Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green
|First appearance||"The Pilot"
|Last appearance||"The Last One, Part 2"
|Created by||David Crane
|Portrayed by||Jennifer Aniston|
|Occupation||Waitress at Central Perk
Assistant at Fortunata Fashions
Buyer and personal shopper
(at Bloomingdale's [seasons 3–5])
Executive at Polo Ralph Lauren
|Family||Dr. Leonard Green
(1999; divorced, 2004–present; remarried)
(daughter, with Ross; b. May 16, 02)
(stepson, via Ross)
(sister in law, via Ross)
(brother in law, via Monica)
Rachel Karen Green is a fictional character on the NBC Situation comedy, Friends, portrayed by Jennifer Aniston. Aniston received an Emmy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Golden Globe Award for her portrayal. In June 2010, Entertainment Weekly named her one of the 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years. AOL also named Rachel the 23rd Most Memorable Female TV Character. Her relationship with Ross Geller was included in TV Guide's list of the best TV couples of all time, as well as Entertainment Weekly's "30 Best 'Will They/Won't They?' TV Couples".
Rachel Green's personality evolves during the series from a spoiled egotist to a less self-centered and overall more likeable character. She is seen as slightly promiscuous, having had approximately fifteen sexual partners by the end of the series. It was implied that she had lost her virginity in the back of a van, before she had reached the tenth grade. It is also revealed in the seventh season that Rachel reached puberty at a very early age, giving her breasts that were developed to the extent of a fourteen-year-old girl's by the age of ten.
During the pilot Rachel was being financially supported by her father and planning on marrying an orthodontist who would become the sole source of her income. After breaking off their engagement Rachel cuts the credit cards her father has given her in half, leaving herself broke. Rachel finds work as a waitress at Central Perk café but at times is shown taking long breaks to sit with her friends and regularly gets orders confused. In the third season, with encouragement from Joey and Chandler, Rachel resigns at Central Perk to pursue a career in fashion. Joey then finds her a job with Fortunata Fashions as a personal assistant. Later that season, she finds work as an assistant buyer at the Department store Bloomingdale's with the help of colleague, Mark. Unfortunately after Mark resigns and her boss Joanna dies, she is demoted to Personal Shopper. She then leaves to start a career at Ralph Lauren in "The One With Rachel's Inadvertent Kiss" as the coordinator of the women's collection. Ralph Lauren is impressed by her work and in "The One With Rachel's Assistant" she is promoted to merchandising manager, a position allowing her an assistant, Tag Jones, who she has an affair with although she could never recall his last name.
In the final episodes of the last season, Rachel is fired from Ralph Lauren when her boss overhears her job interview with Gucci, but is offered a lucrative job in Paris with Louis Vuitton by her ex-colleague, Mark. Upset by Rachel's impending move to Paris, Ross, through bribery, manages to convince Rachel's previous boss at Ralph Lauren to rehire her and pay her a higher salary than the offer in Paris. Initially, Rachel declines this offer and decides to work with Louis Vuitton. However, eventually, she cancels her plans for Paris after realizing she still has feelings for Ross.
She is constantly mocked because her focus on vanity comes at the expense of domestic skills or common knowledge. (After working at Central Perk for two and a half years Gunther forces Rachel to retrain, because she does not know basic knowledge such as where to stack trays.) Rachel also received plastic surgery on her nose, which she claims was due to a deviated septum. However, it was strongly implied to be purely for vanity since her sister Amy once asked: "Do you ever worry that Emma's going to get your real nose?" regarding Rachel's daughter, Emma and in flashback episodes she is shown with an unattractively large nose.
"The Rachel" haircut
The Rachel haircut, also called The Rachel, is a bouncy, square layered hairstyle Aniston wore on Friends and named after her character. Aniston disliked the hairstyle and did not keep it, but the cut was widely imitated and is still popular.
Aniston's hairstylist, Chris McMillan, created the cut while he was stoned, and she wore the hairstyle during Friends' first and second seasons. It immediately became very popular among women as "The Rachel", and has become associated with the character of Rachel Green. In the second season episode "The One With the Lesbian Wedding", Rachel complains that her overbearing mother (Marlo Thomas) is trying to pattern her own life after hers, lamenting, "Couldn't she just copy my haircut?"
"The ugliest haircut I've ever seen"
Despite her association with the cut, Aniston disliked the hairstyle:
Have there been disasters? I think that's a very relative term with hair. Let's say there have been moments I'd rather not relive, like that whole Rachel thing. I love Chris [McMillan, her hairstylist], and he's the bane of my existence at the same time because he started that damn Rachel, which was not my best look. How do I say this? I think it was the ugliest haircut I've ever seen. What I really want to know is, how did that thing have legs? Let's just say I'm not a fan of short, layered cuts on me personally, so I don't love revisiting that particular era.
