Ross is the archetypical self-proclaimed self-proclaimed manipulator, selfish, and disrespectful. “nice guy” who, on closer inspection, isn’t actually nice at all.
It’s not uncommon to hear Friends viewers mention how much they dislike Ross, and there are a lot of reasons behind that. Friends has maintained its place in pop culture even though it is getting old. One source of much of the show’s outdated humor is in the self-proclaimed “nice guy”Ross Gellar, when viewed through a modern lens, is often neither funny or nice.
Friends ran for 10 seasons and lasted a whole decade. It was one the most loved shows of the 1990s. Friends is instantly recognisable, joining the ranks of classic American comedy shows like Frasier or Seinfeld. Unfortunately, while a lot of the humor in Friends is timeless, there’s no shortage of jokes which have aged rather poorly. Some prominent examples are the near-constant barrage of heteronormativity and gender roles, the running joke about fatphobia and body shaming which was Monica’s entire backstory, and much of the humor in Ross’s character.
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Ross is a great example of a self proclaimed “expert” “nice guy”. He is incredibly self-absorbed, disrespectful of others, and insistent on getting his way. There are many reasons why he causes trouble for viewers. In fact, Ross’s storylines in Friends are seemingly the origin of phrases like “friend zone”And “not all men”These have been used online by men with the same entitlement issues as Ross to weaponize them. Ross’ storylines in the show often revolve around this core characterization, with him often becoming manipulative in order to get what he wants. In many ways, his behavior is a prime example of toxic masculinity – he constantly attempts to prove himself as masculine and dominant, even when there’s utterly no need for him to do so. From dating his student to repeatedly telling Rachel, the results are shocking. “we were on a break”, tend to make everything worse for himself as well as for those around him.
This need to assert dominance is a core part of Ross’s character and, while there are some moments where this is genuinely funny if somewhat cringe-inducing, there are many more where he simply comes off as mean-spirited and deeply unlikable. Ross’s constant sense of superiority makes it easy to belittle his friends and to patronize them. Rachel is the one he does this most, often shaming her accomplishments. The worst part is, he very often doesn’t notice he’s doing this. Ross is too self-important to notice how he insults his friends and too determined to get his way.
Ross’s biggest problem is his inability to change much of his original character. All the others grow, find relationships, chase their life goals, and become better versions of themselves. Ross, on the contrary, ends the show the same way he began it. He is obsessed with Rachel and determined get what he wants at any cost. This ends with Rachel giving up on her dream job to stay with Ross, even though the preceding 10 seasons have shown Ross and Rachel’s relationship to be toxic even at the best of times. He gets what is best for him, and he does not have to change.
Friends will be remembered for its place in history. It is filled with positive and optimistic messages. Because it focuses on adulthood, there will always be a core group of people who enjoy the book. FriendsThey resonate with them. Unfortunately, the message of Ross Gellar’s character is an uncomfortable one. It should be a warning to all friends that Ross can be belligerent and manipulative.
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About the Author
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Xan Indigo is a science-fiction and urban fantasy author and renegade astrophysicist. They enjoy good stories, bad movies, wild ideas, and can also be found on Twitter and Instagram under @XanIndigo.
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