Ross (right) hanging on to Joey to prevent himself from falling in The One Where They're Up All Night.
|First appearance||The Pilot|
|Last appearance||The Last One|
|Created by||David Crane
|Portrayed by||David Schwimmer|
|Nickname(s)||Ross-a-tron, Rossie, Ross - The Divorce Force, Red Ross, Dr. Geller|
Judy Geller (mother)
Monica Geller (sister)
Chandler Bing (brother-in-law)
Erica Bing (adoptive niece)
Jack Bing (adoptive nephew)
(divorced, 1999; re-married, 2004-present)
|Children||Ben Geller-Willick-Bunch (son with Carol)
Emma Geller-Green (daughter with Rachel)
While generally good natured, he is often clumsy, sometimes selfish and socially awkward. He is the only member with a doctorate. As such, he can be quite arrogant. In most cases, however, his arrogance eventually backfires and/or gets the best of him. For example, in The One With Chandler's Dad, Ross repeatedly mocks Rachel for her fast driving. However, at the end of the episode, it's he who gets a ticket, but for driving too slowly. In later seasons, following his second and third divorces, Ross is also shown to be quite irritable, often breaking into angry outbursts over the slightest things. For example, in The One With Ross's Sandwich, Ross is sentenced to a temporary work sabbatical after yelling at his boss for stealing his sandwich. In earlier seasons, following his original divorce, but before his second, he seems somewhat hopeless and was known for entering a scene and saying "Hi" in a low, drawn-out, hopeless voice. Ross is often complaining about something.
Somewhat surprisingly, in spite of his nerdy nature, throughout the series Ross has dated a considerable number of attractive women. Most of his dates, however, were disrupted and/or completely ruined once his paranoia or geekiness got the best of him. For example, his relationship with Rachel was destroyed due to Ross's obsessive jealousy of Rachel's handsome co-worker, Mark Robinson, even though it was obvious that there was nothing going on between them. After Ross and Rachel had broken up, Ross fixed himself to Chandler's peep hole to observe Mark and Rachel coming home from a date. Phoebe and Monica put his jealous nature down to the heartache he felt after his lesbian wife Carol left him.
Another example is in The One With All The Resolutions, Ross's date with Elizabeth Hornswoggle is disrupted when his legs become too hot/sweaty from his leather pants, at which point he removes his tight pants in her bathroom but was unable to put it back on.
Born on October 18, Ross is the older brother of Monica Geller, and was (seemingly unintentionally) the favored child of their parents. Ross was described as a "medical marvel" when he was born, because his mother was originally believed to be infertile. (There may have been some discrepancies when the writers came up with the story, as in another episode Jack Geller mentioned that they got married after Judy got pregnant, though a miscarriage could have been possible. Or the Geller's could have been told that Judy was barren prior to their marriage.) The two siblings are extremely competitive, as demonstrated in "The One with the Football", where it emerged that every Thanksgiving during their childhood they had taken part in a football match called "The Geller Cup". This family tradition ended in its sixth year, after Monica broke Ross's nose. In their childhood, Monica and Ross were also very violent with each other. For example, Monica once hit Ross with a giant pumpkin and Ross once jammed a stick through the spokes of Monica's bike, causing her to flip over and hit her head on the curb. They also seem to have had a more ordinary sibling rivalry. For example, in "The One With Frank Jr.", Monica tells Phoebe that they weren't always close and Ross used to give her Wedgies, Flying Wedgies, and Atomic Wedgies. Also, in "The One with the Inappropriate Sister", they told Rachel that they used to wrestle when they were younger. Ross and Monica are half Jewish half Christian, but identify themselves as Jews, as revealed in the episode "The One With The Holiday Armadillo". He had a monkey named Marcel, which he gave up for adoption.