At the beginning of the third season (1996) Aniston switched to a more traditional long-haired look, but The Rachel remains popular. In 2010, six years after the show's end, a survey found the cut as the most popular among British women. The 2011 advertisement Jennifer Aniston Goes Viral includes a talking parrot that says to Aniston, "Rachel, I love your hair". In the Two and a Half Men episode "A Possum on a Chemo" Walden Schmidt (Ashton Kucher) is told by his girlfriend Zoey (Sophie Winkleman) to lose "The Jennifer Aniston Hairdo." In The Simpsons episode "How I Wet Your Mother", in Homer's dream, Homer says he wants "his" hair back, and when he makes his hair grow, Marge tells him "That's not your hair, it's Jennifer Aniston's from Friends."
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2013)|
Rachel's most prominent relationship throughout the series is with Ross, Monica's older brother. When she moves to New York City in the pilot, Ross has been obsessed with her since his high school years. Although both Joey and Chandler know this, Rachel, Monica and Phoebe are oblivious until (slightly after Ross left to China on a work excursion) Chandler reveals Ross's feelings for Rachel. Ross tries several times to tell Rachel his feelings for her, but is derailed by her ex-fiance, Barry, and Paolo (played by Cosimo Fusco), an Italian man she meets during an electrical blackout, and Ross, unsure of himself, gives up on the idea of having a romantic relationship with Rachel.
After Chandler's bombshell and a moment of self-discovery, Rachel realizes she has romantic feelings for Ross and decides (assisted by her friends) to approach him. Unfortunately, while in China, Ross became in a committed relationship with Julie. After her attempts to reveal her feelings for him fail, she decides that moving on is her only option. Her constant ramblings of Ross, while on eating dinner with another man, lead her to leave a drunken message on his answering machine, telling him her feelings. On hearing this, Ross and Rachel kiss and he ends his relationship with Julie to be with Rachel. Things are going very well until she finds a list of pros and cons he wrote in order to help him choose between her and Julie, and is deeply hurt and distressed by his assessment of her, and as a result ends their relationship. Ross begs for forgiveness but Rachel is still hurt and turns him down until Monica finds a box of high school mementos, including a video of Monica and Rachel getting ready for their high school prom. In the video, Rachel's date is late and Ross, wearing his father's tuxedo, is about to surprise her by offering to be her date. Just as he is about to ask, her date arrives. Ross watches, heartbroken, as Rachel leaves. Touched by this unknown romantic gesture, Rachel forgives him and they resume dating. They remain together for around a year before Ross's jealousy of her colleague, Mark, and his obsessive behavior leads Rachel to suggest taking "a break". Ross assumes this means they have ended their relationship. Depressed, he drinks large amounts of alcohol and succumbs to the advances of another woman, which results in him and the other woman having sexual intercourse. Rachel finds out, and after a bitter argument, she ends their relationship. From then on, the two have an on/off relationship.
Rachel's feelings towards Ross blossom again when he announces his engagement to Emily, niece of Rachel's boss at Bloomingdale's. Ross and Emily decide to get married in London only one month after getting engaged and makes Rachel panic. She then proposes marriage to her then-boyfriend of four dates, Joshua, but he refuses and they break up soon after. Rachel claims she cannot attend the wedding because she has too much work but later tells Monica and Phoebe that watching them marry would be too painful and admits that she thought she and Ross would get back together again one day. However, she changed her mind and flew to London to tell Ross that she loved him but sees him and Emily kissing. She gave them her blessing instead but Ross accidentally says Rachel's name at the altar. Following the wedding, Emily stays in London and tells Ross she will only return if he promises never to see Rachel again. He agrees, initially, but then tells her that he can't and their marriage ends. When the gang visits Joey in Las Vegas, Ross and Rachel get drunk in their hotel room and marry in a Las Vegas wedding chapel. Upon sobering up and realizing what happened, Rachel demands an annulment. Ross reluctantly agrees but at the last minute doesn't, but tells Rachel he did. Rachel is furious when she finds out but forgives him when she realizes his reasons for that decision, Ross simply didn't want to be known as the guy who had three divorces. The two are friends during the next season except for a brief kiss and a failed "bonus night" opportunity on the night of Monica and Chandler's engagement. However, they have a one night stand a few weeks before the wedding. During their wedding, Rachel is revealed to be pregnant and in the following days Ross is revealed to be the father. During the pregnancy, Rachel moves in with Ross so they could raise their child together. When Rachel goes into labor, Judy - Ross's mother - gives him her mother's engagement ring urging him to marry Rachel so their child would have a real family. Ross is hesitant but after watching the birth of Emma, he almost considers it. However, Rachel accepts a proposal from Joey mistakenly and causes Ross to have doubts over the possibility of a relationship. Raising Emma together seems to be a joy at first but Ross's continued jealousy over one of Rachel's co-workers puts a rift in their relationship and Rachel moves out. However, their friendship and desire to be good parents cause them to remain good friends.
