Ladies, let’s discuss this epic two decade old debate.
Were Rachel and Ross, in fact, on a break?
What does ‘break’ even mean?
Was what Ross did okay?
Friends began in 1994 and, over two decades later is still on your TV screen, Netflix account and memes are being made world-wide. To me, Friends set the platform and expectation for what a sitcom should be. In the ten seasons of the show, there are several memorable moments that people still refer to today, in their daily lives, like the time Ross tasted breast milk or Joey peed on Monica.
And of course, the time Ross and Rachel were on a break.
From season three, until the very end of the show, this argument is constantly referred to by the characters and tempers are enraged.
Let’s look at the facts.
If you ask me, considering season three, episode fifteen titled ‘The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break’, they were technically on a break. Rachel specifically states that she needs a break from Ross and their relationship.
“Maybe we should just take a break.”
“A break from us.”
The reason Rachel wanted a break was because of Ross’ incredible amount of jealousy and possessiveness. Like so what a guy likes your girl, trust her dude.
Yes, I’m inevitably on Rachel’s side.
But what does being on a ‘break’ even mean? Does it mean being broken up? Or just a pause in the relationship? I would say the latter given that in the context of the episode, Rachel conveys her desire for a break in a way that means she wants to think their relationship through, before they either patch things up or officially break up. As the episode progresses, we realise that Rachel wants to still be with Ross given that she tells Mark that she “doesn’t want a break”. Additionally, later in the morning while talking to Monica, she claims how much she loves Ross and “yeah we got our problems but, I really want to make it work”.
Which leads us to the ceaseless debacle of whether what Ross did was okay.
Rachel and Ross were taking a break in their relationship, but that doesn’t mean they were broken up. Technically, Ross did cheat on Rachel. Yes, Ross perhaps was confused with what Rachel defined as a ‘break’. We witness this confusion, at the bar, when Ross meets up with Chandler and Joey. Chandler queries “I thought it was your big anniversary dinner”. Ross responds with “We’re going to break up instead”. Clearly, Ross assumed that Rachel and he were officially over. So yes, we could argue that he did not cheat on Rachel. However, when they talk on the phone and are about to reconcile, Ross overhears Mark’s voice in the background and hangs up in anger. If it wasn’t for his insecurity and substantial jealousy, Rachel would have been able to explain that Mark came over, in spite of her telling him not to, and that they were not doing anything wrong – Why can’t he just trust her?
Whatever Ross misinterpreted Rachel’s ‘break’ to mean, it does not justify his actions. Even if they were broken up, what Ross did was morally wrong. He threw away a potential relationship with Rachel, on the basis of insecurity and jealousy. Ross made it seem like he didn’t care about Rachel or their relationship at all.
So were Ross and Rachel on a break?