking, Rachel simply says, “Okay” in acceptance of his non-proposal.
Look, we know that hormones are going crazy after giving birth, but there’s no way that Rachel would have confused a man kneeling with a man proposing – especially because he never actually proposed! The comedy of errors that follows is painful to witness rather than funny, because you know that it makes no sense for the situation to have occurred at all!
16 Hiring Tag
Despite having essentially zero experience in fashion besides shopping, Rachel manages to nab a pretty important job at Bloomingdale’s before starting work at Ralph Lauren. While there, she ends up hiring Tag – but not because he was the most qualified, or even because she saw something of herself in him. Nope, Rachel acts completely unprofessionally and decides to employ Tag because he’s cute!
Beyond the obvious HR issues this would cause, it was also bad for business. Sure, Tag ended up working out for a while, but it was morally and professionally irresponsible of Rachel to toe this particular line, especially when she was still so new to the industry.
15 Rachel Goes Back To Barry
We’ve all made mistakes in our lives, and a lot of those mistakes tend to happen in our early twenties, which was the age Rachel was when everything happened with Barry. After learning of Barry’s relationship with her former BFF Mindy – which leads to them getting married – Rachel still decides to get back together with her ex-fiancé despite having previously confessed a lack of attraction to him.
Their short-lived fling is a weird mistake on Rachel’s part, especially when we learn later of her very strong feelings regarding the whole “we were on a break” fiasco. Poor Mindy – it doesn’t exactly sound like a great foundation upon which to build a marriage!
14 Wedding Dress Memories
On the subject of Barry, we know that Rachel ran out on her wedding and left him at the altar – in the pilot episode, we see her dash into Central Perk wearing a wedding gown! However, much later in Season Four, we see Rachel wearing her old wedding gown, alongside Monica (in the dress she picked up for Emily) and Phoebe.
Wedding dresses are incredibly expensive and living in New York City isn’t cheap, especially for a trust-fund baby who’s just been cut off by daddy and is working as a waitress.
Why didn’t Rachel sell her dress years ago instead of holding on to the bad memories it no doubt held?
13 Leaving Barry
Rachel and Barry were never meant to be, that much was obvious. We know that, through stories relayed by Monica and Ross, Rachel wasn’t the nicest person in high school and indeed, when we first meet her, she’s a bit of a selfish airhead. Barry was clearly a source of stability for her, which means a lot for a girl who was sheltered her entire life.
Keeping that in mind, it seems fairly unrealistic that Rachel would dash out on her wedding. If this were to be re-done, we imagine she would have gone through with it, only to ask for an annulment or divorce later. The no-doubt iron-clad prenup would’ve helped!
12 Stopping The Wedding
We all do crazy, stupid things in the name of love, but Rachel’s decision to fly to London to tell Ross how she really felt about him – right before his wedding! – is easily one of the dumbest. For whatever reason, Rachel wanted to get her emotions off her chest, and yet she waited until the absolute worst time to do it!
She knew that Ross had long harboured feelings for her and that her surprise appearance at his wedding would throw him for a loop. To her credit, she didn’t confess her love for Ross, but the damage was already done, and he said the wrong name at the altar.
11 Sharing Names With A Vengeful Ex
Speaking of Emily, the second wife of Ross who absolutely loathed Rachel and demanded that Ross cease all contact with her, we have to ask about the baby name Rachel chose for her daughter. You know, the surprise child she ended up conceiving with Ross!
Rachel decides on “Emma” after Monica mentions it as the name she would have chosen for her own little girl. Now, “Emma” sounds a lot like “Emily,” and wouldn’t that raise a few eyebrows, considering the frosty relationship between the two women? We certainly wouldn’t want to name any of our kids after the exes of our children’s fathers!
10 Dinner In Lingerie
We know that sitcoms like to put characters is pretty ridiculous scenarios for the sake of a laugh, but we find it hard to believe that someone as fashion-forward and self-obsessed as Rachel would be caught going out to dinner in public clad only in sheer lingerie. And with her boyfriend’s parents, no less!
The subject of a little mistake, Rachel is caught when Joshua’s parents suddenly return home and invite them out to dinner when Rachel had planned for a night in. Instead of covering up with a coat, she decides to risk the public embarrassment and walk out in a scrap of lacy fabric.
9 Being On A Break With Ross
Ah yes, the source of much debate over a decade later in the Friends fandom. Were they or were they not on a break? Rachel says that they weren’t, despite being the one to suggest it. Granted, the terms weren’t outlined specifically, but for all Ross knew they were done. Did he react appropriately? Not at all! However, for all he knew, things were over between them, he was a single man and therefore he was not in the wrong.
