I’m a Ross Geller Apologist, and I’m Not Sorry
To many, Ross Geller isn’t a very well liked character. I’m here to say otherwise.
Friends is easily a Top-3 greatest sitcom of all-time, if not Top-1. It was a 10-season show that was literally just about a group of 6 Friends living in rent controlled apartments in New York City. Like any show, we all have our favorites or people we hate. Yesterday, I took a Buzzfeed quiz about who must leave the show if you had to choose. It was a fairly easy quiz, until the last question that asked which ‘Friend’ must go. I said Phoebe. Sorry, I just don’t get her appeal all the time and like The One With The Kips, she really would be the first Friend phased out. But look at these results:
Chandler’s my personal favorite so it’s no surprise to me that he has the least amount of votes to be booted off the island, but Ross getting 58% of the vote?! Why do so many people hate Ross?
I know Ross is a little whiny, neurotic, and played the keyboard, but he was a central character to the show. Don’t think so? Use your best unagi and consider this: the most important element to what makes these characters friends is the longtime friendship of Ross and Chandler.
Monica only marries Chandler because of the consistent relationship with Ross. As you may remember, Chandler thought Monica was just a ‘fat sister.’ Can you even watch Friends without the Monica and Chandler factor? I mean, we got an entire season out of hiding their relationship after London.
Say you could live without that. Then what about the will-they-won’t-they of Ross and Rachel? That story line is infamous in sitcom lore and often imitated, but not duplicated. Without that relationship, there’s no “we were on a break,” no baby Emma, no declarations of love, no “DID SHE GET OFF THE PLANE?!” no “I take thee Rachel.”
Get out of here if you can live without that. Seriously. Stop reading.
If you’re still with me, I will concede that, yes, Ross has had his moments where his voice is unbearable, but everyone else has had their moment, too. Monica is more neurotic than Ross, Rachel was a pretty petty character, Phoebe was just kind of there, Joey was a dunce (and had a failed spin-off), and Chandler consistently brought back Janice into their lives to much of the group’s and viewer’s chagrin. It’s not just Ross with the flaws, but I think the show writers chose to emphasis his more into the episodes and into long running jokes.
From a wider scope, only 3 characters showed true growth throughout the series. It was Rachel, who bloomed from a spoiled daddy’s girl to a career woman with a ceiling that still wasn’t reached by the end of the series. Chandler, who grew from a man-child afraid of relationships to a committed and loving husband. And finally, Ross, despite his mistakes evolved from socially awkward nerd to a caring father of 2 and a tenured professor of paleontology at NYU with a PhD. That’s no small feat!
Did you know that geo-scientists make close to $90k a year? Yeah, Ross was doing alright. Knowing that, the other Friends probably mocked him when he referred to himself as ‘doctor’ purely out of jealousy.
In the One with the Embryos, there’s the bet between Chandler and Joey with Monica and Rachel about which pair knew more about the other. Do you think Ross ever got credit for making those questions up about the Friends? Ross was the smartest and knew his Friends like the back of a Miss Chanandler Bong TV guide. He’s the real winner of the bet and his trophy should’ve been the big apartment with his choice of duck or chicken.
So I ask you this: Who among us hasn’t made a fashion faux pas (the leather pants, the woman’s shirt, the Colonel Sanders suit — my God there were a lot)? Or made a drunken mistake even right in Vegas? Or thought they were really talented at something (the keyboard again)? Regardless, he’s provided us with plenty of laughs:
And if you’re not convinced Ross was a great character: he owned a pet monkey. Game over.