The Friends gang went through a ton of ups and downs throughout their 10 years together. From all the successes and failures, celebrations and arguments, love stories and breakups, in the end, the group really grew up in that unrealistically large New York City apartment.
While each person in the group had their own experiences, there was one that was focused on more than the others, at times. Rachel Greene, love her or hate her, started out in a pretty noticeable spotlight in comparison to the other friends. Rachel fans may agree or disagree, but it can be inferred that she is the actual star of the famous and widely-beloved show through the multiple times the plot was designed to be all about her.
10 Her Grand Entrance
Not only did she surprise the gang after several years of not seeing Monica, her old high school friend, but Rachel also abruptly showed up at Central Perk wearing her wedding dress. Having escaped her near marriage to Barry, the dentist, Rachel dramatically enters the room looking for a shoulder to cry on, or rather a shoulder to complain on.
None of the other friends were introduced in a similar, dramatic, attention-grabbing manner as Rachel was. Her entrance may have solidified her ongoing role as the unofficial main character of the show.
9 She Lived In The Show’s Main Setting
Rachel basically invited herself in to stay in the apartment where all the show’s magic happened. Fans will recall the pilot episode when she tells her father over the phone she guessed “she’d just stay here with Monica.” Many of Rachel’s most memorable scenes were in Monica’s apartment, including the main breakup scene with Ross.
When Rachel had to move out of the apartment, it was a sad sight for fans to see. Chandler and Monica obviously were going to live together once married, and the most courteous move for Rachel to have done was to move out. When she was in the process of leaving, it didn’t only upset Rachel, but it also upset Monica watching her close friend leave the spacious urban sanctuary they both lived in for so many years.
8 She Worked In Central Perk
Central Perk is where the rest of the story would take place when everyone wasn’t in the apartment. As the second location, Rachel worked here as her first job when she quit the well-to-do, spoiled life her parents gave her.
Rachel’s job gave her the ability to control the meeting place the gang always hung out in. While she wasn’t a manager, her job still let her oversee most of what was going on in their meeting place. This is also the place where she and Ross got together the first time after they both confessed their mutual feelings for each other.
7 Her Love Story With Ross
This is one very clear plot point that never ceased to disappoint. The fluctuating relationship that these two had was and continues to be a fan favorite, even holding a presence in so many memes with the whole “We Were On A Break” bit that every fan knows and loves.
Their relationship was called toxic by some and a favorite by others, but Rachel and Ross forged on, even when they weren’t together. When they weren’t together, their feelings for each other were still mentioned or hinted at. When they were together, Rachel became the unofficial star of the show because of how much the duo’s story influenced the whole friend group. Their happiness, sadness, and above all, their comical anger, was a huge focal point of the show.
6 Her (Almost) Moving To Paris
Rachel’s decision to (almost) move her and her daughter, Emma, to Paris was probably the biggest change in a character’s arc on the series, even with Monica and Chandler having children.
The choice to leave her friends and her home country was a huge milestone for Rachel and the show didn’t fail to highlight that. Starting out as the dependent and inexperienced little rich girl and ending as the independent, hard-working woman was exemplified in the finale when Rachel strongly moved forward with a career. When she was in the process of leaving the gang, the effects of her departure hit everyone in the group, but especially Ross (obviously).
5 Her Breakup With Ross Upset The Gang
That infamous scene that still makes viewers cry to this day hit the entire friend group like an oncoming train. Joey, Monica, Chandler, and Phoebe were all self-trapped in the next room whilst listening to Ross and Rachel’s big fight. They didn’t want the couple to know they were in the other room, so they all made the brilliant decision to remain imprisoned there and listened to the several-hour long argument between the dramatic pair.
The gang was rooting for the duo to work it out, but when they didn’t, the whole group wept and bowed their heads in sorrow over their friends’ breakup. Their reactions to the end of Ross and Rachel further emphasized just how much their relationship touched their hearts.
4 Monica Was Jealous Of Rachel’s Spotlight
Monica and Rachel’s friendship blossomed over the years, partially because the friendship went way back to their high school days. However, there was an episode when Monica coldly told Rachel off for stealing her “thunder,” as she put it.
While some fans still think that Monica’s reaction was a little too much, others find it justifiable because of how much Rachel’s relationship with Ross was always the one thing the gang would obsess over, and she wasn’t wrong. Monica bluntly said she didn’t want to talk about her feelings with Rachel, especially, and this just further shows why Rachel was technically the star, and Monica clearly felt that there was too much ignorance on Rachel’s part.
3 Rachel’s Pregnancy Affected Joey
Aside from Joey’s budding feelings for her, Rachel’s pregnancy won her a whole lot of attention in a different way, such as when Joey insisted that she stay with him. It was certainly a shock for fans to see the womanizer that Joey tended to be, want a baby to be in his apartment, along with the mother, of course. His gentler side emerged here as viewers noticed how wrapped up he had already become in helping Rachel get through her pregnancy.
He became a more involved roommate and friend in the long run when she gave birth to Emma. The fact that easy-going, comic relief Joey got more involved with Rachel (not to mention the fact that he eventually and literally fell in love with her) goes to show how she truly affected everyone around her.
2 She Basically Forced Everyone To Abandon Their Plans And Attend Emma’s Birthday
While there was some innocence with this because it was about a sweet little baby, Rachel’s insistence still went a long way. The push to make everyone attended the birthday party can be argued as slightly overdone because realistically, not everyone can drop what they’re doing and give someone what they want.
But this is exactly what Rachel tended to do, and the birthday party is a prime example. She forced everyone in her own persuasive way to go to the party and ultimately to give her what she wanted. It goes without saying that the group did this for their friend and the new baby, who wasn’t at fault at all, but Rachel’s constant drive to get what she wanted had a heavier impact on the group.
1 The 30th Birthday Episode Was All About Her
In retrospect, this episode was all about Rachel. The whole party for her and the entire ordeal with feeling the need to break up with her cute younger boyfriend just added to this. Aside from the fact that a birthday is to celebrate the one person, her emotions got the best of her and she couldn’t even properly thank her friends for what they gave her. Crying over Chandler’s intentional joke of a card was just the first area where Rachel’s conflict was the center of attention.
Her fixation on the “plan” she made to marry a guy and have exactly three kids with him before she turned 35 created a self-inflicted sob story depiction of her and pausing the party that the gang threw for her to dump Tag was just another way that Rachel stood out as the main character.
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