Although there were two other big couples in , Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) were the main one from the beginning, but their relationship was full of ups and downs – and a theory explains why Ross and Rachel’s relationship just couldn’t work. Created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, took the audience to New York City to follow a group of six young adults who did their best every day to navigate through adulthood while balancing their social, personal, and professional lives, making way for a bunch of jokes and memorable moments, both funny and sad.
Over the course of 10 seasons, viewers saw Monica, Chandler, Joey, Phoebe, Rachel, and Ross go through many ups and downs in all areas of their lives, mostly in their personal lives, but ultimately, all of them (except for ) found their “lobsters” and started their own families. However, mostly focused on the many ups and downs of the unstable relationship between Ross and Rachel, who had met many years before the events of the show. Although there are many reasons why Ross and Rachel struggled to be together and have a healthy relationship, a theory explains it was doomed to fail from the very beginning due to one popular superstition.
A theory posted on suggests that was cursed literally from the very beginning of the series. In the pilot episode of , when Rachel arrives in her wedding dress at Central Perk after running away from her wedding, Monica introduces her to the rest of the group, and when she goes to greet Ross, he’s so nervous that he accidentally opens his umbrella as he’s about to shake Rachel’s hand. Opening an umbrella in a closed space is widely believed to bring bad luck, though exactly how long that lasts varies depending on who you ask about it. Many superstitions are believed to bring seven years of bad luck, most notably breaking a mirror, but to many, so does opening an umbrella inside.
With this in mind, the author of the theory suggests that, by opening the umbrella , although accidentally, Ross cursed his relationship with Rachel. It took a while for Rachel and Ross to finally get together, and even when they were together, there was a lot of jealousy and miscommunication between them that eventually led to their infamous “break”. However, as mentioned above, the curse doesn’t last forever, and the author explains that the curse lifted right in time for Rachel to tell Ross she was pregnant with his baby, though this is based on the airing dates of the pilot episode (September 22, 1994) and the one with Rachel’s pregnancy announcement (September 27, 2001).
Supposing the curse really ended around the time Rachel told Ross about her pregnancy, that didn’t really improve their relationship. Ross and Rachel lived together while Rachel was pregnant and for a while after Emma was born, but after an argument over their dating lives, Rachel moved back with Joey and took Emma with her. , which had a negative impact on Ross (and wasn't well-received by the audience, either), and after sleeping together before Rachel moved to Paris at the end of the series, Ross came clean about his feelings for her. Rachel made the controversial decision of getting off the plane and returning to Ross, and so by the end of , Ross and Rachel were back together again, supposedly for good. While their relationship surely wasn’t as toxic and chaotic as it was before (but it wasn’t healthy either), once the curse ended, Ross and Rachel’s relationship didn’t exactly improve.
While it’s a fun theory that gives meaning to a clumsy Ross moment in , the theory about the curse that doomed Ross and Rachel’s relationship to fail actually makes it worse. Ross and Rachel struggled to have a stable relationship for different reasons, mostly Ross’ insecurities, jealousy, and how manipulative and overprotective he was with Rachel, though she also was manipulative, especially with his other partners (such as when she tried to sabotage his relationship with Bonnie). Attributing all these failures to a curse doesn’t allow the characters to take responsibility for their actions and recognize their flaws, thus not letting them grow and become better, so all those positive changes they could have had in the final seasons of wouldn’t mean much if their relationship was once cursed.
As mentioned above, Ross and Rachel ended up getting back together in after Ross confessed his love to her at the airport, and she decided to not go to Paris to stay with him and their daughter. After that, they were last seen leaving Monica and Chandler’s apartment with them, their twins, Phoebe, and Joey, as they headed to Central Perk one more time, but the spinoff TV series provided a clue to what happened to him. In the pilot episode of , good ol’ Joey mentioned that all of his friends were married and having children, but as he didn’t give any names, it’s widely believed that Ross and Rachel could have remarried and maybe had another kid together.
While it’s fun to believe that the source of the many failures in was a curse that Ross unintentionally unleashed, it ends up taking away a lot from it. Ultimately, Ross and Rachel had a lot to learn about each other and themselves before they could finally be together and be a family, and all their flaws and mistakes had nothing to do with an umbrella and a curse at the beginning of .