And so we've come full circle in this wild adventure... The same old story we've seen a million times. Boy meets girl, boy pines after girl, girl finds out, boy gets new Asian girlfriend, girl pines after boy, boy finds out, boy dumps Asian girlfriend, Asian girlfriend falls in love with boy's lookalike, boy writes list about girl, girl watches old high school prom video, boy gets girl, boy does girl in museum, girl gets new job, boy gets jealous, girl gets angry, boy gets a copy girl. Talk about your predictable relationships. If this brief synopsis doesn't whet your curiosity, the entire story is here for your perusal.
September 22, 1994:
Ross, who's ex-wife has just left him for another woman, and Rachel, who has just ditched her fiancee at the altar, meet again for the first time since high school. The fire of passion ignites inside Ross, who tells Rachel that he had a huge crush on her in high school. He then casually mentions asking Rachel out sometime. She seems excited.
September 29, 1994:
Ross' ex-wife tells him that she's pregnant with his child. Ross helps Rachel sweep up Central Perk after closing time. Lamenting about each others' current romantic situations, Rachel lays her head on Ross' hand. Needless to say, Ross doesn't mind.
October 6, 1994:
Rachel pokes fun at the way Ross over-pronounces every word. Ross gives her a dirty look. The tension mounts.
October 20, 1994:
Ross and Rachel do their laundry together at the local laundromat. Ross helps Rachel to discover a bit of independence, and she is so pleased with his help that she gives him a kiss. Stunned, Ross runs into the door of a washing machine. Afterwards, Rachel lovingly applies an icepack.
November 3, 1994:
During a blackout, Joey encourages Ross to tell Rachel how he feels about her. Meeting her out on the infamous balcony, he begins to ask her out when a stray cat jumps on him from behind. The moment ruined, Rachel goes off to find the owner of the cat and meets a handsome Italian man, Paolo. She brings him back to the apartment, where Ross tells him to stay out of the way. When the lights come back on, Ross sees Rachel making out with the damn crapweasel. A definite low point in the relationship.
November 10, 1994:
At his grandmother's funeral, Ross takes one too many pain pills and gets a bit woozy. He tells all his friends how much he loves them, and then secretly confides in Rachel 'I love you the most.' Rachel, thinking its just the drugs talking, playfully replies 'Do you know who I love the most? You!' Ross, upset with the misunderstading, wails 'You don't get it!' and passes out in her lap.
December 15, 1994:
Rachel confides to the group that by their second date, Paolo had already named both of her breasts. When she asks if she said too much, Ross dejectedly replies 'Just a smidge.'
January 5, 1995:
Chandler's mom comes to visit, and the group goes to dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Rachel arrives late with Paolo, saying that they 'just lost track of time.' Ross starts downing tequila shots, and ends up kissing Chandler's mom.
January 12, 1995:
Paolo goes to Phoebe for a massage and makes a pass at her. Finally seeing the light, Rachel breaks up with him. Ross goes out to the infamous balcony to comfort her, and tells her she deserves someone who knows what they have when they have her. They embrace. Rachel then tells Ross that she is swearing off guys for a while. Ross tries to convince her otherwise to no avail.
February 9, 1995:
Depressed about the Rachel ordeal, Ross asks a good- looking woman from his building out on a date, while Rachel and the other girls have a 'boyfriend bonfire.' Ross runs into his lesbian ex-wife during his date, where he tries to patch things up with her. It's a no-go, since she is a lesbian. Rachel makes a date with one of the firemen who helps put out their out-of- control bonfire, not knowing that he's married.
March 2, 1995:
The whole crew has a poker game together. In the first game, Rachel gets upset that the guys get such a kick out taking their money. Ross tells Rachel that once the cards are dealt, he ceases to be a 'nice guy.' Rachel tells the other girls she thought he was being a jerk. In a subsequent poker game, Rachel refuses to show her cards to Ross after he folds, causing him to get angry. During the next hand, Rachel gets a phone call telling her that she has been turned down for the job offer she wanted. Ross, noticing her obvious sadness, intentionally folds the winning hand to let Rachel have the pot.
