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Ross Geller Is The Best Friends Character, And It's Time We All Admit It (Even If You Hate Him)

Enough is enough. It's time to call off everyone's "Ross sucks" takes.

That doesn't mean Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) is some paragon of virtue. Some of his storylines, along with a number of the show's quotes, have definitely aged poorly. However, it's silly to argue that he's the most annoying figure to ever appear on "Friends" — especially not when characters like Eddie Menuek (Adam Goldberg) exist. Even putting aside that Ross, for all his issues, makes well-meaning and genuine attempts at being a good brother, father, boyfriend, and friend, anti-Ross narratives ignore the fact that Ross' flaws are what makes him interesting. He's a fully fleshed out fictional character, with more facets than the others around him, and while he very often falls short in his quest to be a good person ... well, haven't we all?

There's one more crucial point to be had here — Ross Geller is funny. Rib-achingly funny. And in a situation comedy, funny is the most important thing to be more often than not. In fact, between his relatable flailing, memorable quotes, and his status as the central figure in the show's narrative, the fact is that Ross Geller, like him or not, is the single best character on "Friends," and it's time we stopped making excuses and all recognized him as such.

Ross is imperfect - which is what makes him amazing

Let's face it, Ross isn't a perfect person. He commits intense acts of jealousy, does a poor job of accepting his failures, and sometimes lets his worst instincts take over in his personal and professional relationships. But ask yourself this — doesn't that just make him more human? A more realistic character who reflects our own foibles, bad choices and horrible fashion mistakes? And maybe, if you look deep, the uncomfortable relatability of his insecurities and awkwardness is the very reason people hate him: because he reminds them too much of themselves. 

Fans tend to overlook one fact when it comes to Ross – many of the moments they hate the most, and then blame on him, aren't committed with intentional malice. Sometimes, this can be a matter of noting what he learns and suffers for as the show progresses. Some prime examples: While his choice not to tell his near-lifelong love Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) that they weren't married after their drunken Las Vegas nuptials was very problematic, his slip of the tongue at the altar with Emily (Helen Baxendale) was a total accident that he didn't mean to commit. Furthermore, he doesn't get away with either of these things. Everytime Ross slips on a banana peel, he falls hard, and the show makes sure he feels the bruises. It's not as if Ross is a hapless Karma Houdini who never learns from his mistakes.

Of any character on "Friends," Ross goes through the biggest arc. He starts out as a bitter divorcé. He ends the show a father of two, in a loving relationship with Rachel. In-between, he gains and loses a pet monkey, suffers through three divorces, and screws up, over and over, but continually keeps trying to be better.

Ross' romance with Rachel is the show's beating heart

It's impossible to think of "Friends" without thinking of Ross and Rachel's romance. Aside from Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler's (Matthew Perry) relationship, it's the show's most consistent story — and definitely the most important entanglement. And for much of that entanglement, the audience has to suffer through everything Ross suffers, as his perpetual longing for his teenage crush makes the agony of waiting for the couple's first kiss that much sweeter. The fact that Rachel seems so far out of the nerdy paleontologist's league makes it hard not to root for him, even if you don't want to, or even when he's being petty or selfish. Sure, both of them make serious blunders — yes, Rachel, too. But even when Ross is at his worst moments (you know, the "break" thing), you still want them to succeed in the end. 

One of Ross' greatest acts of maturity and growth involves letting Rachel go to Paris for her dream job, even though he can't resist telling her he loves her before she does so — but in the end, he finally backs off and lets her choose for herself. The most important thing to note is that, in the end, Rachel chooses to stay with Ross and Emma in New York. She decides to shun the material wealth and career advancement she's been pursing since she rejected a marriage to Barry at the show's beginning. She's willing to trust in Ross' growth as a human being and a father. And Ross and Rachel's long-fought, long-fraught relationship wins, which is exactly why the final episode of "Friends" still is discussed as one of the best sitcom finales of all-time.

Besides all this, though? Ross isn't just the heart of the show. He's secretly the funniest Friend. 

Ross' memorable reactions and catchphrases are the ones that have lasted

If you've ever used the phrase "we were on the break" (hopefully as a joke), or shouted "Pivot!" while trying to move a bulky piece of furniture up a flight of stairs, never forget — that's Ross Geller you're quoting. 

Everyone in "Friends" is funny, and it's easy to recall laughing at a Chandler quip or a Phoebe song, but Ross is side-splittingly funny. When you focus solely on his worst qualities, you ignore the fact that without Ross, many of the show's most iconic moments simply would not exist. If you chuckle whenever you get a spray-tan, laugh when you see a pair of leather pants, or grin when you see a turkey sandwich, then it's Ross you're thinking of. And that's fine, as Ross might say — just fiiiine.

For all of his numerous character flaws and insecurities, Ross makes people laugh, and that's what every comedy character should do. The fact that he's snobby, selfish, and makes all of his own problems worse, over and over, is the point. So is the fact that he's the most educated friend with the most stable job, but still got caught trying to heist tons of hotel toiletries after he and Chandler took an ill-fated trip to a Vermont hotel together. Whether it's being told off for his pretentious vocabulary or taking simple pleasure in hanging around dinosaur bones, Ross gets people laughing harder than anything else on the show. And between the jokes, the relatability, and the flaws, an honest examination makes it clear that Ross Geller is not just the best character on "Friends," but the very reason the show works as a whole.