Throwback Thursday Recap! Friends: Ross and Rachel's Big Breakup

Our new weekly feature highlights our favorite old episodes of television

By Jenna Mullins Apr 05, 2013 1:00 AMTags
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To celebrate the Internet's obsession with Throwback Thursday, we will be recapping our favorite past episodes of television every week. Got a suggestion for what to recap next? Hit us up in the comments!

Were they or weren't they on a break? Could that question be any more important?

Just as we were finally getting used to Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) being together and in love forever and ever and ever, someone had to go and screw it up. You might blame Rachel for suggesting a break, or you might be mad at Ross for cheating on Rachel during this "break." If you're correct and not a total monster, you're mad at Ross. Sorry, but break or not, homeboy messed up.

Rachel comes over and they make up, with Chloe still in the freakin' apartment, and now all Ross has to do to keep Rachel is make sure no one knows he cheated on her. Time to erase the skank trail! Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) help their pal figure out the list of people who could spill Ross' secret to Rachel. What they should have done instead was punch Ross between the legs for doing this to Rachel, but hey, we're not his friend.

Ross scrambles to cover his ass, and he almost gets away with it, until one blond-headed wrench gets thrown into the system. Gunther finds out Ross cheated on Rachel, and because he's been in love with her almost from the moment he laid eyes on her hair's chunky layers, he of course told Rachel that her boyfriend was unfaithful. If anyone needs a good reference for the look of true pain and crippling betrayal, look no further than Rachel's face while she sits in the coffee house after getting the bad news.

Meanwhile, Monica (Courteney Cox) and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) are in Monica's room trying out a new at-home waxing system that apparently was put on this earth to torture their leg hairs one by one. They scream so loudly that Chandler and Joey come running to "save the day." And that is when Ross and Rachel come back to the apartment to have it out. Except they don't know they have an audience in Monica's room. It's interesting to hear Ross and Rachel breaking up with their closest friends' commentating the whole time, but then it just gets downright depressing when they realize that the Ross and Rachel might be beyond repair. 

Ross and Rachel go through every phase of your typical breakup: yelling, groveling, crying, denial, bargaining, more screaming, and more crying. And pizza! The comedy screeches to a halt, however, when Ross gets on his knees to beg Rachel not to leave him. He can't imagine his life without her heart, her face, etc. He's in pain, he's begging for mercy, he loves her. But Rachel is not having it:

"I can't. It doesn't matter what you say or what you do, Ross. It's just changed everything. Forever."

Knife, meet heart. And twist. Ross' fight for Rachel's forgiveness is in vain, and the couple we spent over two seasons rooting for is over in one episode. The build-up to this moment might have been over the course of several episodes, but this is the episode that will forever represent the end of Ross and Rachel in the hearts of fans.

It all ends with Rachel falling asleep on the couch and Monica covering her with a blanket, because she might not have her boyfriend anymore, but she sure as hell as her friend still. Also, Ross is awful.


Ross: "I thought our relationship was dead!"
Rachel: "Well, you sure had a hell of a time at the wake!"

"I'm all about the honesty stuff, yeah. But not the stuff that's gonna get you into trouble."—Joey

Phoebe: "For your information, this happens to be a pain like no man will ever experience."
Chandler: "Yeah, well I don't think you can make that statement, unless you've been kicked in an area that God only meant to be treated nicely

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Something tells us that "we were on a break" argument will pop up again down the line. Are you Ross' side or Rachel's? Head on down to the comments and let's have it out.