Reason Why Viewers Tolerated Ross Geller’s Behaviour on Friends

Fans were afforded the opportunity to assess the Manhattanites from a new perspective when Netflix started streaming the show. And it wasn’t long before a dialogue developed around the gang’s casual sexism and homophobia.

 

And then attention turned to Ross Geller.

Back in the day, the character of Ross was viewed through a sympathetic lens. He was a dinosaur-obsessed dork in high school, his wife left him for a woman, and his friends made fun of his chosen career. Oh, and he was head over heels for one-time head cheerleader, Rachel Green, and in true Ross-style, it wasn’t long after finally getting with her that he lost her again. Ross wasn’t like uber-player Joey or commitment-phobe Chandler, he was the nice guy.

Or so most of us thought.

However, Netflix’s decision to add the show to their service has shone a light on the intensity of Ross’s character. And the fact that his flaws were often written off during the height of the show’s popularity. Regular flashbacks to Ross’ adoration of Rachel in high school laid a foundation for misplaced acceptance of his subsequent behavior. And sporadic references to Rachel’s teenage dismissals provided a platform for viewers’ misguided tolerance.

But at the end of the day, Ross was mean.

He was possessive, condescending, controlling, and everything a viewer wouldn’t accept of characters like Joey and Chandler. A guy like Joey would not get away with humiliating his girlfriend in front of her friends simply. A person like Chandler would not get away with using a woman’s relatively low-paid job as a reason not to be with her.

But Ross had – remember – all the hallmarks of a nice guy.

And this is why many of us seemed to at best dismiss, and at worst, justify his behavior. It simply – and perhaps most horrifyingly – came down to the fact that Ross was the dork who could never get the girl. We bought into this theory; hook, line, and sinker. Is it any wonder he acts likes like a lunatic now that he finally has Rachel? Sure, the fear of losing her has rendered him blind to his shortcomings.
Surprisingly, Ross was – and still is – one of the show’s most popular characters.  As David Schwimmer’s character over the course of the show’s ten-year run. On a break or not.

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