The sitcom “Friends” got many things right. Probably. I haven’t watched it in quite a while. I do know it got some things wrong regarding relationships. For starters, Monica and Tom Selleck should never have broken up, because he is Tom Selleck. But what if Monica and Chandler weren’t the only couple inexplicably mashed together? What if the show’s biggest arc, the relationship between Ross and Rachel, ended up exactly wrong? What if, instead, Joey and Rachel had ended up together?
Well, tweeter @kaneandgriffin makes that argument, and her points are not just compelling, they’re convincing. For starters, Ross Gellar is really a pretty terrible human being. Not only does he argue against the plausibility of a real-life Jurassic Park, he’s also that one friend we all have: the guy who is always engaged, again. Now, we could argue it’s because he’s trying to move past his infatuation with Rachel, but c’mon. That’s not how that guy operates.
No, that guy is always on the next mission, thinking about himself, being ridiculous about dinosaurs, and maybe being a little too liberal with his definition of “a break.” There’s also the constant paranoia and self-absorption, as @kaneandgriffin points out.
On the flip side, Ross and Rachel have history. They have their ups and downs. They also have a child together, and that should definitely be taken into consideration. Except Joey is Joey. If he wasn’t the prime example of fatherhood material, and someone who could step into the role of adoptive father, then who is?
Throughout the show, Joey is always focused on others. Often, he was focused on where he could fit in with them, a fact evinced every time he uttered “How you doin’?” Nevertheless, he derived satisfaction from others’ happiness; he strove to make people around him happy. He knew how to correctly pronounce Porsche. At Thanksgiving dinner, he was a powerhouse. He likely believes in the possibility of a real-life Jurassic Park
He was also an unrepentant rogue, one who didn’t try to disguise his “How you doins’?” behind subterfuge and hidden agendas, like, say, someone named Ross Gellar did. He didn’t get married every few months just because. He always called women by the right names.
Sure, Ross sometimes worked his magic, but he was still Ross. Plus, he never bothered to leverage his strength properly, which further highlights that deep down he was insecure and given to using others to overcome those feelings. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Most important, though, is that Joey loved Rachel even in failure. That, not the friendship, not his inner goodness, not his (likely) belief in the possibility of one day repopulating the earth with venom-spitting lizards, is why Rachel and Joey should have ended together. Relationships are about complementarity, and compliments. When it really mattered, Ross offered sharp words while Joey offered praise. Custard good. Jam good. Meat goooooood. Those words, that depth of emotion and generosity, that’s not something to trifle with.