This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (July 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Dr. Ross Eustace Geller, Ph.D., is a fictional character from the NBC sitcom Friends, portrayed by David Schwimmer Ross is considered by many to be the most intelligent member of the group and is noted for his goofy, pathetic but lovable demeanor. He is a compulsive liar to avoid arguments or situations with conflict, often leading to an arcing storyline within a show. 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". Kevin Bright, one of the executive producers of the show had worked with Schwimmer before, so the writers were already developing Ross’s character in Schwimmer’s voice. And hence, Schwimmer was the first person to be cast on the show.
|Portrayed by||David Schwimmer|
|First appearance||"The Pilot"|
|Last appearance||"The Last One"|
|Created by||David Crane
Ross is a paleontologist and has a Ph.D. from Columbia University. He is known to refer to himself as "Dr. Ross Geller." An ongoing theme of his narrative arc is his romantic feelings toward Rachel Green, an infatuation that began in high school. A theme of Friends is their on-again, off-again romantic relationship.
Born on October 18, 1967, and raised on Long Island, Ross is the elder 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. Ross gets divorced and is newly single in the very first episode because his wife, Carol, has realized she's lesbian. Later he dates Rachel but it results in a break-up. Afterward, Ross gets married to Emily which doesn't last long. Also, he marries Rachel in Las Vegas when the two are drunk and then ultimately that too results in a divorce. In the whole series, Ross gets divorced 3 times.
A running theme in Ross's narrative is his competition with his younger sister, manifested through wrestling and paranoia. As children, they took part in a football match for the Geller Cup every Thanksgiving. This ended in its sixth year after Monica "accidentally" broke Ross's nose. The siblings 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.
When they were kids, Monica used to hate Ross because he always had his way and he was loved more than her as he was their parents’ first child. But eventually as the time passed and they grew up, she started loving him more than she used to and they also grew closer to each other though the competition between them was still visible as seen in The One with the football.
Ross often comes into conflict with his close friend, Phoebe Buffay. His rationality and Phoebe's eccentricity lead to conflict over 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 Geller had created) when they were teenagers. The two are roommates for a few weeks when a fire forces Phoebe to move into Chandler Bing and Monica's apartment and Phoebe want to give the newly engaged couple some privacy. In a "flashback" episode, they are alone at the bar and start kissing, but the moment quickly passes when Ross keeps bumping his head. Phoebe also helps Ross on numerous occasions, ultimately making him realize that he loves Rachel and they both are meant to be together.
Ross's best friend since college is Chandler. In college, they were in a band called Way/No Way, and Ross blamed Chandler when he was caught smoking marijuana. Chandler becomes Ross's brother-in-law after he marries Monica. Though they are best friends, at times Chandler gets annoyed with Ross’s geeky behaviour.
Ross is friends with Rachel Green, whom he has a crush on since high school. Rachel viewed Ross as ‘Monica’s geeky older brother’ during high school. Despite having a huge crush on her, he never told her and eventually let go of his feelings for her. But he again discovers feelings for her in the first episode of the series. They get close to each other and have on and off relationship. In the final season of the show, Rachel tells him that he means more to her than any other member of their group.
He 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 Joey had already done the audition and didn't get the part. Joey and Ross also briefly try to cut Chandler out of their friend group after he ignores them. Joey and Ross fall asleep together on the couch after watching Die Hard. Toward the end of the series, however, Ross and Joey are seen to become closer friends, often hanging out together after Chandler gets married.
Ross often tries to bring out the best of his friends in difficult situations. For instance, in season 2, he encourages Joey to audition for Another World after being fired from Days of Our Lives, despite Joey's refusal to present himself for a two-line part of a secondary character, in season 7, he buys Phoebe the bike of her dreams but threatens to take it away from her because of her reluctance to learn how to ride it. Also, when he discovers that Joey has a crush on Rachel, he tells him to tell her about it and go for it instead of hiding it, even though he has problems with the idea of Joey and Rachel being together. Above all Ross is a very sweet, loving and adorable guy who is always looking out for everyone's best interests and often the most mature compared to the rest of the gang, despite his ego, outbursts, and paranoia.
He has two children. Ross's son, Ben, was conceived while Ross and Carol were still married and born at the end of Season 1. Ross shares a joint custody of Ben with his ex-wife Carol and her wife Susan.
Ben appeared in a total 16 (17) episodes and was played chronologically: as an infant by Michael Gunderson Season 1 to 2, by brothers Charles Thomas Allen and John Christopher Allen from Season 3 to 5, and by Cole Sprouse from Season 6 to 8.
Ross's daughter with Rachel, Emma Geller-Green, was born at the end of Season 8. Rachel's pregnancy was originally revealed in the season finale of Season 7. The conception of Emma, was predominantly, a result of a one-night stand, which was later revealed in the Season 8 episode, "The One With The Videotape".
At one time, Ross claims to have, "given up a career in basketball," to become a palaeontologist and claims to have had the idea for Jurassic Park and Die Hard stolen from him. He also had major interest in music when he used to play keyboard for hours in the basement of their house in Long Island.
Ross also had a pet in the earlier seasons of the show; a White-headed capuchin monkey named "Marcel".
Over the course of the show, Ross dates a considerable number of women. He married three times and is divorced three times. His proclivity to marry and divorce is a running gag within the series.
- Carol Willick. Ross's first wife. The mother of his son Ben. In the very first episode, Carol has just moved out of their apartment after revealing that she is lesbian and leaving Ross for a woman named Susan Bunch, who she later marries. But, the two are on good terms with each other.
- Julie. Portrayed by (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 and he decides he wants to be with her instead.
