If you know me, you know I love FRIENDS, the tv show.
I love my real life FRIENDS too, even though they always make fun of me for watching this show way too many times, every year.
Like did I convince my brother to get us the HBO Max subscription just to watch it? Yes, very much indeed (but then I discovered other amazing shows like Lovecraft Country, which is wow, amazing)!
Anyways, as it happens when you watch a show over and over again, as you grow up, you begin to realize things that kind of escape you. I’m not just speaking about the reuse of extras and outfits, or changes to the setting over seasons, or finally understanding dirty jokes that previously went right over your head. But in a way, you start to realize some character development that may also speak to your current personal life.
Personality-wise, I am a Monica. No matter how many “Which FRIENDS character are you” quizzes I take (and people I meet even characterized me as a Monica), that is always the result I get. Except, the whole wanting kids and house in the suburbs thing, I agree, especially about the entire type A personality thing: the determination,overbearing, cleanliness, organization, practicality,level-headed, caring thing, and I love it. My absolute favorite character is Phoebe. Geez, that woman is amazing and hilarious! She is quirky, wise, does not take herself too seriously, incredibly kind with a mix unexpected burst of anger, honest, multifaceted, all things I (or wish to) embody.
The one character I never really connected with was Rachel, for many reasons. At first, I never liked how much of her story was so much about how Ross desired her. I hated how the showrunners depicted the first season that way. While we got to see Phoebe and Monica’s love life pursuits from their perspectives, their own choices, I felt like Rachel did not receive that same consideration. She was instantly placed into this box labeled “for Ross” since episode one, so most of what she pursued (which was not much in the first seasons) was regarding Ross.
Everything she did in her social life was reconnected to how much it affected Ross and I would scream internally “what about Rachel”! For sometime I blamed Rachel, but now I blame the writers. I did not start liking her, and seeing her as her own individual until season 3-4 when she and Ross broke up. I know everyone was incredibly upset by that breakup scene (which ultimately was) but I was really like ‘Yea leave his ass, girl”.
That’s because that’s when they finally stop placing her in this “for Ross” box and she begins to shine as her own person. And what an incredible person!
Over the years after rewatching, and also going through some changes in life myself, I find Rachel’s character development to have been one of the best in TV history and personally she’s grown from my 5th favorite (Ross, you are always still last) to almost heading it with Phoebe at times.
I also never quite related to Rachel, because growing up I did have a hard time seeing myself as the pretty or “girly” girl.
But, as I have matured to see the bad bitch that I am and also embrace my more “girly” tendencies, I have also come to appreciate those things in Rachel. She has shown me that is okay to be best dressed at any event if you desire so. It is okay to embrace and show off your beauty assets, indulge (responsibly!) in your skincare, makeup, clothes, and other luxuries. Not just materialistic. Indulge in other luxuries of life like pursuing and enjoying your career wholeheartedly, even if the men (or other people) in your life may not approve.
Rachel is incredibly resilient, funny, emotional, supportive, not afraid to stand her ground when necessary, and most importantly brave. As someone who has recently left everything behind to embrace life in a new city I can understand how frightening that must have been for her. Yet, she stuck it through.
She did the same with her unexpected pregnancy as well, and reflected that bravery many times through the show. Rachel has taught me that you can be independent and still enjoy being spoiled (or spoiling yourself). You will have a lot to learn throughout life but always persevere and be brave.
Bravo, Rachel, bravo.
Shows to watch (if you have HBO Max): FRIENDS duh. But seriously watch “Lovecraft Country“. Great horror story centered around Black characters. Insightful on how abuse, racism, magic, love transcends over time. Bravo Misha Green.
Book of the Month (more like monthSSS): “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.
(Quick note I am reading this so I can read the next book of the series The Testament,because I do not know when the show is coming back on. I will do a book review on these books too. Yikes, I am behind on my book reviews lol but they are coming, your girl is struggling right now. xoxo)
P.S. I do not own any copyright to the images included. And, Joey, Chandler and Ross are cool too.