March 9, 1995:
Ross and Rachel have dinner together alone, where she tells him that she wants to be with someone. Ross, about to bear his soul, is interrupted by the other four friends returning home from a movie. The next day, Rachel accidentally lets Ross' monkey loose in the apartment while looking after him. She then unwittingly calls Animal Control, not knowing that the monkey is an illegal animal. Ross is furious with Rachel, but every- thing turns out OK. Alone once again, Ross pours wine for the two of them and dims the lights. Rachel puts her hand on his leg. Ross begins to tell her how he feels, when Rachel's ex-fiancee walks through the door and tells her that he still loves her. Ross proclaims: 'We have got to start locking that door!'
April 6, 1995:
Ross storms out of Monica's apartment after hearing about Rachel's fling with the man she left at the altar.
May 4, 1995:
Rachel has erotic dreams about Chandler and Joey, leading Ross to get extremely jealous. While she is asleep on Monica's couch, he gets up to leave and covers her up, when she moans 'Oooooohhhhhh Ross!' Overjoyed that she is dreaming of him, Ross begins to dance on the table and falls into her lap. She wakes up, confused about the situation. She puts her hand on his chest, and he tells her 'I'm here.' Then his beeper goes off, as his ex-wife goes into labor.
May 18, 1995:
Chandler tells Ross move on and forget about Rachel. Ross goes to China on a business trip, leaving a present behind for Chandler to give to Rachel for her birthday. When she opens it, she finds that it is an expensive brooch like the one her grandmother had when she was little. She says she can't believe that he did this for her, at which point Chandler lets it slip that Ross is in love with her. Rachel rushes to the airport to talk to him, but barely misses him. A few days later, while having drinks with another guy on the infamous balcony, Rachel begins daydreaming about Ross. On the day his flight arrives, she runs to meet him with a bouquet of flowers... when he gets off the plane with another woman.
September 21, 1995:
Ross tells Chandler he never would have gone for it with the new woman--Julie--if Chandler hadn't told him to get over Rachel. Rachel, upset about the turn of events, sleeps with Paolo again. Joey tells Rachel that she needs to tell Ross how she feels. She meets him out on the infamous balcony, where Ross tells her how much he hates Paolo and that she needs to be with someone that makes her feel good--like Julie does for him. Rachel, speechless, decides not to tell Ross how she feels.
September 28, 1995:
Monica goes shopping with Julie, and Rachel gets jealous. Monica tells Rachel that if she gave Julie a chance, she would like her. Rachel and Julie talk, and Julie asks Rachel if she'd like to see a movie some time. Rachel says that would be great. Julie then leaves, and Rachel mutters, 'What a manipulative bitch.'
October 12, 1995:
Ross asks Rachel how long she has been in a relationship before having sex. Rachel deduces that Ross hasn't done it yet with Julie, and tells him that he should wait. Ross takes Joey's advice instead, who tells him to do it as soon as possible. The gang hangs out at Ross' apartment, where Rachel tries to stall the two so they won't have sex. On her way out, Rachel tells Ross that if it were her, she would want him to slowly kiss her, and then look in her eyes as if something amazing were about to happen. Ross seems entranced. The two get close, as if about to kiss, and then Ross says 'Thanks, Rach. Goodnight,' and shuts the door.
November 9, 1995:
Rachel hears that Ross and Julie are going to buy a cat together and gets worried their relationship is getting too serious. She goes out on a date and gets toasted, and can't talk about anything but Ross. Her date convinces her to call him and tell him how she feels. She calls him from the restaurant and leaves a message on his machine. The next morning, he comes by her apartment and checks his answering machine from there. Rachel remembers the message she left and tries to stop him from hearing it, embarrassed. But he does. They start to talk, but he has to leave with Julie. Later that night, Ross shows up at Central Perk and gets upset with Rachel for disclosing her feelings because he is unhappy with Julie now. The two argue in what has got to be one of the best scenes that has ever been on television. He leaves, and she locks the doors and begins to cry. Just when we think the episode is over, he comes back, and they share one of the most long-awaited kisses in television history. Talk about your good days.
