This will definitely change your mind about Joey and Rachel in Friends



Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and Courtney Cox of the television comedy, Friend's pose for a portrait circa 1995.


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Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and Courtney Cox of the television comedy, Friend’s pose for a portrait circa 1995.


If the fan theories, plot holes and controversial storylines from FriendsFriendsstill keep you up at night, you’re not the only one: earlier this week, the internet got really, really angry (again) about when Joey and Rachel happened.

At the end of Season 9, the pair’s relationship moved from platonic to romance while Rachel was pregnant with Ross’s child, and while they later decided they were better off as friends, a lot of fans argue that it should have never happened in the first place because of Ross.

But if there’s one thing to convince you otherwise, it’s this epic Twitter thread from Claire Willets, who shut down claims that the romance was just a stalling mechanism for Ross and Rachel’s relationship, but rather puts forward a very strong argument that Rachel and Joey are far better suited. Read it all, and then try and tell us you don’t agree.

@kaneandgriffin explains, ‘In Defence of Rachel and Joey: A Thread. I’m loving this « let’s yell about TV plots point we hate » thing that’s happening EXCEPT that it started about Rachel and Joey on Friends. I am on record as being absolutely ride-or-die anti-Ross Geller, who is for my money one of television’s all-time worst human men. And her brief thing with Joey was obviously intended by the writers to artificially draw out Rachel’s will they/won’t they with Ross.

‘A lot of people think it was weird or that it came out of nowhere, BUT I AM HERE TO TELL YOU WHY IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ENDGAME. ARGUMENT #1: Ross Never Saw Rachel As a Friend, But Joey Did. From the moment the Friends first meet Rachel, Ross immediately sees her as a romantic prospect. He’s never gotten over his crush on her.





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‘Joey, of course, greets her with « how YOU doin' » and Monica appropriately smacks him down for hitting on a woman on her wedding day. But this is presented as Joey’s standard greeting to every hot woman ever, not specific to Rachel.

‘But Joey’s relationship with Rachel is platonic almost right away. They have a genuine friendship. He frequently gives her dating advice. (Sometimes questionable af, but, you know. Well-intentioned.) He sets her up on dates with men he thinks she’ll like. He lets her crash the set when he’s filming and flirt with soap actors. 

‘Joey has a lot of problems but his supportive, protective relationship with the women friends is one of his best qualities. He genuinely loves them and wants them all to be happy and there’s no jealousy in it at all. HE MAKES HER LAUGH.

‘Okay, now contrast this with Ross, who from minute one has labeled Rachel as « his. » We’re always told that Ross/Rachel was a « friends to lovers » ship but WHAT IS THAT BASED ON??? WHAT F**KING FRIENDSHIP?? He had a crush on her in high school, so he « claimed » her first, and long after they’ve broken up he resents every man in her life.

‘Ross literally cannot accept that Mark (or any man) could be just friends with Rachel because HE couldn’t be « just friends » with Rachel. And you’ll note that throughout the series it’s often Joey telling Ross he doesn’t OWN Rachel, while Chandler and Monica enable him.





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‘Joey is the person who most often tells Ross « dude she’s not interested » when she’s clearly not. The one who notices what RACHEL wants. He doesn’t have all this « but he’s loved her FOREVER » false nostalgia that makes them all feel like Ross has EARNED Rachel by waiting.

‘Joey’s feelings for Rachel were born out of genuine friendship. They were roommates. SHE WAS PREGNANT. We honestly don’t talk enough about how big a deal it is that Joey, the « shallow » one, falls in love with Rachel while she’s pregnant.

‘And when he tells Rachel how he feels and she turns him down, contrast that with ‘WE WERE ON A BREAK’. He never blames her and he doesn’t let it impact the rest of the group. The friendship stays intact. ROSS GELLER WHAT’S GOOD.’

The writer then goes on to outline how Ross didn’t allow Rachel to follow her career dreams, and instead stifled her into staying with him instead – like it had to be a choice.

‘I am still furious AT LEAST WEEKLY that Rachel got off that goddamn plane. Ross sabotaged her career at every turn. He was ‘tired of having a relationship with her answering machine.’ He was jealous of all her male colleagues. He FELL ASLEEP at a work event he demanded she take him to.

‘Hey does anyone remember who gives Rachel her first big break to get out of Central Perk and into the fashion industry? JOEY DID. Joey knows what it feels like to be grasping for your big break. But name ONE THING Ross ever did to unselfishly help Rachel’s career.

‘It’s kind of remarkable that, for the token shallow/appearance-driven character, Joey actually seems to care very little about money. So he doesn’t see Rachel the big-shot fashion exec as qualitatively different from Rachel the scrappy waitress. But Ross CLEARLY does.

‘Every step up the ladder towards career success that Rachel takes is interpreted as a step AWAY from him. It’s SO. F**KED. UP. AM I SUPPOSED TO THINK IT’S A SIGN OF LOVE THAT HE ONLY WANTS A RACHEL WHO IS ECONOMICALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY SUBORDINATE TO HIM.

‘ARGUMENT #3: Joey and Rachel Make Each Other Better, Ross and Rachel Make Each Other Worse. So like let’s talk about what it says about how Joey has grown tf up that he realises he’s in love with his friend while she’s pregnant.

‘He happily lets Rachel and Emma move back in with him, despite how much having a baby around disrupts his lifestyle. Joey’s first GF after the Rachel crush is Charlie (@aishatyler), hands-down the single greatest love interest on the show. I LOVED her.

‘Charlie is nothing like any other woman Joey has ever dated. Falling for Rachel literally teaches Joey that he wants something more. Joey learns to love having a baby around, stops being a bad-date punchline and tries to be worthy of a way higher-class lady. And he’s good for Rachel, too. Circa-Joey’s-roommate Rachel is my favourite iteration of all the Rachels.

‘Joey: respecting Rachel’s feelings. Ross: needing to win every f**king time. One of my favourite Joey/Rachel moments is when they’re in Barbados for Ross’ conference and he’s giving his boring keynote speech. Joey and Rachel are giggling at « homo erectus » together (RELATABLE!), for which Ross and Charlie treat them both like massive idiots.

‘Ross has ALWAYS treated her like she’s intellectually beneath him, which is why « just a waitress » cuts so deep on that S2 list. And, crucially, this is NOT because Rachel isn’t smart. It’s because ROSS doesn’t think she’s smart. No matter how high she advances.

‘Ross fell in love with A PICTURE OF HIMSELF AS THE KIND OF MAN WHO COULD DATE A RACHEL and on some level that was always what he wanted. Whereas Joey fell in love with a bright, funny, competent single mother he’d been friends with for 7 years and knew inside-out already.’

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