Were Ross and Rachel on a Break? What ‘Friends’ Fans Really Think

Were Ross and Rachel really on a break? That’s one of the questions that true Friends fans have to think about at some point. News recently broke that the break in this iconic relationship didn’t appear in the original script. Executive producer and director Kevin S. Bright said that writers Marta Kauffman and David Crane added the plot twist “to have fun with the show and give people something to root for.”

On the ensuing seasons of Friends, the “We were on a break” argument never seems to end. But what happened between Ross and Rachel? And do Friends fans think they were really on a break? Here’s what you need to know.

Ross and Rachel got together — and then immediately broke up

As Metro reports, “almost as soon as they finally kissed, Ross and Rachel split.” Bright told the publication, “We were well aware the audience wanted to keep them together, but everything that was keeping them apart — we realized when we got them together when the first kiss happened we go, ‘Wow, the air has kind of gone out of the balloon.'”

The writers gave the audience what they wanted and then took it away. As Bustle reports, “That wasn’t enough though, because then Ross goes and has sex with someone else.” It would take until the very end of the series to see Rachel and Ross get back together for good.

But why did they break up in the first place? Who wanted to take a break? And why did it take them so long to get back together? We won’t blame you if you need to refresh your memory.

They broke up because Ross and Rachel had different priorities

Bustle reports that Ross and Rachel were in very different places when they began their relationship. “Rachel was just starting her fashion career as an assistant, while Ross was already well established at his job,” the publication points out. “Instead of being happy when Rachel landed her dream job, Ross made her feel guilty for having a life outside of him and their other friends.”

Rachel had to cancel her anniversary dinner with Ross because she had an important deadline to meet at work. But Ross didn’t take it well. He showed up at her office with a picnic meal, distracting her from work, setting her desk on fire, and starting the fight that, Bustle notes, “ultimately led to the ‘break.'”

Rachel kicked Ross out of her office, and both members of the couple thought that the other owed them an apology. Predictably, that didn’t play out well when they got together to talk about it. In Bustle’s assessment, “So why did Ross and Rachel really break up? Because Ross is the actual worst.”

Plenty of Friends fans don’t like Ross

Many Friends fans love the show but don’t particularly like Ross. BuzzFeed, for instance, posits that Ross is the worst thing to happen the show. “He thinks that Rachel owes him something, and has for years,” the publication explains. “When Rachel lands a job at Bloomingdale’s and starts to feel fulfilled professionally and personally, Ross decides to make her feel guilty for her success and accuses her of ‘not having enough time for him.'”

As one fan writes on Medium, “Ross is unable to put his emotions of jealousy aside, and cannot adapt to Rachel’s work situation.” The lack of empathy that he has for Rachel’s experience is a “huge reason” why Rachel says that she wants to take a break from the relationship.

That’s when things really go wrong. Ross sleeps with another woman, thinking that he and Rachel have broken up. Meanwhile, Rachel knows that she said she wanted to take a break. But she also realizes that she didn’t really mean it. But that changes when Rachel learns what Ross did. When she finds out that Ross slept with someone else, she views his actions as cheating.

Most people think that Ross and Rachel were on a break — but that may not excuse Ross’s actions

Even though many fans sympathize with Rachel, the majority of Friends fans think that the couple was technically on a break. YouGov polled people who have watched the series and asked some fun questions. For instance, YouGov found that viewers think Chandler is the best character on the show. They also named Phoebe the nicest character. And the poll found that the Geller siblings “only score highly on the negative attributes — Monica is seen as the least nice of the Friends (19%) while brother Ross is seen as the most annoying (26%).”

Additionally, YouGov also asked questions about the infamous plot point of whether Ross and Rachel were on a break. 61% of poll respondents sided with Ross and said that they were on a break. Just 19% disagreed with Ross’s interpretation. A further 20% said they weren’t sure.

But, perhaps more interestingly, fewer people thought it was acceptable for Ross to sleep with someone else while on a break with Rachel. 41% said it is acceptable, while 37% said it isn’t. Plus, 46% of men said that Ross’s actions were acceptable compared to the 33% who thought they were unacceptable, while 40% of women thought Ross was in the wrong compared to the 36% who thought his actions were acceptable.

Read more: How Jennifer Aniston Cost a ‘Friends’ Co-Star a Bigger Role on the Show

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