Rachel had every right to be hurt over his actions, but to say that he was stepping out on her when they were on hiatus wasn’t exactly fair.
8 Jealous When Ross Has A GF
For all the time she spent pushing Ross away, Rachel certainly did manage to get jealous every single time he was attracted to another woman.
First up, we have Julie. Julie and Ross were very much in sync, but then Rachel left a rambling message on his machine telling him she was “over him” despite never previously expressing any interest. Then, in Season Three, he found Bonnie, which caused Rachel to admit she still had feelings for him (she also persuaded Bonnie to shave her head). Then there was Emily, and the dash to stop the wedding, despite the fact that Rachel had introduced them in the first place!
7 Inviting Mark
Ross wasn’t in the right for getting together with another woman mere hours after being on a break with Rachel, as we’ve already said. However, Rachel probably shouldn’t have been okay with Mark inviting himself over when she was feeling low.
Rachel knew how Ross felt about Mark and, while at first that jealousy was unwarranted, it turns out that Ross’s instincts were right all along. The sitcom-style planning of Ross calling while Mark was with Rachel was painful, but could have been avoided if these two had had an adult face-to-face conversation rather than assuming the behaviour of one another.
6 Danny’s Sister
Where do we begin with Danny? It was a great meet-cute, with Rachel accidentally mistaking him for a Yeti, and the two struck up a kind of cute relationship for a while.
But then we have his sister.
How did Danny, a seemingly normal dude, have such a weird relationship with his own sibling? From feeding Danny cake with her fingers to tickle fights, the final straw for Rachel came when Danny and his sister admitted that they still took baths together! Danny confessed that his close relationship with Krista had been an issue for women in the past, so why didn't he do something about it?
5 Dating Elizabeth’s Dad
For all the grief they gave Ross about dating his student (which was not okay and definitely more than “frowned upon”), hardly any of the friends batted an eye when Rachel decided to start seeing the student's father (played by the admittedly still-gorgeous Bruce Willis).
Really, the issue should have been more on Bruce’s shoulders, but they were both mature adults, so why not, right?
However, things were more than a little weird when they decided to double-date with Elizabeth and Ross, meaning that former rollercoaster off-and-on exes and a father-daughter duo were all attempting romance at the same table! Hard pass.
4 Getting Together With Joey
Joey and Rachel had a really great friendship. When they were living together, these two got to loosen up and relax, and it seemed that Rachel became more herself around him. Both of them had been around the block a few times in their own rights and there was no judgment.
For whatever reason, though, the show-runners liked pairing up members of the group, and they decided to set these two up as a couple, which didn’t work on so many levels.
We’re not shipping Ross and Rachel (more on that later), but Joey and Rachel weren’t any good either. Their romance seemed forced and took some of the sweetness out of their solid friendship.
3 Her Spontaneous Honeymoon With Ross
After the dramatic wedding, Ross decides to wait for Emily at the airport to take their honeymoon trip to Greece. While waiting there, he runs into Rachel, who is waiting for her own flight home. Ross, distraught, asks her to join him in Greece instead and Rachel accepts, even boarding the plane.
But how?! Rachel can’t use Emily’s ticket and there’s no scene of her buying her own ticket or exchanging her boarding pass or anything!
Friends scriptwriters, that’s not how this works! That’s not how any of this works! We’re not sure who Rachel knows at airport security, but we’re gonna confidently say that this makes no sense.
2 When She Got Off The Plane
Sorry, Ross-and-Rachel-shippers, but this was easily one of Rachel’s dumbest moves ever. After the unnecessary back-and-forth between Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton orchestrated by Ross, Rachel decides to leave her prestigious job in Paris to stay with Ross, who didn’t even try to tell her until the last second that he still had feelings for her. (Also, way to remember your daughter too, Ross!)
If their relationship was as strong as both liked to insist it was, Ross could have moved to Paris to support her or they could’ve done an LDR thing. Bottom line: Rachel never should have gotten off that plane.
1 Choosing Ross Over Gavin
Ross and Rachel had history, and sometimes it’s easier to fall back into something comforting than risk losing it all with someone new. That being said, we think Rachel’s biggest romantic mistake was in not choosing Gavin.
Unlike Ross, Gavin respected Rachel’s career (being in the same line of work) and made an effort with her and Emma. He even brought her soup when she called into work sick! Gavin, for the short time we knew him, had electric chemistry with Rachel, and gifted her a scarf she likely wouldn’t try to exchange for credit.
Gavin’s only real fault was in not fighting for a woman he knew he wouldn’t win, which is why Ross remained victorious.