November 16, 1995
Ross, forced to choose between Rachel and Julie, takes Chandler's advice and makes a list of the negative sides of both women to help him decide. He decides to break up with Julie for Rachel, and at first everything seems great until Rachel sees the list on Chandler's computer. She is so enraged by seeing her negative points on his list that she wants nothing to do with him. He tries to make it up to her by requesting U2's 'With or Without You' for her on the radio, but she calls the radio back and tells them to stop playing it. Talk about your bad days.
December 14, 1995
Sensing that Rachel is still upset with him about the infamous list, Ross convinces her that she'll feel better if she makes a list of his faults. She tells him that he is obsessive, gutless, whiney, and that he uses too much gel in his hair. Ross is taken aback, but it looks like the wounds are healing between these two young lovers. However, Ross may have made a bad decision buying Rachel a Slinky for Christmas. Nevertheless, it looks like the most-watched romance in television is on the verge of a major breakthrough!
January 4, 1996
Rachel tells the group that she no longer has any feelings whatsoever for Ross. She then introduces them to her new date, Russ, who looks and acts much like Ross... however, Rachel fails to notice the similarities. When it finally becomes clear to her that Russ and Ross have more in common than just their names, she promptly dumps him. Russ then falls in love with Ross' ex-girlfriend, Julie.
February 1, 1996
Rachel tells Ross that they will never be a 'thing,' and that he had to accept it. After spending the rest of the day in emotional hell, Ross returns to Monica's apartment to find the entire gang watching an old video tape of Monica and Rachel's senior prom. In the video, Rachel's date has stood her up and Monica's father talks Ross into asking Rachel to the prom. Ross puts on his father's tux, and is just about to ask Rachel to the dance when her date shows up, and she leaves with him. Rachel is so touched by what she sees in the video that her feelings for Ross come rushing back in a huge torrent, and she walks up to him and kisses him full on the mouth, signalling the beginning of a new era in her life... The Age of Ross.
February 8, 1996
Ross and Rachel. Together. Finally. Having planned to go to a romantic dinner and then come back to Rachel's apartment for... dessert, Ross ends up having to straighten some business at the museum he works at, and Rachel tags along. Unfortunately, his business takes longer than he had expected. Fortunately, they end up hitting it in the astrology exhibit at the museum. They wake in the morning to see a group of young kids on a field trip who are, needless to say, shocked by the two naked people in the exhibit. Be that as it may, it doesn't change the fact that Ross and Rachel are now officially more than just 'friends.'
February 15, 1996
Rachel and Phoebe decide to get tattoos, but Rachel finds out that Ross doesn't think they are very appealing. Rachel accompanies Phoebe to the tattoo parlor, and expresses her second thoughts. Phoebe (apparently in an act of insane jealousy over Rachel's relationship) asks Rachel 'Is this how this relationship is going to work? Ross equals boss?' Not wanting to look like a wimp, Rachel proceeds to get a small heart tattooed on her hip. She is extremely upset when she finds out that Phoebe chickened out at the last minute. Ross walks in on Rachel as she is proudly displaying the tattoo to Monica and her new boyfriend, and is upset that Rachel got the tattoo. After staring at it intensely, though, Ross realizes how sexy it is and he and Rachel spend the next few hours in Rachel's bedroom. Talking, I'm sure. :)
February 22, 1996
Rachel becomes mildly upset with Ross for acting childish around Monica. However, the two look as close as ever... all is well in paradise.
March 21, 1996
Ross and Rachel finally sit down and have a serious heart-to-heart talk about Rachel's feelings for Paolo. The conversation ends well when Rachel beats Monica in rock-paper-scissors in order to obtain the last condom in the apartment.
March 28, 1996
Rachel reads a self-empowerment book that refers to men as 'lightning-bearers' and urges women to stop letting males steal their wind. Ross comes to take her to a movie, and she begins to feel that he is oppressing her. 'How can you expect me to grow if you won't let me blow?' she asks. To which an aroused Ross replies, 'You know I don't have a problem with that.' Book or no book, things are going just fine for America's hottest couple. Stay tuned!
