For 10 seasons, David Schwimmer — who has a stunning net worth — played paleontologist Ross Geller on “Friends.” The role earned him fame, a hefty paycheck, and two Emmy nominations. It may be surprising, though, that Schwimmer initially turned down the part.
“I had a miserable experience on my first job as a series regular just before ‘Friends,’ about a year and a half before. Luckily, that show, we only made 12 episodes and then it was canceled,” he said, per Entertainment Tonight. “When you sign up for a show, you’re committing to five or six years of your life. And, at that point, I thought, ‘This is horrible. I feel like it’s a prison sentence.’ … It just wasn’t fun. So when that show was canceled, thank goodness, I was like, ‘I’m never doing another sitcom.'”
Luckily, the actor changed his mind and went on to become a part of television history. Now, as the “Friends” reunion is set to premiere on HBO Max, fans are revisiting the show’s original episodes, and many critics have a lot to say about Ross and his behavior.
Ross Geller was a jealous boyfriend
Rachel Green’s big dream was to work in the fashion industry, so landing a job as a buyer at Bloomingdale’s was a huge deal for her. Instead of being happy for his girlfriend, Ross Geller became fixated on Rachel’s long work hours and her relationship with co-worker Mark, which was strictly professional. Yet Ross’s jealousy not only affected Rachel at work, but also drove a wedge between the couple. Rachel eventually suggested that maybe they should take a break, leading Ross to have a one-night stand with Chloe the copy girl. The debate over whether or not Ross and Rachel were really “on a break” still rages on between “Friends” fans. For Schwimmer, though, the answer is simple.
“People are so passionately divided about whether or not they were on a break,” he said on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (per Entertainment Tonight). “It’s not even a question. They were on a break.”
But Ross didn’t just show his jealous side with Rachel. When he dated college student Elizabeth, he went on spring break with her so she couldn’t meet other guys. Similarly, he was upset with his girlfriend Emily when she spent time with his ex-wife’s spouse, Susan, noted Screen Rant. Ross definitely didn’t show his positive attributes throughout his relationships.
Ross Geller's relationship with Elizabeth was inappropriate
In addition to his job as a paleontologist at (the fictional) Natural Museum of Prehistoric History, Ross Geller was also a professor at New York University (per CheatSheet). During Season 6, he dated one of his students, the much-younger Elizabeth Stevens. Although the relationship was against the school’s policy — and he knew he could lose his job over it — Ross decided to sneak around with Elizabeth. Alexandra Holden, the actress who played Elizabeth, remembers her audition for the show with mixed emotions.
“I got called in to do a ‘chemistry read’ with David Schwimmer. It was terrifying because the producers told me to come in looking ‘as hot as possible,'” she told The Guardian. “I didn’t know what to do with that information. It sent me into a tailspin. I stayed up all night trying to figure out what to wear … Now that I’m older, I wouldn’t be happy getting that message.”
Ross Geller was creepy with his cousin
Ross Geller has had plenty of awkward moments with the opposite sex. He got divorced from his ex-wife who turned out to be gay, he married spunky Brit Emily only to say the wrong name at the altar, and he even messed things up with Rachel (who’d he’d been in love with since high school), but his interaction with his cousin Cassie (played by Denise Richards) is beyond creepy.
When Cassie came to New York City for a visit, all of the friends were struck by her gorgeous looks. Ross, in particular, “is struck by how beautiful his younger cousin is but quickly realizes how inappropriate his thoughts about her are,” (per Netflix Life). While sipping wine during a movie night, Ross misread his cousin’s signals and actually leaned in to kiss her. Cassie was understandably freaked out, and it only got worse when Ross tried to explain his actions to her by admitting, “I haven’t had sex in a very long time.” The entire exchange, in retrospect, was far more creepy than it was funny and it certainly was not a good look for Ross.
Ross Geller wasn't very open-minded
When it came to being open-minded, Ross Geller had plenty of work to do. He panicked when his son Ben wanted to play with a Barbie doll, worrying that the boy wouldn’t grow up to be a “real man,” per Screen Rant. Ross even tried to force Ben to play with a G.I. Joe, but the child decided to stick with his favorite doll.
Ross also freaked out when Rachel decided to hire a male nanny to care for their daughter, Emma. Sandy the nanny, played by Freddie Prinze Jr., is sensitive and nurturing, but Ross couldn’t get past the fact that Sandy was a man, so he urged Rachel to fire him. Luckily, Rachel didn’t listen.
Ross isn’t entirely to blame for his behavior, though. According to Women’s Republic, “When [Ross] was a boy, his father berated him for not being more tough and sporty. This obviously stuck with Ross, leaving him to believe that the only way to be a real man was to be tough, to be in control, to be smart, to be, in short, all things masculine.” Ross was spotted, in flashback sequences to when he was a kid, playing with dolls and tea party sets — it’s clear that his childhood and the parental expectations that were placed on him had impacts on his own abilities as a father.
Ross Geller lied … a lot
From blaming Chandler Bing for smoking pot at his parents’ house to never telling then-girlfriend Mona that a pregnant Rachel Green was living with him, Ross turned lying to those around him into a sport. But the person he lied to the most, by far, was Rachel. Through the years of them dating, not dating, hating each other, and falling back in love over and over again, he failed to be truthful.
For example, Ross lied about his one-night stand with Chloe the copy girl and he covered up the fact that he held on to sex tape the two accidentally made. Want some more instances? Ross initially denied his role in the “I hate Rachel Green” club with high school pal Will (played by Brad Pitt), and he lied about actually read Rachel’s 18-page letter (front and back), which ruined their reconciliation (per Screen Rant). And let’s not forget the fact that Ross also hid his failure to annul his quickie Las Vegas marriage to Rachel from her. As Screen Rant pointed out, “It’s shocking that after this she trusts him to get back together with him in the finale.”
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