David Schwimmer as Dr. Ross Geller
|First appearance||"The Pilot"
|Last appearance||"The Last One, Part 2"
|Created by||David Crane
|Portrayed by||David Schwimmer|
|Nickname(s)||The Ross-A-Tron, Red Ross, Ross the Divorce Force, Red Lobster|
|Family||Jack Geller (father)
Judy Geller (mother)
Monica Geller (sister)
(1999: divorced; remarried: 2004-present)
(son with Carol; b. May 11, 95)
(daughter with Rachel; b. May 16, 02)
Chandler Bing (brother-in-law)
Erica Bing (niece)
Jack Bing (nephew)
Cousin Charlie (cousin)
Ross Eustace Geller, Ph.D. is a fictional character from the NBC sitcom Friends, portrayed by David Schwimmer. Ross is the smartest member of the group and is noted for his goofy, lovable demeanor. His relationship with Rachel Green 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".
Born on October 18th, Ross is a paleontologist and has a Ph.D. from Columbia University, frequently referring to himself as "Dr. Ross Geller." Ross is noted for being charming, lovelorn, witty and shy. Ross has had a crush on Rachel Green since high school and they have an on-again, off-again romantic relationship.
Born and raised on Long Island, New York, Ross is the older brother of Monica Geller. Ross and Monica are Jewish and see themselves as at least cultural Jews, with Ross taking a more active role in wanting to teach his son, Ben, about the faith.
The two siblings are extremely competitive as they tell the others that, as children, they used to take part in a football match for the Geller Cup every Thanksgiving. This ended in its sixth year after Monica "accidentally" broke Ross' nose. They also tell Rachel about how they used to wrestle as children and had various complications in their relationship, such as Ross having a recurring nightmare that the then-overweight Monica would eat him. They also came up with a dance in primary school called "The Routine", which later on allowed them to perform in a New Year's Eve TV broadcast.
Ross often comes into conflict with his close friend, Phoebe Buffay. His rationality and Phoebe's eccentricity leads to conflict over the theories of evolution, gravity and whether Phoebe's mother was reincarnated as a cat. It is also revealed that Phoebe once mugged Ross, (stealing a copy of the comic book Science Boy that Ross had created), when they were teenagers. The two are also roommates for a few weeks when a fire forces Phoebe to move into Chandler and Monica's apartment and Phoebe wants to give the newly engaged couple some privacy. Also on a "flashback" episode, they are alone at the bar and start kissing, but the moment quickly passes when Ross keeps bumping his head.
Ross's best friend since college is Chandler Bing. In college, they were in a band called Way/No Way and blamed him when he was caught smoking marijuana in college. Chandler is also Ross's brother-in-law after he marries Monica Geller. Ross is also close friends with Joey Tribbiani and helps him with movie and stage auditions. He kisses Joey once in order to help him practice a role as a gay man only to find out that he had already done the audition and didn't get the part. They also briefly try to cut Chandler out of their friendship group after he ignores them. Towards the end of the series, however, Ross and Joey are seen to become closer friends, often hanging out together after Chandler gets married.
Over the course of the show, Ross dates a considerable amount of women, and was married three times, and divorced three times. This became a running gag within the series.
Ross divorces his first wife, Carol, when she reveals that she is a lesbian and is having an affair with Susan Bunch, whom she met at the gym. He, Carol and Susan all learn to get along as Carol is expecting Ross's baby. Ross and Susan argue almost constantly right up to the birth of their son, Ben. When complaining that she has no official part in Ben's life, like Ross, Phoebe makes them realise that they would all be parents to Carol and Ross's son. Ross later helps Carol and Susan reconcile when they have an argument about Carol's parents' disapproval of their marriage.
While in China, Ross meets Julie (Lauren Tom), an old graduate school colleague. She first appears in the final scene of the season 1 finale. They start dating in Season 2 but break up after Ross discovers Rachel's feelings for him.
Rachel is Ross's most significant relationship in the series. His attraction to her is established early on; Ross met Rachel through his sister Monica, who was Rachel's best friend in high school. He developed an unrequited crush on her, but never followed through on it. After leaving college, Ross married Carol and had seemingly put his feelings for Rachel aside before he met her again in the pilot episode.