April 4, 1996
Rachel becomes nervous when Ross slips up and tells her that he has planned out the rest of their lives together (Ross, didn't anyone ever tell you that women don't like that stuff?) This leads to an argument where Rachel tells him that she doesn't want anyone planning her life for her, and Ross telling her that he is the type of guy who is not going to stop planning to spend the rest of his life with the woman he truly loves. This momentous conversation ends with Ross and Rachel exchanging those three little words that mean so much.
April 25, 1996
Very little to report this week, folks. Ross and Chandler encounter two middle-aged bullies at the coffeehouse, leading Ross to get an affectionate hug from Rachel after he tells her the story.
May 2, 1996
Rachel's birthday party turns into mayhem when her newly-separated mother and father both show up. Feeling down about the breakup, Rachel turns to Chandler for advice, who in turn turns her over to Ross for comfort.
May 9, 1996
Ross accompanies Rachel to Barry and Mindy's wedding... Barry, of course, being the man that she left at the altar waaaaayyy back in the pilot episode. Barry, still hurting from her rapid exit from their ceremony, pokes fun at her during his speech. Ross stands up for her at first, but Rachel decides that she needs to stick up for herself and tells him off at his own wedding. We sure have come a long way... I remember when Rachel couldn't even protect her own laundry cart.
September 19, 1996
Rachel convinces Ross to reveal his deepest sexual fantasy to her... a fantasy which she later reveals to Phoebe. See, it seems that Ross--along with every other male in the free world--has this little hang-up about Princess Leia in her slave outfit from Return of the Jedi. Well, Ross decides to share his secret with Chandler and in return Chandler tells Ross that he some- times pictures his mother while he's having sex. Ross is shocked and disgusted, but when Rachel finally shows up in the gold bikini, Ross can't seem to get his mother out of his mind. Ohhh Ross... you're letting the hottest babe in New York slip away. The final days of the Age of Ross are not far away.
September 26, 1996
In a hurry to get the whole gang ready for a museum benefit, Ross blows up at Rachel due to her inability to get dressed on time. Humiliated and angry, Rachel decides not to go to the benefit. But Ross' nice-guy mentality proves to win out here when he chooses to drink a disgusting glass of meat fat in order to show her how much he wants her to be there. Of course, Rachel stops him before he can quaff the concoction, and the two end up going together happily ever after... Rachel sans underwear, no less.
October 3, 1996
Ross and Rachel give Chandler some friendly advice to help him out with his relationship with Janice, and Ross privately teaches Chandler the hug-and-roll maneuver to avoid cuddling after sex. When Chandler tries the move on Janice, however, she falls off the bed. The next day, Janice lets it slip to Rachel that Ross taught Chandler the move. Rachel is upset with Ross because she had thought of them as "cuddly sleepers."
October 10, 1996
Rachel becomes moderately annoyed with Ross' unwillingness to accept the fact that his son is playing with a Barbie doll rather than a more masculine doll. Luckily, the week's major revelation--that Ross used to dress up as a girl when he was younger--does not become disclosed to Rachel.
October 17, 1996
Ross and Rachel trade lists of the five celebrities who they would be allowed to cheat on each other for. Rachel's list includes Parker Stevenson, Sting, Daniel Day Lewis (?), John F. Kennedy, Jr., and Chris O'Donnell. Ross gives plenty of though to his list, finally deciding on Uma Thurman, Wynona Ryder, Elizabeth Hurley, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Dorothy Hammill (to which Rachel notes, "You do realize that she only spins like that on ice?") One of Ross' original inclusions, Isabella Rossalini, coincidentally happens to show up at Central Perk after Ross has laminated his list. Rachel doesn't believe him when he tells her that had he not taken her off the list, he would go up and flirt with her. Rachel allows him to use her as an alternate, and he is quickly shot down by Rossalini. He then runs into the waiting arms of Rachel (who, ironically enough, happens to have made two spots on my list of five.)
