‘Friends’: Did 1 Scene in the Pilot Curse Ross and Rachel’s Relationship?

Friends writers made it obvious that Ross Geller and Rachel Green were the endgame couple of the series from early on. The show’s writers highlighted Ross’ infatuation with Rachel throughout season 1. Rachel’s sudden feelings for Ross and their eventual relationship was a major storyline in season 2 and 3. Their relationship, however, was far from smooth sailing. A scene from the pilot episode might explain why the couple could never get it right. Ross and Rachel might have been cursed. 

Ross Geller and Rachel Green’s relationship was rife with conflict 

Fans were given clues about the eventual relationship quickly. Ross admitted during the pilot episode that he had a crush on Rachel while they were in high school. He never acted on his feelings, but Rachel revealed that she always knew he had a thing for her. Eventually, in season 2, the duo got together. If we are being fair, their relationship didn’t start smoothly. 

Ross was jealous of Rachel’s dates until he met Julie on a trip to China. Rachel was jealous of Julie once she appeared. Ross and Rachel almost got together until a printing error revealed he had made a pro-con list about the two women. Rachel dated a Ross’ look-a-like before finally deciding to give Ross a chance. Once they got together, things were OK, save for a few fights, until season 3. 

Ross’ decision to sleep with Chloe from the copy place while he and Rachel were “on a break.” acted as a catalyst for their on-again-off-again relationship. The pair got back together, broke up, considered rekindling their romance, got married in a drunken stupor, and even had a child. Still, they could never get the romance side of things right. A theory suggests a scene from the pilot foreshadowed trouble in the relationship. An umbrella may have cursed Ross and Rachel. 

A scene in the show’s pilot episode might explain why they had so much trouble 

Ross and Rachel’s drama didn’t really come to a head until season 3, but there is reason to believe their romantic failure was foreshadowed in season 1, episode 1. In the first episode, Rachel ran into the coffee shop to find Monica Geller after abandoning her wedding. When Monica introduced her to the gang, Ross, flustered by his dream girl’s sudden appearance, accidentally opened an umbrella inside. Opening an umbrella inside is considered bad luck. 

A scene from the pilot episode of friends, featuring Ross and Rachel, Monica and Phoebe
‘Friends’ pilot episode | NBCU Photo Bank

While no scientific evidence supports the claim that opening an umbrella inside is bad luck, the superstition dates back centuries. According to Readers Digest, the belief that opening an umbrella indoors brings bad luck may date back to ancient Egypt. The publication notes that some evidence suggests ancient Egyptians used umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun. Opening one inside, away from the sun, was believed to anger the sun god. 

According to folklore, people who angered the sun god were punished with negative consequences. Since Ross opened his umbrella inside, and it was pointed at Rachel, one could argue that the negative effects they endured focused on their relationship with each other. 

Where would Ross and Rachel be today? 

In the final moments of Friends, the troubled lovers finally come back together. Fans of the famed series never got to see the rest of their relationship play out. An actual reboot, where the actors return as their characters, is unlikely to happen. Still, we can’t help but wonder what became of Ross and Rachel and if the curse was real. In 2021, fans weighed in on the topic. 

Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green and David Schwimmer as Ross Geller in a scene for 'Friends'
Rachel Green and Ross Geller | Danny Feld/NBCU Photo Bank

In 2021, TV Insider asked fans where they thought Ross and Rachel would be today. A staggering 66% of respondents believe the duo likely got it right this time and are living happily ever after. Perhaps they moved to Westchester to be close to Monica and Chandler, hopefully in Scarsdale, like Ross always wanted. 

Not everyone is optimistic that they finally figured out their relationship. 15% of respondents believe the TV couple eventually split up again, continuing the on-again-off-again nature of their relationship. 10% believe the couple is done for good, despite Rachel giving up her dream job to be with Ross. 

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