It’s the central debate in Friends history, dividing friend from friend and lobster from lobster.
The question of whether Ross and Rachel really were on a break – and thus whether or not Ross could be excused for sleeping with another woman – was one of the biggest obstacles in their will they/won’t they love story.
It’s a question that contains a multitude of other questions. For example, what constitutes a ‘break’, and are the rules comparable with an actual full-blown break-up? Furthermore, even if heartbreak sex was on the table, should Ross have just waited a bit and shown some basic sensitivity?
And then, of course, we get to the actual reasons behind the break. After finally getting her dream job at Bloomingdale’s, Rachel was really starting to thrive; evolving into a busy career woman who found fulfilment beyond her personal relationships.
A far cry from the ditzy spoiled brat who first rushed into Central Perk in a meringue of a wedding gown, Rachel was blossoming into an independent and ambitious young woman. Not to mention a bonafide fashion icon whose wardrobe continues to inspire jealousy to this day.
Having established herself beyond the close-knit group of friends, Ross should have been happy to see his girlfriend find the sort of professional satisfaction he found in his palaeontology career.
Instead, he shamed and undermined her at every turn, exhibiting the selfish and paranoid streak that makes it so genuinely hard to root for Ross on a rewatch.
Despite being the sort of person who wouldn’t even sit with Joey when he got a job at the museum due to his stuffy feelings of superiority, Ross proceeded to jeopardise Rachel’s career at every turn.
Not only did he rock up with picnics as if her office was nothing more than a social club, he clumsily set her desk on fire. And I for one am not 100% positive it was an accident.
Anyway, I digress, as is so often the case when I am tasked with writing a Friends article. Some fans have found satisfaction in IRL Rachel – Jennifer Aniston – apparently putting the matter to bed on her new Instagram page.
Commenting on Jen’s very first post, Bachelor contestant Kaitlyn Bristowe demanded, ‘ARE YOU AND ROSS STILL TOGETHER!!???’
To this, the 50-year-old actor – who no doubt gets asked this question on a daily basis – quipped, ‘Well we’re on a break.’ Many have taken this seemingly jovial remark to mean Jen – and therefore Rachel herself – was finally admitting to the legitimacy of the break.
However, I personally have yet to be convinced. Ross and Rachel were always way too stubborn to admit the other was in the right.
And – as I have explored extensively within this article – Ross was such an arsehole about the whole situation that whether or not they were on a break becomes kind of irrelevant. Phalanges or not, Rachel should have stayed put on that plane.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.