October 31, 1996
We learn that prior to Ross and Rachel's hot love affair, Ross nearly had sex with Phoebe on the pool table of the closed-down bar where Central Perk now stands. We also learn that Rachel at one time fantasized about making it with Chandler in the very same pool room before her subsequent wedding and the abandonment thereof.
November 7, 1996
Ross has dinner with Rachel and her father, much to his chagrin. Rachel's dad shorts the waiter on the tip, and Ross swiftly adds another $20 to the tab. When Rachel's dad goes back to get a copy of the receipt, however, he notes the extra $20 and thinks that Ross is trying to imply that he's cheap. Rachel's dad tears up the check and leaves Ross to foot the entire bill. Rachel begs Ross to give it another chance at getting along with Dr. Green, because she already has a mother and a father who have to be kept separate and she doesn't want Ross to have to do the same. The three of them have brunch at Rachel's apartment, and Ross and Dr. Green realize that they do have one thing in common: nagging Rachel. Rachel is a little peeved that Ross has to resort to picking on her in order to break the ice with her father.
November 14, 1996
Ross becomes reluctant to leave his son Ben with Rachel for the day when he has to go to the museum for urgent dinosaur business. Monica assures him that she'll be there the whole time, further accentuating Ross' lack of trust in his girlfriend. While watching Ben, Monica accidentally bangs his head against the ceiling and gives him a hefty bruise. When Ross gets home, he is quick to lecture Rachel on how careful she has to be when watching babies. Defending herself, Rachel points out that Monica was the one responsible for the bump and Ross capitalizes on Monica's guilt.
November 21, 1996
The six go out to play a friendly game of football, which turns into an intense competition between siblings Ross and Monica. Ross' competitivity leads him to trade away Rachel, who is shocked and saddened by the fact that she was traded away by her own boyfriend. Bad move, Ross. Anyway, Rachel gives him his comeuppance when she catches the game-winning pass, even though she neglects to actually bring the ball into the end zone. The football game ends in a draw, but the real loser is Ross... trading away the woman you love, even in a friendly football game, is a bad idea.
December 12, 1996
Chandler and Joey convince Rachel to quit her waitressing job at Central Perk after two and a half years of screwing up orders. Unwittingly, Chandler and Joey have set in motion a chain of events that will ultimately lead to the destruction of the most heralded union in all of television history. But don't blame them, they know not what they do.
January 9, 1997
Mark... or as I like to call him, Paolo Number Two... makes his slimy entrance into Rachel's life. While she's sulking over her job prospects, Mark offers her his card and tells her that he may be able to get her an opening at Bloomingdale's. Rachel is very excited, but Ross instantly suspects that Mark wants an opening of his own: "Sounds like Mark something wants to have some sex!" Ross becomes jealous, and Rachel becomes a bit ticked off at his possessiveness. Monica tells Ross to trust her and grow up, but Ross can't shake the feeling that Mark something-or-other is going to serve as a major impediment to his happiness. And in a way, he's right.
January 23, 1997
Rachel starts her new job with Mark at Bloomingdale's. Threatened, Ross sends her a vast array of love tokens, including a musical bug and a huge picture of himself with the caption "I Love You This Much." A thoroughly disgusting display of overaffection if I ever saw one. He then sends a barbershop quartet to her office to sing about how much he loves and supports her. Upset by his obvious marking of territory, Rachel tells Ross that if two people love each other as much as they do, there should be no reason for jealousy. These very words come back to haunt her when Ross makes a playdate with a single stripper mom. Rachel tries to hide her jealousy, but Ross sees through it, casually remarking "I love you too" when he notices how uncomfortable she is letting him go on this playdate. Rachel plants a remarkable kiss on him before he leaves, leading Chandler to add, "Way to go. You've just turned him on and sent him off to a stripper."
January 30, 1997
Ross becomes a bit agitated that Rachel has been working late. Rachel appeases him by agreeing that for every night he is asleep before she gets home, she'll wake him up in a way "that has proved very popular in the past." Ahhh, sexual favors. The core of every meaningful relationship.