- Bonnie. (played by Christine Taylor) A love interest introduced to Ross by Phoebe, Bonnie is formerly a militant bald woman who no longer shaves her head. She enjoyed a sex-filled relationship with Ross, until a conniving Rachel broke them up by first setting Bonnie up to shave her head again, and later by revealing she was interested in reuniting with Ross.
- Mona. A love interest portrayed by Bonnie Somerville he met at a wedding who later broke up with him when she found out that his roommate, Rachel Green, was pregnant with Ross's child.
- Chloe. Ross's only relationship with Chloe was a one-night stand during the break with his relationship with Rachel Green. This relationship messes his history with Rachel.
- Janice. Ross has a brief fling with Janice, Chandler's ex-girlfriend, in season 5. Phoebe said they would have very hairy children. Janice ends up dumping Ross because she thinks he whines too much. Ross, worried about how he would react, tells Chandler, who, to his surprise, laughs.
- Elizabeth Stevens. A young, pretty student who Ross teaches during his first year as a professor. They break up due to her immaturity.
- Charlie Wheeler. Ross meets Charlie (Aisha Tyler) in "The One With The Soap Opera Party". She is a paleontologist who has recently joined Ross' department. She initially dates Joey before breaking up with him and gravitating toward Ross, after realizing she has more things in common with Ross. She eventually reconciles with her ex-boyfriend, so she and Ross break up.
- Emily Waltham. Helen Baxendale is a British girl who appears in the fourth season. Ross takes her out on a date, and ends up marrying her in the end of season 4. They later get divorced because Emily does not trust Ross to refrain from being close with Rachel.
Rachel is Ross's most significant relationship during 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, whom he had met at college, and had seemingly put his feelings for Rachel aside before he met her again in The Pilot.
They have an on-again, off-again dynamic throughout most of the show.
In the Season 1 finale Ross has to go to China for his work. So he asks Chandler to give Rachel a present on her birthday which he had bought for her. While, Chandler does give the present to Rachel during her birthday celebration while Ross is in China, he lets out that Ross loves Rachel prompting Rachel to panic and start thinking about Ross in a romantic way. After Ross arrives back from China, Rachel goes to the airport to receive him on realising that she likes him, but she sees him with Julie and backs off.
In Season 2 episode The One Where Ross Finds Out, Rachel is on a date with a guy when she confesses to Ross over the phone in a drunken state that she had feelings for him but now she was over him. Ross hears it on the phone only the next day at Monica’s apartment with Rachel begging him not to check his messages. Later, in the same episode they share a passionate kiss at the doors of Central Perk. Later he breaks up with Julie but Rachel decides she doesn't want to be with him after finding out that he had made a list, on the insistence of Chandler, comparing the good and bad qualities about her and Julie.
The two begin dating each other only from Episode 15 of Season 2 after in the earlier episode The One with the Prom Video it is revealed that Ross despite being two years senior to Rachel had decided to be her date on her and Monica’s prom, as Rachel's date had not arrived, only to be left disappointed as her date arrives and they both along with Monica and her date take off for the prom. Rachel famously kisses Ross on learning this revelation. However, they break up on their one-year anniversary together. They get together again at the end of Season 3 but again break up at the start of Season 4. Some of the later episodes show them to be still in love with each other.
Ross and Rachel also marry each other after getting heavily drunk in Las Vegas. This marriage ends in a divorce.
In the 8th season, Ross has a daughter with Rachel named Emma Geller-Green, the result of their one night stand prior to Chandler and Monica’s wedding.
In the final episode of the show it is shown that when Rachel is moving to Paris for her job with a new fashion brand, Ross tells her at the airport that he loves her and asks not to leave. But she doesn’t heed to his feelings. Eventually, when the plane is just about to take off she does realize that she loves him too and she ‘gets off the plane’. They profess their love for each other and decide to be together once and for all.
During the fourth season, Ross meets and falls in love with Emily Waltham (Helen Baxendale), a British woman who is set up with Ross by Rachel. Ross spontaneously asks Emily to move in with him. This escalates into a marriage proposal. The two plan a wedding in London, to which Rachel is invited.
During the ceremony, Ross, upon seeing Rachel, has a slip of the tongue and says Rachel's name instead of Emily's during his vows. Emily is furious and exits her own marriage. Emily however decides to forgive Ross, and reaches the airport but is annoyed to see Rachel and Ross boarding the plane together. She flees away again, and Ross follows her only to lose her and also Rachel goes to the place alone. Emily, later, calls Ross only to confront him by saying that he has to stop calling / harassing her relatives, but Ross makes her reveal her love for him. She said that she will return only if Ross stops being friends with Rachel. Unable to do so, Ross ends his marriage with Emily.
Ross Geller has become a well-known figure in pop culture, in particular due to his relationship with Rachel Green and his love for Dinosaurs. He is arguably the most polarizing of the Friends characters, appearing as a figure of controversy.
- Galindo, Buzz (August 7, 2013). "25 Fascinating Facts You Might Not Know About "Friends"". BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed, Inc. Archived from the original on March 15, 2015. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
The full names of the characters are ... Ross Eustace Geller.
- Couric, Katie (May 5, 2004). "Dateline NBC - Newsmakers - NBCNews.com". MSNBC. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
- 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)".
- Sonia Saraiya. "David Schwimmer puts in the work: On learning wine, waiting tables and why he "campaigned for years for a black girlfriend" for Ross Geller". Salon. Retrieved May 30, 2016.
- "Ross & Rachel - Assembly Festival – Edinburgh Fringe". www.assemblyfestival.com. Retrieved 2016-05-24.
- "It’s Official: Ross Geller Is The Best Friend".