After Rachel is fired by Ralph Lauren, she gets a job in Paris, devastating Ross. At her going-away party, she says goodbye to everyone except Ross. This upsets him and after he confronts her about it, Rachel tells him that saying goodbye would upset her too much as their history would make moving too hard for her. To give her a reason to stay, he kisses her and they sleep together. The next morning, Ross thinks they are back together and is stunned when she says "It was the perfect way to say goodbye". After moping throughout the day thinking he's lost her, he chases her to the airport and admits he loves her and pleads for her to come back with him. Rachel still gets on the plane. When he returns home heartbroken, Ross finds a message on his answering machine and on playing it, he hears Rachel telling him she loves him too and what a mistake she's made and has to get off the plane but is interrupted by flight attendants when the line cuts off, leaving Ross wondering if she got off. Just then a voice speaks "I got off the plane". It's Rachel and Ross rushes to her. The two share a kiss, rekindling their romantic relationship.
All of the Friends season finales with a cliffhanger (Seasons 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9) involved Ross and Rachel.
Ross and Rachel's daughter is born at the end of Season 8. After struggling to find a name for her, Rachel decides on Emma after Monica tells her that she wants to name her future daughter Emma, but allows Rachel to use the name. Rachel proved to be a protective mother. Emma is also used in humorous ways such as Phoebe and Rachel submitting her into a beauty pageant without Ross's permission, and her 1st birthday party results in all of the friends leaving, but returning in the end. At first, Emma lives with Rachel and Ross in his apartment, but moved in with Joey after Rachel and Ross have a disagreement. The role is played by twins.
Joey and Rachel are very good friends and shared an apartment after Phoebe's was destroyed in a fire. Joey develops romantic feelings for Rachel, and Ross - despite Rachel currently being pregnant with his daughter - gives his blessing but Rachel unfortunately does not feel the same way. However, this changes a year later, with Rachel telling Phoebe about her feelings for Joey before telling him later. Initially, he tells her they cannot be together because of Ross but changes his mind when he sees Ross kissing Charlie, his ex-girlfriend. Ross later walks in on the two kissing and, although at first he has trouble accepting it, he tells Joey he is happy for them. The two date for a while but have trouble when it comes to consummating their relationship, unable to get past the knowledge that it is their close friend touching them, and a conversation with Chandler about how easy it was for him and Monica to become more than friends helped Joey and Rachel realize that they were better off as they were.
Monica and Rachel have been friends since the age of six. In their high school years, it is revealed that Rachel was a popular cheerleader with a string of boyfriends, with Monica as her less attractive, overweight best friend. After this, it is assumed they lost contact until they meet again in the pilot. A chance encounter, revealed in a flashback, shows that Monica didn't expect to become close friends with Rachel again, with her remarking: "Ten bucks says I'll never see that woman again in my life."
During the time they lived together, the pair coexist in relative harmony, despite their opposing personality types, most notably when concerned with household chores. Monica is portrayed to be extremely uptight and compulsive, whereas Rachel is shown to seldom do chores and be unaware of where items such as the vacuum cleaner are kept. Despite these tensions, the two display a true affinity for each other. In Season Two, when Ross starts dating Julie, Rachel is shown to be extremely upset about their relationship but is equally devastated by the possibility of losing her friendship with Monica to Julie. While crying, Rachel says: "She's actually stealing you!" This is the first time that the depth of the relationship between Monica and Rachel is shown. Their living situation lasts until Chandler moves in with Monica and Rachel's moving out drew the two women to tears. Their relationship mirrors that of sisters, and the two grow even closer once Rachel has Emma as Monica becomes her aunt due to Ross being the father. Like with Phoebe, Monica and Rachel have kissed (offscreen).
Rachel's other best friend. Phoebe first met Rachel in the pilot episode when Rachel leaves Barry and comes to live with Monica.
In a season 5 episode "The One With The Kips", Phoebe and Rachel consider starting a new group of friends with Joey after Emily (Ross's current wife) demands that Ross doesn't see Rachel anymore. Rachel says "We can start a new group, you and me, we're the best ones," to which Phoebe responds "Okay. But let's try to get Joey." This never happened as Ross could not go without seeing Rachel and the group remained as it was.
