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11th Aug 2021

Why we’re all dreaming of Ross and Rachel – whether they’re dating IRL or not

Adam Bloodworth

Jen hovering around the kitchen, glass in hand, nailing the perfect seasoning. David drifts in as Jen admires his beaming smile and wide quiff as he tops up her glass. They put on The Rembrandts, “I’ll Be There For You” and dance ironically as Jen plates up. David notices one of Jen’s beachy locks has gone wayward and fallen into the food, but he plucks it out before she notices.

This is David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston in 2021: an actual couple, seventeen years after Jennifer’s character Rachel got off the plane in the Friends finale, putting Ross and Rachel together romantically at last. 

Spoiler alert: this is probably not an accurate representation of the two IRL. After Closer published a source revealing that David and Jennifer have started dating in-real-life – causing heads to explode on every continent – David’s rep boringly chipped in this morning, telling HuffPost UK that the two aren’t a real couple.

But does it really matter whether Jen and David have united or not? My feeling is that our love for Ross and Rachel goes beyond the actual actors themselves. 

The Ross and Rachel arc epitomises the ultimate romantic ideal, and over these past eighteen months many of us have had time to think more about the people and moments we miss from our pasts.

Ross and Rachel aren’t the only triggers from the entertainment world that have made us think. This year also birthed the reunion of another iconic noughties couple, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, who have been papped together 17 years after they split in a reunion that feels as surreal and unbelievable as Jennifer and David’s.

Judging by the social media response, we cannot get enough of these iconic pairings reuniting. And they have given us essential material with which to dream, as we think about our own lives.

Under the pandemic, many of us have felt anxiety over our single status, and as Vox wrote about in this article, have wondered about missed opportunities.

I know that at points under the sh*tshow of the past 18 months I’ve certainly had more time to cast my mind back to past relationships. To wonder what might have been as I’ve sat alone, watching Friends reruns and eating the type of carbs Jennifer and David would shriek at the sight of.

(Of course, they’d go for the lobster. In our Ross and Rachel romantic dreams, David would dutifully kill it, and Jen would prepare a pleasant peppered salad to pair.)

Who knows whether Jen and David got off the plane in real life. Who knows whether David’s actually been rocking up with the LA equivalent of a Waitrose meal box and a good bottle of wine. It’s not inconceivable – during the Friends reunion, David revealed that the two had fancied one another in the early days of the show.

But judging by the tens of thousands of tweets shipping their union, I’m not the only one wondering if Jen and David have been on an even longer ‘break’ than their on-screen characters and will actually become a thing.

Wouldn’t that be lovely? Either way, it makes me think that perhaps those in my past could reoccur in my life again. Or at least, gives me the thought that the types of relationships in my future might be surprising and unexpected.