While in college, Ross met Chandler Bing, with whom he formed the band "Way...No Way", and Carol Willick, who became his first wife (for seven years). Ross trained for a career in paleontology, completed his Ph.D. and later became employed at the New York Museum of Natural History. In the episode in which Rachel moved out of Monica's apartment, Ross claimed to have "given up a career in basketball" to become a paleontologist. However, in an episode where he was talking to Carol's pregnant belly, he said he had picked paleontology on a dare. He thinks that he would have been good at advertising and in "The One with the Mugging", Ross claimed that he invented the phrase "Got Milk?". He also claimed to have had the idea for Jurassic Park stolen from him.
At one point during the series, Ross developed a problem with rage. After Ross became angry when the director of the museum ate half of his favorite sandwich and threw the rest in the trash, Ross was forced to take a "sabbatical." His anger was exacerbated by the stress of his second divorce (which also got him evicted; he subsequently went to live with Joey and Chandler and irritated them considerably) and his discovery that Chandler was dating his sister, Monica.
Ross later found a job as a professor at New York University and caused a stir among his colleagues when he dated one of his students Elizabeth. Eventually, he was given tenure, despite forgetting classes, boring his students to sleep and giving away grades without even looking at students' work.
Despite being firm friends with her, Ross often came into conflict with Phoebe Buffay. His rationality and Phoebe's self-devised beliefs led to conflict over the theories of evolution, gravity, and whether or not Phoebe's dead mother was reincarnated as a cat. It was revealed in "The One with the Mugging" that Phoebe once mugged Ross during her homeless years (stealing the only copy of 'Science Boy', a superhero created by Ross). The evening Ross found out that Carol was a lesbian, he and Phoebe almost had sex in the bar that was to become Central Perk, but as they both were undressing each other, a rather uncomfortable pool table and a low-hanging light fixture created a problem, eventually causing them realize that having sex with each other was a bad idea (according to Phoebe "...nothing good comes from having sex with Ross!"). They were eventually interrupted by their friends.
Ross has described Chandler Bing as his gay friend, but has sometimes changed opinions about his oldest friend. He is shown to have had some old memories such as a band with Chandler called "Way, No Way" and also once blamed him when he was almost caught smoking pot. The basis of their of friendship was, however, their unmanageable hair, which both have been shown to have in the series flashbacks. Ross was arguably less close with Joey Tribbiani than he was with Chandler, though he did lend a helping hand to him with some movie and stage auditions. Both of them kissed once when practicing for Joey's playing the part of a homosexual. They also briefly tried to cut Chandler out of their friendship group after he ignored them both in "The One with the Ring." Towards the end of the series, however, Ross and Joey are seen to become closer friends, often seen hanging out together likely due to Chandler's marriage which gave Chandler less time to spend with both of them. Ross even, at one time while talking to Rachel, referred to Joey as his best friend in which Rachel replied "I thought Chandler was your best friend?" and in which Ross replied back "No, Chandler is my oldest friend...wait I see what you're doing here!"
In response to his loneliness after his divorce from Carol, Ross adopted a Capuchin monkey named Marcel. The relationship was a threesome at first, but the two grew quite close, until Marcel's sexual drive forced Ross to donate him to the San Diego Zoo. An underlying joke was how comparable their relationship was to that of a live-in couple. Another joke was a recurring underlying euphemism; for example in one episode Ross explains his intention to invite his date back to his place and introduce her to his monkey. Ross later felt the urge to see Marcel again, and found out that Marcel had become a famous mascot for a brand of beer called "Monkey Shine" and was starring in Outbreak 2: The Virus Takes Manhattan. Marcel's favorite song was "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". Later in the series, Ross admitted how unusual his purchase was, saying in "The One With Unagi", "Remember when I had a monkey... what was I thinking?"
Ross is said to be a former practitioner of karate. This is best displayed in The One With Unagi where he claims that Unagi is a state of total awareness. When Rachel and Phoebe go to a self-defense class he scoffs at them saying that it's useless unless one has Unagi. He scares them by surprise to make his point but is Unagi isn't much more efficient since Rachel and Phoebe, who had been hiding in his apartment, jump out at him and he lets out a high-pitched girlish scream. He later attempts to hide in their apartment but they spot him and quickly restrain him and coerce him into saying that they "are Unagi". In The One That Could Have Been Ross is still practicing karate.