From seasons 6–7, Rachel and Phoebe lived together after Chandler moved into Monica's apartment. In "The One Where Ross Dates A Student", Phoebe and Rachel's apartment catches fire, causing Phoebe to temporarily live with Monica and Rachel to live with Joey. Later on, in "The One with the Holiday Armadillo", the apartment is fixed and Phoebe and Rachel decide to move back but the repair work left them with only one bedroom, so Phoebe lives there alone while Rachel stays living with Joey.
In an early episode, Phoebe and Rachel go to get tattoos together. Though Rachel ends up getting a heart tattooed on her hip, Phoebe does not get the intended lily (for her mother) on her shoulder because she 'didn't know they did it with needles'. Rachel tried to convince her to get the tattoo, but the artist barely touched her with the needle before she ran off screaming. She now has a 'blue freckle' which she claims is 'the earth as seen from a great great distance or as (her) mother sees it from .heaven'.
Phoebe and Rachel have a very strong relationship throughout the series, despite occasional and humorous squabbles over things like jogging, massages, Pottery Barn furniture and an alleged lesbian encounter Rachel had in college (which Phoebe refused to believe). Like with Monica, Rachel and Phoebe have kissed (onscreen).
Although it appeared that Rachel and Chandler met for the first time in the pilot episode, they had actually met before, in flashback episodes. They met for the first time in 1987 when Ross introduced them, initially at the Gellers' house and then again at a party at Ross and Chandler's college. At the party, Chandler and Rachel kissed briefly (but it was revealed that Chandler only kissed Rachel to get back at Ross).
In 1993, they had a chance meeting met at a bar that was closed down to make room for Central Perk. Chandler overhears Rachel talking to some friends about how she wants to have one last night of meaningless sex before she marries Barry and that she wants to have it with the first guy she lays her eyes on, which Chandler then makes sure is him. They didn't hook up but Rachel did fantasize about him, regretting not sleeping with him but it was too late. This was shown in the Season 3 episode "The One With The Flashback."
At the start of the show, Rachel and Chandler crossed paths again in 1994, when Rachel, having just left Barry, goes to Central Perk, looking for Monica. During the series, Rachel and Chandler's relationship grows, and they are close friends, often consoling and confiding in one another. In particular, Chandler comforts Rachel in Season 2 when her parents are going through a divorce, relating to her his own experiences of his parents' divorce when he was a child. On one particular occasion, they share a stolen cheesecake and conceal it from the others. Particularly in earlier seasons, they go out to lunch together a few times. The two have also set each other up on dates, although the results were mixed; Chandler's brief relationship with Rachel's boss, Joanna, ended because she handcuffed him to a chair in her office, while his attempt to set her up on a date with a colleague went wrong when he claimed she only wanted a fling but later told the guy she was looking for a serious relationship. In Season 2, Chandler, being the child of divorced parents, is the only friend able to empathize with Rachel when her parents are unable to be in the same room on her birthday. Before Rachel leaves for Paris in season 10, they share a strong private moment and Chandler tells her that he loves her, will miss her and is sad that she's leaving, to which Rachel responds tearfully "I love you, too."
Like the other main characters, Rachel has slight problems within her family.
Sandra Green (Marlo Thomas), her mother, can be quite domineering and unpleasant without going overboard. She can also be quite harsh with her opinions (such as, for instance, when she suggested moving into Ross's apartment after Emma's birth and saying that his "dinosaur things" belonged in the garbage). It is implied that Rachel was very like Mrs. Green before she turned things around and started a life in the city, and it is revealed that Rachel actually feared becoming like her mother. However they bond after Rachel ran away from her marriage, whereas Mrs. Green actually married "her Barry." During her first visit, she says that Rachel's life is what she wants.
Rachel has a more difficult relationship with her father, Dr. Leonard Green (Ron Leibman), a harsh, sarcastic disciplinarian who always has to have his own way. Nevertheless, he spoils his daughters (as shown in one episode when Rachel reveals that her father bought her "her own boat" to cheer her up after her "pony was sick"). When she runs out of her wedding, he cuts her off. Their relationship improves after she makes something of herself on her own, however; in "The One With Rachel's Other Sister", he says that Rachel is the only daughter he is proud of. He charges into Ross's apartment when hearing about the pregnancy, demanding Ross marry her.
