When you watch a show from the '90s and '00s, it's immediately quite obvious how badly it's aged. Sex And The City. Friends. The OC. Will & Grace. These TV shows all exhibit scenes where characters routinely display casual homophobia, racism, sexism, classism, the list goes on, not to mention the fact that in general there's a glaring lack of diversity when it comes to casting. To a certain extent, we can see such shows as a product of their time. We can enjoy a series from the past without endorsing or condoning such behaviours. But there are lines, and in revisiting Friends, one truth seems undeniable: Ross Geller is the worst.
For ten years, the dorky paleontologist kept the world hooked with his will-they-won’t-they relationship with golden girl Rachel Green, played by Jennifer Aniston. David Schwimmer, no question a talented comic actor, ran the gamut of slapstick and physical comedy (the leather trousers!), acted out grief, elation, mental breakdowns and moments of real tenderness. But he was also guilty of some pretty questionable behaviour. So, why is Ross the worst? Find out below.
He says the wrong name at the altar
Don't get me wrong, Emily Waltham is not a favourite of ours, but hearing someone else's name at the altar has got to be one of the most disconcerting things that could happen on your wedding day, right?! We know, Ross and Rachel, they're each other's lobster, but that still doesn't excuse this particular faux-pas. Badly done Ross.
He’s guilty of microagressions
Friends, like many shows, is often criticised for a lack of diversity - and rightly so. Ross himself, meanwhile, is guilty of microaggressions. Look at the episode where he has a misadventure with a spray tan booth. Initially he's asked what level of tan he wants. ‘Well, I like how you look, what are you?’ he asks the attendant, to which they respond, ‘I’m Puerto Rican.’ Such jokes are demeaning and should have hit the cutting room floor.
He is unprofessional
OK, we know it's a show, where you have to take certain scenes with a pinch of salt. Ross, however, does take things to extremes. He has sex in his place of work (not in the privacy of a loo but in an actual exhibit!), dates one of his students, yells at another faculty member about a sandwich...How did he get tenure, again?
He is insanely jealous
It's natural to feel the green-eyed monster on occasion, but jealousy seems to be part-and-parcel of being in a relationship with Ross, at least in the early seasons. His lack of trust when it came to Mark, Rachel's colleague at Bloomingdale's, was what caused them to go 'on a break' in the first place. Not cool Ross.
He is the world's most annoying roommate
From taping a personalised answering machine message, 'We will, we will, call you back, call you back', to the air purifier to the 'keep it down' hand gesture that sends poor Chandler and Joey, generally a laid-back duo, over the edge and into the latter's bedroom, Ross is clearly not made for cohabitation.
He doesn't have a very evolved view of gender identities
Ross is horrified when his son, Ben, starts playing with a Barbie (although is chastened when his sister reminds him that he used to dress up in his mum's clothes, calling himself 'Bea') and is also unnerved by the idea of a male nanny, a 'manny', jokes Chandler. He does admit to Sandy, a very heart-warming Freddie Prince Jr, that it's because his own dad gave him a hard time about playing with dinosaurs and not being a 'real boy'. But such a narrow view of gender identities - boys should play with GI Joe, girls should play with Barbies - is disappointing nonetheless.
So there you have it. We know that we should get over it. Friends is a time capsule that belongs in its era. But for some reason, Ross falls particularly foul. Can we write him out retroactively? No? Oh well.