In seasons 1-4, Ross lived in the same apartment. In season 5, he moved into the apartment owned by a relative of his second wife, Emily, but was kicked out after their divorce. He spent a short time living with Chandler and Joey before settling into an apartment across the street from Monica's place, which had been formerly inhabited by Ugly Naked Guy. This brought all of the friends, with the exception of Phoebe, into very close proximity with each other.
Ross's unsuccessful marriages to three different women greatly embarrassed him. Ross's string of divorces was a continuous joke throughout the show.
Ross divorced his first wife of four years, Carol, when she revealed that she was a lesbian and was having an affair with Susan Bunch, revealed in a flashback to have met Carol at the gym. They still got along fairly well, however, and shared custody of their son Ben, who was born in "The One with the Birth"—one of the final episodes of the first season. He and Carol claimed to have been married in 1989, when Ross was 21. He told his second wife, Emily, that he dated Carol for four years before marriage.
In an alternate reality storyline during the show ("The One That Could Have Been, Part 1"), Ross remained married to Carol, but their sex life was stagnant. Not realizing she was a lesbian, Ross suggested to Carol that they have a threesome, an idea that she was much in favor of, so they had a threesome with Carol's real lesbian partner Susan. Ross said it ended up a twosome. Later on, Ross was forced to accept that his wife was a lesbian and ended up consoling Rachel after she discovered that her husband, Barry, was having an affair as well with the neighborhood dogwalker.
During Season 4, Ross's wedding to his British girlfriend Emily Waltham (played by Helen Baxendale) took place in London, with Joey and Chandler standing as best men and Monica as a bridesmaid. However, at the ceremony Ross said Rachel's name instead of Emily's, which led to a complete breakdown of the relationship. Ross attempted to reconcile with Emily, but she insisted that Ross never see, nor speak to Rachel ever again. Ross was unable to comply and when Emily found out that Ross had been spending time with his friends, including Rachel, she felt she could never trust Ross again and the marriage quickly dissolved. She later became engaged to someone else, but on the night before her wedding she left Ross a message on his answering machine saying that she was having doubts about getting married. Rachel accidentally deleted the message and convinced Ross not to call her back.
Ross had been in love with Rachel Green during her high school days, when he was in college and Rachel was Monica's best friend. When Rachel later moved to the city, Ross's affection returned. Throughout the majority of the first season, Ross tried to admit his feelings to Rachel, but was never successful. At the end of the season, Chandler convinced Ross to stop pursuing her. Ross left on a work trip, and while he was gone Rachel finally learned of Ross's feelings. She went to the airport to meet him when he returned, hoping they could be together. However, Ross arrived with his new girlfriend, Julie, on his arm. Ross found out how Rachel felt in "The One Where Ross Finds Out" and they shared their first kiss. The two finally got together in "The One with the Prom Video", and their relationship lasted for a year until Ross's jealousy over Rachel's co-worker Mark broke them apart. Believing them to be "on a break", Ross got drunk and slept with Chloe (Angela Featherstone), the "hot girl from the copy place with the belly-button ring". When Rachel found out, she was distraught and broke up with Ross. The scene was so emotionally intense that both David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston reportedly started to cry near the end of the episode, and continued after it was shot.
The two shared an "almost on-again, almost off-again" relationship over the years, and actually got married after a drunken night in Las Vegas. This wasn't resolved until weeks later when Ross, unable to get an annulment, realized they had to get a divorce. Ross began to panic over the fact that he was going to be divorced for the third time. Later in the series, they slept together again and conceived Ross's second child, Emma. Phoebe, in the episode where Emma was born, tried to convince Ross to get back together with Rachel. He decided to ask Rachel if they'd want to "start things up again", but she in the meantime said yes to what she thought was a proposal by Joey out of fear that she might end up alone. After this misunderstanding was resolved, Ross and Rachel started to raise Emma together until a fight caused Rachel to move back in with Joey.
