Ah, yes. Ross Geller. He truly was a pig ahead of his time.
Welcome to another edition of “Lizzie talks about Friends because they can’t seem to fixate on sitcoms relevant to their own life.” Except, you know what? I can talk about all the ways that it does or doesn’t happen to be relevant to my own experiences.
Oh, how times have changed since the olden days of … 2004.
No, I’m serious. If you watch Friends now, you’ll soon see how many of the jokes are … off. Some of them are a little weird. Some of them aren’t culturally relevant anymore. And plenty of them remind me that even though I find Chandler funny, my trans ass is glad I never met him. Dear god.
I’ve spoken before about how Friends is a show full of assholes (not that that isn’t the point, but more on that another time), but today I’m getting specific and talking about the person attached to just one of those assholes: Ross Geller.
I don’t know how relevant the inspiration for this post will seem, but I hope you’ll bear with me for a second while I rewind.
So, if you’ve been around the internet recently, you might have spotted stories about the fact that millennials ain’t going to Hooters. (What a shame.) Now there are jokes about it being because “millennials aren’t into boobs” but also, apparently that’s the reason. Which totally sounds like all the millennials that I know…
Also. You know. I think the reason is that Hooters is an embarrassment and should never have existed in the first place. Even 16-year-old staff members reported getting treated as sexually as the adults. But if you go reading around all the Twitter discussions on it, you’ll find some “interesting” ideas about how Hooters should restrategize to attract millennials, and one prevalent idea seems to be that the waitresses should listen to the patrons’ woes.
And you know what? That’s the millennial Hooters. Women doing men’s emotional labour for them. Which, alongside my comment that men should get therapists with the rest of us, brings me back to Ross.
It’s no secret that Ross is a pretty emotionally pent-up dude. He doesn’t have the communication skills to handle the “We were on a break” fiasco like an adult, nor can he stand to see his son playing with a Barbie. (Or hire a man to look after his daughter … like Ross isn’t a man looking after his daughter.)
Ross is considered to be the nice guy in Friends, while Joey is the douche. And sure, Joey’s more obvious with it. He more obviously mistreats women and holds other men to unfair standards of masculinity. But aside from being a pig, Joey’s the same thing that everyone else in the show is: An exaggerated character with over the top traits.
Ross’s exaggerated traits are to do with how geeky and socially awkward, but the side effect of this is that he’s been left with some unfortunate and uncomfortable traits. Ross, too, mistreats women. He’s unfaithful, disregarding, belittling. He, too, holds men to ridiculous standards of masculinity. (See above.) But he’s a lot subtler about all the ways in which he’s an asshole and a creep because it’s not one of the traits played up for comedy.
At least I know now why he makes me uncomfortable now, though I didn’t when I was younger.
Just go ahead and pay attention to the way that Ross behaves. He feels entitled to enter women’s apartments. He continues to mock Rachel after they’ve had a child together. Trust me. When women are on apps like Tinder, they aren’t dodging men like Joey. They’re dodging men like Ross.