Rachel's parents married for the sake of money; according to Rachel, they barely even spoke except when they argued. They divorced in Season 2. They could not be in the same room together, as shown when the Friends throw Rachel two birthday parties; one with Rachel's mother in Monica's apartment and one with her father in Joey and Chandler's. Rachel also has two sisters, Jill, (Reese Witherspoon) and Amy (Christina Applegate), with whom she has a typical sibling-rivalry relationship; when they were younger, they would constantly pull pranks on each other, and in the episode "The One with the Inappropriate Sister", Rachel admits that she does not like either of them. Jill is supposedly her "favorite" sister, despite being extremely spoiled. During her visit when their father decides to financially cut her off, Jill starts dating Ross to get back at Rachel (only for Ross to end it because he wanted to be with Rachel). Unlike Jill, who found Ross "cute, but nerdy," Amy does not even recognize him, and believes he is a falafel seller. In spite of her tactless nature, it is also revealed that Amy is the "one who bit [Rachel]" as questioned by Phoebe in the Thanksgiving episode in which Amy comes to spend the holidays with the Friends. Rachel isn't as close to Amy as she is to Jill. When Amy visits during Emma's first Thanksgiving, she only says "Hi" and tells her she came by to borrow a hair straightener. She says how "Emmett" is cute and then realizes the baby is a girl. Amy also believes that she is Rachel's "favorite" sister and reveals that she never liked Jill. Amy also had Emma's ears pierced, angering Ross and Rachel.
In "The One with Rachel's Phone Number," some guys in a bar live in her grandmother's building. Her grandma's name is Ida Green, and the men's affectionate nickname for her is "Spuds". Rachel says that she has "no sense of personal space, kinda smells like chicken, looks like a potato – that's my bubbe!".
Some inconsistency in the spelling of the surname has led to confusion as to the correct spelling. On Emma's first birthday, the cake box has "Green" written on the side. The credits of any episode where her parents appeared list their last name as "Green" and on the Warner Bros. Friends Official Website, the biography on Jennifer Aniston states her character's name as Rachel Green. However, in certain episodes, it is seen to be spelled "Greene", such as when her name was written on an invitation sent out by Ross and a subsequent RSVP, or when her name is written on her office door at Bloomingdale's.
In the episode "The One With Joey's New Girlfriend", Rachel tells Gunther that her birthday is May 5 (her birthday is celebrated in various episodes in May). Her real birthdays were shown in the season 1 episode "The One Where Rachel Finds Out", the season 2 episode "The One With The Two Parties" and in the season 9 episode "The One With The Rats". However, in the season 7 episode "The One With Chandler's Dad", when Rachel is pulled over for speeding the police officer comments that she is an Aquarius when he sees the birthday on her license. This is inconsistent with a May 5 birthday, as that date would mean she is a Taurus.
There are some further inconsistencies. In 2001 ("The One Where They All Turn Thirty"), she celebrates her 30th birthday, implying a birth year of 1971. It is revealed in that episode that she is the youngest of the six friends, as the others had already turned 30 and were relating their birthdays. In the episode, she is wearing a shirt that has her supposed birthday on it (12–4), which is also inconsistent with the dates above.
Notes and references
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- Adam B. Vary (June 1, 2010). "The 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years: Here's our full list!". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- Potts, Kim (March 2, 2011). "100 Most Memorable Female TV Characters". AOL TV. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
- "Couples Pictures, Friends Photos - Photo Gallery: The Best TV Couples of All Time". TV Guide. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
- Bierly, Mandi; Fog, Henning (May 13, 2012). "30 Best 'Will They/Won't They?' TV Couples | Photo 24 of 30". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- Moeslein, Anna (January 4, 2013). "Wanna Know Exactly How Many People Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler, and Rachel Have Slept With on Friends? (Of Course You Do!)". Glamour. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
- Bernhardt, Austin (January 4, 2013). "Someone calculated how many people the Friends slept with". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
- "The One Where Rachel Quits"
- Oldenburg, Ann (2011-01-18). "Jennifer Aniston tells 'Allure' she hated her Rachel hair". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
- Takeda, Allison (2013-05-10). "Jennifer Aniston's Stylist Was Stoned When He Gave Her the "Rachel" Cut". Us Weekly. Retrieved 2013-05-30.
- "Jennifer Aniston Biography". People. Time Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-04.
- Roche, Elisa (May 26, 2010). "JENNIFER ANISTON'S A CUT ABOVE FOR 11 MILLION WOMEN". Daily Express. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
- Weiss, Shari (March 8, 2011). "Jennifer Aniston 'sex tape': Actress tries comedy and sex appeal to promote smartwater viral video". Daily News (New York, NY). Retrieved March 18, 2011.
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