This Friends Arc Was Too Much Even For Cast. So Why Did Creators Still Go With It?

This Friends Arc Was Too Much Even For Cast. So Why Did Creators Still Go With It?
Image credit: NBC

In fact, the infamous creative decision made sense.


  • Over the years, Friends has amassed a massive fan base who love revisiting the show time and again.
  • But there is at least one storyline that has not sat well with many viewers, and was shocking even to the cast.
  • The creators' decision to include this arc had a very specific purpose, and it served that purpose admirably.

Friends has cemented its place in TV history with a fan base that keeps on growing. And it's not hard to see why: the jokes still land, the characters feel like old, dear friends, and the group dynamic is as captivating as ever.

But even the most die-hard fans can agree that there are a few storylines that miss the mark and could easily be axed from the sitcom. One such arc that stands out is the romantic shenanigans between Joey and Rachel that enrolled in Seasons 8-10.

The Joey-Rachel Romance

If you're wondering how in the world this questionable arc managed to stretch across three seasons, you're not alone. It's the kind of thing that Friends fans tend to block out of their minds.

This Friends Arc Was Too Much Even For Cast. So Why Did Creators Still Go With It? - image 1

It all kicked off in Season 8 when Joey caught feelings for Rachel after a casual date. It was especially dramatic and disturbing because Rachel was carrying Ross' baby at the time. And let's face it, deep down, we all knew that Ross and Rachel were meant to be together.

Joey's feelings grew stronger and stronger (in fact, it was his first real brush with love), and he finally confessed. But Rachel didn't reciprocate. It wasn't until Season 9, with baby Emma already in the picture, that she began to see her food-loving womanizer of a friend in a new romantic light. The season finale kiss between the characters became the cue for the collective panic among fans.

In Season 10, the couple decided to try dating for a full week before realizing they were better off as friends. And let's just say the sighs of relief from viewers and cast alike were practically audible.

Cast Doubts & Creative Decisions

Yes, this storyline felt like too much for the cast as well. Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc didn't mince words in countless interviews, saying that the romantic arc between their characters was doomed from day one.

'I just don't think Joey and Rachel could have made it. I think it was more physical than emotional with them,' Aniston once told Elle.

More than that, when the scripts with the romance scenes landed on the actors' tables, they were more than a little freaked out.

'It felt wildly inappropriate,' LeBlanc told Vanity Fair. 'I was like, “That's Rachel. She was supposed to be with Ross. Wait a minute.” Everybody got super-defensive about the whole thing.'

The actor vividly remembered that moment when they all stormed into David Crane and Marta Kauffman's office, voices raised and concerns pouring out. But the creators remained steadfast, determined to venture into this uncharted territory. Why? Because they wanted to shake things up for the characters.

'Yes, it's absolutely wrong. That's why we have to do it,' they told actors. 'You can't just keep spinning the same plates.'

And they weren't mistaken. After numerous seasons, plotlines and twists, even a comedy show has to raise the stakes or viewers will start to walk away. Love it or hate it, the Joey-Rachel romantic storyline certainly served its purpose of stirring the pot for the Manhattan gang and the fans.

And believe it or not, there's still a small group of supporters out there who argue that Rachel and Joey make a better couple than Rachel and Ross.

Sources: Elle, Vanity Fair.

Did you like the Rachel-Joey pairing better than Rachel-Ross?