In season ten, Rachel lost her job at Ralph Lauren but was offered a job at Louis Vuitton in Paris. Ross initially tried to bribe her boss at Ralph Lauren to hire her back, but then realized that Rachel truly wanted to go to Paris. After her going away party, Rachel told Ross that he was the most important person in her life, and they slept together. Ross, hoping the next morning to get back together with Rachel in "The Last One", was shocked to find out that she thought their night together was "the perfect way to say goodbye". After she left for the airport, Ross was unable to deny that he wanted her in his life. Ross rushed to the airport to tell Rachel how he felt about her. Stunned and unable to think of what to say, Rachel still decided to leave for Paris. Devastated, Ross returned to his apartment and found a message from Rachel saying that she loved him too and was going to get off the plane. Rachel appeared at his apartment door and the pair kissed, promising each other that "this is it. No more fooling around." In the final scene of the series, they were shown holding hands. In the season premiere of Joey, Joey mentions that all of his friends are married, settled down and started families so it is presumed Ross and Rachel remarried.
All the Friends season finales (including the series finale) except Seasons 2 and 6 involves a Ross and Rachel storyline.
Two episodes state Ross's birthday as October 18. In "The One Where Emma Cries", Ross named that date as his birthday; it was also the date in "The One With Five Steaks and an Eggplant", when he was taken to a Hootie & the Blowfish concert as his birthday present. However, in "The One with George Stephanopoulos," when Joey and Chandler bought Rangers tickets to celebrate Ross's birthday on the 20th of October, Ross said that his birthday was "seven months ago". In "The One with Joey's New Girlfriend", when Gunther asked Rachel when her birthday was, claiming to be making a list of people's birthdays, Ross said, "Mine's December..." before being cut off by Gunther.
As to year of birth, in "The Pilot", which aired in September 1994, Ross exclaimed, "I'm only 26 and I'm divorced." That would mean that Ross was born in 1967 or 1968. A person born on October 18, 1967 would be expected to graduate from college around 1990, and we later learn that Ross and Chandler were Class of 1991. However Ross does mention that he skipped 4th Grade in season 6. In "The One With The Video Tape", season 8, Ross mentions a (fictional) event in 1983, and in an aside notes "I was thirteen?," which would indicate a birthdate in 1970.
Ross's age was not, however, always treated consistently. He described himself as 29 in each of Seasons 3, 4 and 5. In Season 3, he told Chandler "No, thanks, I'm 29" when offered chocolate milk. In Season 4, when the guys tried to party without Gandalf, they all said they were 29. And in Season 5, when trying to reconcile with Emily, he said that if they didn't stay together he would be divorced for the second time before age 30. However, when a drunk man referred to Monica as Ross's mother at Ross's wedding rehearsal dinner in London, she expressed her distaste at having a "30 year old son". In "The One Where they all Turn Thirty" in Season 7, the group mention that they are all sad together as 30 year olds and that in 10 years they will all be 40.
Ross had two children. The elder, Ben, was Ross and Carol's son. He was conceived before the show began and their divorce. Ben was born in "The One with the Birth". Ben lived with Carol and her lesbian life partner Susan and was named after a janitor's uniform name-tag, worn by Phoebe as she attempted to escape from the janitor's closet where she, Susan and Ross were trapped while Carol was in labor. At first, Ben was a shy boy, but an afternoon spent with Rachel transformed him into a mischievous prankster. He was played by Cole Sprouse.
Ross's youngest child (born in the series) was Emma. She was born to Ross and Rachel, conceived during a drunken night of intercourse which is why she is often referred to as being "an accident." Emma lived with Ross and Rachel until one of their fights caused Rachel to take Emma and move back in with Joey. She remained there for the rest of the series until Ross and Rachel got back together in the series finale. Emma got her name because it was what Monica wanted her daughter to be named but she gave it to Rachel.