Their early relationship is marked by mutually exclusive affection for one another, with each realising their feelings for the other at inopportune moments, usually when one of them is first dating someone new. Rachel finally learns about Ross's feelings for her in the first season finale, "The One Where Rachel Finds Out". She goes to meet him at the airport but leaves brokenhearted when she sees him with Julie, the girl whom he met on a tour to China. She spends the first six episodes of the second season struggling with it, until admitting everything in a drunk-dial to Ross in "The One Where Ross Finds Out". Later, Ross breaks up with Julie to date Rachel, but in the process, makes a list of pros and cons of dating Rachel and Julie (at Chandler's suggestion). Rachel accidentally sees this and highly offended by this, she gets mad and dumps him. They reconcile in "The One with the Prom Video" when Monica discovers a video from her and Rachel's prom night. Wanting to comfort Rachel as her date was late, Ross's parents convinced him to take Rachel himself. Ross then goes and gets ready, only to find when he comes back down, that Rachel's date has arrived. Rachel is so moved by the romantic gesture that she kisses Ross and the two start dating.
Ross and Rachel argue during the third season, primarily due to Ross's insecurities that lead to a pattern of bizarre behaviour. After Rachel quits her job at the coffee house, Joey helps her get a job at a small fashion house but she is given all the menial tasks and is clearly unhappy about it. While telling Monica about it at her place of work, she meets a stranger named Mark who works at Bloomingdale's, and he tells her that there is a vacancy in his office and offers to get her an interview. He does this and she gets the job but due to working long hours, Rachel starts to become more distant. Unfortunately this makes Ross jealous as he, Chandler and Joey are convinced that Mark has an ulterior motive. Consequently he inundates Rachel with gifts, frequently calls her at work and even shows up at her office uninvited. This comes to a head in "The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break" when they argue bitterly about her new job and Mark so Rachel suggests they put their relationship on hold by "taking a break". Ross interprets as the relationship being over and storms out. While out with Chandler and Joey, he gets drunk and sleeps with another woman. In the next episode, "The One with the Morning After", Rachel finds out and ends the relationship altogether.
Despite this, Ross and Rachel continue to have an on-again off-again relationship. At the end of season 5, they get married in a drunken stupor in Vegas and get divorced the following season. During season 8, they have a baby girl together, Emma. Their relationship never lasts for more than a single night until the finale of the series, "The Last One", in which Phoebe drives Ross to the wrong airport, before causing a diversion, giving them time to get to the other airport. Ross reaches Rachel but stunned by what Ross tells her, she says that she is getting on the plane. Upset at this, Ross went back to his apartment, where he got a message from Rachel. In it she admits that she loves him too and was trying to get off the plane. When the message gets cut off, Ross panics (wondering the outcome), only to find Rachel standing behind him. They kiss and finally get back together for good. It is implied that the two re-marry after the series ends, however it is unknown whether or not they have more children.
In season 3, Phoebe sets Ross up with Bonnie, a formerly bald friend of hers (Christine Taylor) in "The One with the Ultimate Fighting Champion". Phoebe asks Rachel's permission, to which Rachel agrees, assuming that Bonnie is still bald. It turns out she's not bald anymore and is indeed very attractive now that she has long hair. During the final episode of the season, Rachel convinces her to shave her hair off again out of spite for Ross in "The One at the Beach". She makes a brief appearance at the beginning of "The One with the Jellyfish", when Ross decides to dump her and get back together with Rachel.
In season 4, episode 6, Ross falls for Cheryl (Rebecca Romijn) the paleontologist but he has to end his relationship with her when he realizes how much of a slob she is.
During the fourth season, Ross meets and falls in love with Emily Waltham (Helen Baxendale), a British woman visiting New York. They quickly develop a rapport, despite knowing that they will only be together while Emily is in New York and soon settle into a relationship. They continue for another month, only seeing each other whenever Emily visits New York, but the logistics of living on opposite sides of the Atlantic make having a relationship difficult until Ross spontaneously asks Emily to move in with him. Emily laughs this off as being too soon, saying it'd be different if it was way down the line and they were getting married. Ross takes the idea seriously and proposes and Emily accepts. They make arrangements to get married in London and invite Rachel out of courtesy. Rachel decides not to go as it would be too awkward but realises that she still has feelings for Ross and takes a flight at the last minute, planning to tell Ross that she still loves him. She decides not to when she sees how happy Ross and Emily are. But during the ceremony, Ross says her name instead of Emily's, making Emily concerned that Ross has not been completely honest about his feelings for Rachel. Consequently she tells Ross that she is prepared to try and make their marriage work, providing he cuts Rachel out of his life for good. She eventually realises that she doesn't trust Ross to keep to this and they are divorced not long afterward.
