Were These Two Characters Really the Best Couple on ‘Friends’?

Though it’s been off the air for over 10 years, many are still wild about Friends. The sometimes-controversial ’90s TV show featured several up and coming actors and actresses, but none has amassed the same star power as Jennifer Aniston, who played Rachel Green.

The earliest storylines — and, eventually, one of the final ones — revolved around Rachel and Ross Gellar, the ultimate will-they, won’t-they couple of the time. But were they really meant to be?

Obviously, the show’s cultural impact has stood the test of time and had a lasting influence on the cast’s careers. Aniston and co-star Matt LeBlanc recently reflected on their days on set, while also speaking out about their new projects. Read on for more about the show and its stars, especially Aniston.

The Joey and Rachel theory

Rachel and Joey having a conversation in Barbados in Friends

Rachel and Joey during a trip to Barbados | NBC via Netflix

Amongst the partisan mess that is Twitter these days, a thread arose that was arguably as divisive as anything political you’ve read. Claire Willets, a writer and podcaster, wrote an epic 100-tweet argument for why she believes Joey Tribbiani and Rachel were a better couple than Ross and Rachel.

Under her handle @kaneandgriffin, Willets argued Ross saw Rachel first as the girl he idolized in high school, then later as “beneath him,” and their relationship is fraught with this damaging dynamic.

On the other hand, Joey and Rachel began as friends, and their romantic feelings grew out of mutual respect.

Despite Rachel and Joey’s brief tryst often cited as one of the most hated ‘ships in all of TV history, it’s hard to argue with any of Willets’ points. But considering the possibility of a Friends reunion has been shut down many times, it seems unlikely that we’ll ever see any ending other than Rachel with Ross.

Matt LeBlanc’s on-set injury

Matt Le Blanc at launch party for the final season of Showtime Networks 'Episodes' at The Nice Guy.

Matt LeBlanc at a launch party | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Speaking of Joey, the actor who portrayed him, LeBlanc, recently spoke about the show. LeBlanc appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he talked about an injury he sustained while filming a fan-favorite episode, “The One Where No One’s Ready.”

While racing Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) to get a seat in a particular chair, “[s]omehow I ended up completely upside down,” LeBlanc told Kimmel. “I was going to land on my head between the table and the chair, so I put my arm up to break my fall and exploded my shoulder.”

LeBlanc’s arm was in a sling for a few episodes after that.

How Aniston helped #FreetheNipple

Rachel stands in front of a counter with a blender in Friends

Rachel at a beach house with her friends | NBC

Circling back to Rachel, Jennifer Aniston recently opened up to Vogue in an exclusive interview. Among the talking points? Rachel’s early (unintentional) contributions to what’s now known as the #FreetheNipple movement.

Despite the appearance of going braless, Aniston claimed it was out of her control. “It’s just one of those things, I guess. I wear a bra, I don’t know what to tell ya! And I don’t know why we’re supposed to be ashamed of them — it’s just the way my breasts are! But hey, OG, I’m not going to complain!”

Rachel’s cultural effect

Rachel seen talking to Ross Gellar at the gang's coffee shop in Friends

Rachel having a conversation with Ross at Central Perk | NBC

All of these conversations surrounding one character are par for the course — Rachel was, undeniably, a mark of the ‘90s. Every woman wanted to be her, which is likely what led to the phenomenon of her signature haircut, deemed “The Rachel.”

What’s funny about all of this is that Aniston has professed in the past to disliking the ‘do. In fact, it appears she prefers to keep her hair on the longer side. She recently told Allure she’s “never liked the bob,” which required frequent maintenance.

Aniston on becoming a beauty icon

Jennifer Aniston waves at the paparazzi at a movie premiere.

Jennifer Aniston making an appearance at the premiere of Office Christmas Party | Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

Aniston has long been cited as an example of ageless beauty. But she wasn’t always the picture of health. She admitted that her “biggest beauty regret” is that she used to soak up the sun sans sunscreen and loved staying tan.

These days, Aniston is much more focused on her health, both inside and out. She tells SELF about her “sacred” morning routine, working to practice self-care, and finding balance in her life. And no matter how busy she is, she always makes time for a good sleep.

Aniston’s new show

Jennifer Aniston poses with Reese Witherspoon. | Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Since Friends ended in 2004, Aniston has stuck to the big screen, appearing in comedies like Horrible Bosses and dramas such as Cake, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. But now, Aniston is returning to TV in a starring role opposite Reese Witherspoon.

The show doesn’t yet have a title or a network, but there is a loose premise. According to The Hollywood Reporter, their characters will be “exploring morning shows and the larger New York media scene that they inhabit.”

Aniston will also executive produce the series, which was created by former HBO head of drama Michael Ellenberg.

A positive attitude

Jennifer Aniston poses in front of white balloons while attending a charity event for St. Jude Children's Hospital and Smartwater

Jennifer Aniston attending a charity event for St. Jude Children’s Hospital | Jean Baptiste LaCroix/AFP/Getty Images

In recent years, Aniston has become more well-known in recent years for expressing her opinions. Last year she made waves with her HuffPost op-ed “For The Record,” where she discussed the dangers of tabloid gossip and how “the objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing” — specifically remarking on those who called out her weight or her decision to not pursue motherhood at this time.

In a recent Vogue article, Aniston was asked whether or not she thought things had changed in the year since it was published. She confessed that she doesn’t, but that she has worked to adjust her own perspective.

“You have to tune out the noise, which is fine by me, because I just know that I’m happy and healthy and doing everything I can to be good in the world and to the people I work with,” she said.

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