Quite possibly the worst story arc in all of “Friends” began in Season 8, as Joey began to develop romantic feelings for Rachel. Both viewers and even the actors would come to adamantly hate the storyline of the unlikely duo getting together, as their characters simply weren’t compatible as lovers, and anybody who watched the show on a regular basis could see it wasn’t going to work.
Ultimately, Joey shook off his feelings for Rachel when she didn’t reciprocate; crisis seemingly averted. But wait, because it got worse: In Season 9, the roles reversed and their fling began all over again. The two kissed in Barbados, reviving a several-episodes-long cringe fest of a relationship.
Eventually, Rachel and Joey came to their senses, realizing they were good friends and would be jeopardizing things if they tried to take their relationship further; ultimately, they called it all off in Season 10. The issue here is that Joey should never have kissed Rachel or pursued a relationship with her in the first place. Why he ever thought a relationship with his friend’s ex would be okay is mind-blowing. You’d think that Joey, the bro of all bros, would be a little more respectful of guy code, would bury his feelings for Rachel and move on.
That story would likely play out very different in the real world, where most men are smart enough to not pursue a friend’s ex-girlfriend, who just so happens to be the mother of their child — and if they do, they’re likely to end up with a fat lip to show for it. It’s still shocking to watch those episodes now and see Joey — normally such a nice guy — disregard his buddy’s feelings and act on his impulses. It’s a storyline viewers (and the actors) wish had never happened.