Ross has a brief fling with Janice in season 5. Phoebe said they would have very hairy children. Janice ends up dumping Ross because she thinks he whines a lot about his failed marriages. When Ross eventually tells Chandler, he was worried about how he would react. To his surprise, Chandler laughs.
During Season 6, Ross starts dating one of his students, Elizabeth (Alexandra Holden). Though he initially fears that this might jeopardize his career, they decide to go continue the relationship anyway. His career is in danger again when Elizabeth's father, Paul Stevens (Bruce Willis) threatens to get Ross fired if he continues going out with his daughter. But in "The One Where Paul's the Man", Ross catches Paul doing an embarrassing little dance and demonstrates to Paul that he knows about it. Paul understands and they call a truce. Despite all these efforts, at the end of this season, Ross realizes that he could not see his relationship with her going any further. So, he chooses to end his relationship with her, which was confirmed by Elizabeth's immaturity when she drops water balloons on his head.
In season 8, Ross has a relationship with Mona (Bonnie Somerville), who wants to move their relationship forward. But since Ross is having issues, she ends up breaking up with him for multiple reasons. For example, him changing the locks to his apartment after giving Mona a set of keys and not telling her that Rachel had moved in with him. She also makes an appearance in "The One with Monica and Chandler's Wedding" where Ross tries to dance with her but with no success. Again she reappears in "The One With The Tea Leaves" when Ross leaves his "salmon shirt" at Mona's apartment and goes to get it but ends up hiding beside her couch while Mona and a man kiss on the couch.
Ross meets Charlie Wheeler (Aisha Tyler) in "The One With The Soap Opera", a paleontologist who has recently joined Ross' department. She first goes out with Joey until she and Ross start dating in "The One in Barbados". She breaks up with Joey because she and Ross have more things in common. She eventually reconciles with her ex-boyfriend, so she and Ross break up.
Ross trained for a career in palaeontology, completed his Ph.D. and later works at the New York Museum of Prehistoric History. In season six "The One on the Last Night", Ross claims to have "given up a career in basketball" to become a palaeontologist, and has mentioned on several occasions that he wanted to pursue a career in music; in the very last episode, Monica reveals that he attempted to make it as a dancer one summer during college. At another point, however, he says that he picked paleontology on a dare. He thinks that he would have been good at advertising and in "The One with the Mugging", Ross claims that he invented the phrase "Got Milk?". In high school, he got a 1250 on his SATs, although it is evident that he lies about his scores when he claims he scored 1450, only for Monica to correct him.
Ross has been obsessed with dinosaurs since he was a child, which is a source of both amusement and terror for his friends as they mock him for his fascination and try to avoid showing too much interest in the subject lest they be invited to his lectures and seminars. As the series goes on, Ross becomes increasingly self-aware with regard to his job; after breaking his hand, Joey lists his occupation as "dinosaurs" on a hospital admission form, which Ross does not correct when he realises that Joey probably couldn't spell palaeontologist. After breaking up with his girlfriend, fellow palaeontologist Charlie in the tenth season, Ross admits that he is never going to find a partner who shares his enthusiasm for palaeontology because "there was only one hot palaeontologist".
In season six, Ross begins working as a professor at New York University. Despite the appointment, Ross is not a particularly good teacher: his papers – including a publication on sediment flow rates – are widely discredited among academics; he regularly forgets to go to class; is easily manipulated by his students into giving them higher grades; has been known to bore his students to sleep and non-attendance; receives extremely poor evaluations from his students at the end of each term; grades papers without bothering to read them so that he can have sex with his girlfriend and once spent an entire lesson trying to explain to his students that he "had the idea for Jurassic Park first".
Ross has two children. His son, Ben, was conceived while Ross and Carol were still married and born at the end of season 1. Ben lives with Carol and Susan and his name came from a name tag on an overall seen in the episode where he is born. Ben is shy at first until Rachel transforms him into a mischievous prankster. The role was played by Cole Sprouse.
Ross's daughter, Emma, was born at the end of season 8. She is conceived during a one-night stand between Ross and Rachel and they all live together until Rachel moves back in with Joey and takes Emma with her. She remains there until Ross and Rachel get back together in the series finale. Ross and Rachel chose that name after Monica said that was what she had planned to name her daughter, but let Rachel use it.
- Couric, Katie (2004-05-05). "Dateline NBC - Newsmakers - NBCNews.com". MSNBC. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
- Bierly, Mandi; Fog, Henning (July 25, 2013). "30 Best 'Will They/Won't They?' TV Couples | Photo 24 of 30". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- Anonymous. "Plot Summary for "Friends" The One with the Routine (1999)".