February 6, 1997
The foundations of Ross and Rachel's love are crumbling fast. Nearly their one-year anniversary, and yet time is running short. This week, Ross' jealousy resurfaces tenfold when he refuses to accept the fact that Rachel and Mark are just friends. Ross sees no reason for Rachel to be hanging out with Mark, since he had quit Bloomingdale's. Rachel, simply trying to form a life for herself that doesn't include Chandler, Joey, Monica, Phoebe, and Ross, attempts in vain to convince Ross that her and Mark are going to attend an innocent fashion lecture. Ross opts to go with her to the lecture himself, during which he promptly falls asleep. After they get home from the lecture, the two argue about who's profession is the least exciting. Rachel calmly tries once again to make it clear to Ross that she wants to have her own life as well as a life shared with him, a perfectly understandable request. Ross pretends to validate her feelings, but a glimpse at the camera while they embrace reveals that he doesn't want to let Rachel have her own life for fear that he won't be included in it. The die is cast, the trap is sprung... and the once burning fires of the Ross/Rachel relationship are reduced to dying embers. Sadly, this special friendship is doomed to failure.
February 13, 1997
On their first anniversary, Rachel is confronted with a crisis at her new fashion consultant job. Ross can't believe he's being stood up on his anniversary, so he brings a picnic to Rachel's work to try and have a romantic dinner. Rachel flies off the handle with him, and later that evening becomes angry at him again for not apologizing. Ross says that he's not about to apologize for wanting to spend his anniversary with his girlfriend. Trapped between her boyfriend at finally having a job that she cares about and is good at, Rachel offhandedly remarks that maybe the two of them should take a break. Dejected, Ross goes to a bar where he runs into Chloe, the hot Xerox girl that Chandler and Joey have been lusting after for months. Mark calls Rachel and sees she's upset, so he invites himself over and tries to cheer her up. Chandler and Joey tell Ross to call Rachel and try to smooth things out, and Ross overhears Mark's voice at Rachel's apartment. Intensely hurt, he slams the phone down and winds up locked in a meaningless kiss with Chloe to the tune of U2's 'With or Without You.' Meanwhile, Rachel is desperately trying to get in touch with Ross.
February 20, 1997
And so it ends. Gunther finds out that Ross slept with Chloe, divulges the information to Rachel, who cannot deal with the reality that the one man she had thought would never do anything to hurt her has slept with someone else. Ross defends himself by saying that he thought their relationship was dead, a technicality that Rachel will not let him slip out of. In one of TV's most heartfelt moments this year, Ross gets down on his knees in hopes that their love can be salvaged, but Rachel has been wounded too deeply. Can these two continue to be friends after their relationship is over? I guess now's the time to spout the classic cliche, "tune in next week." Don't you dare leave the house on Thursday nights ever again.
March 6, 1997
Still aching over their recent break-up, Ross and Rachel begin to vie for the companionship of Joey, Chandler, Monica, and Phoebe. Rachel decides to spurn Ross by inviting the four of them on a weekend-long ski trip, with Ross getting shafted on the invite. Ross refuses to let any of the four feel bad about leaving him home alone in New York, however, and passes the time by hanging out with his lesbian ex-wife Carol. Phoebe's grandmother's cab runs out of gas at a rest stop on the highway, and the four are forced to call Ross to bail them out. When Ross shows up at the rest stop, a shouting match ensues between Ross and Rachel, leading Chandler to nervously suck down cigarettes and do Shelley Winters impressions. Phoebe pleads with them to act civil towards one another or risk the unthinkable: the six might stop hanging out together. They agree, but Rachel is still vehemently opposed to the idea of Ross tagging along on the ski trip. Ross offers to let them go alone without making them feel guilty, a noble move on his part which elicits a reluctant "thank you" from Rachel.
March 13, 1997
Realizing that they can't continue to argue with each other without alienating the other four, Ross and Rachel seem to contend themselves with the silent treatment. Ross lets Rachel know how he feels, however, by sticking his hand into her coffee when she tells him she had wanted it without cinnamon. Other than this minor encounter, our two former lovebirds maintain a relatively safe distance from one another this week.