What if Rachel Green was Rachel Greek?
May 12, 2004
As fans of the show, Rachel’s Greek-American-ness cheats us out of the hysterical airport scene that begins season 2. She more than likely wouldn’t be upset about Ross having found someone while in China, and even if she were the slightest bit distraught by this fact, she wouldn’t have let anyone know about it, and certainly would not have rebounded with Paulo. (A Greek girl doesn’t make the same mistake twice, particularly not of the rebound/retaliatory hook-up variety.) That pretty much would have ended most of the Ross and Rachel drama of the beginning of that fall. But let’s just say that Rachel did actually want to fight for Ross, she would have been a lot less passive-aggressive than trying to sabotage his relationship with Julie. A Greek Rachel wouldn’t have bothered giving him misguided relationship advice, she would have just told him straight out that she wanted him, or had done a much better job of seducing him.
Again, we would have been cheated out of the pivotal part of that season, the drunk phone call to Ross’s answering machine that Rachel makes from the restaurant while on a blind date. First off, a blind date? Impossible. Greek girls are constantly trying to be set up on dates at coffee hours, Greek festivals, and any other social event, that they’d run screaming from anything resembling a blind date. Also, show us a Greek girl that’s drunk-called a guy and we’ll show you a Greek that doesn’t love feta and olives. Alcohol has a strange and unique effect on Greek girls. It might make them wild and loud at a Greek night but it doesn’t have the truth-telling properties that it has on the rest of the population. The only way that the Ross and Rachel story even continues would be for someone to actually tell Ross that Rachel actually has feelings for him, causing a confrontation, that leads the after-closing kiss in the coffee house. Fans of the show remember that Ross blows it in the very next episode when he makes the list of pros and cons about Rachel, which rightfully angers Rachel, effectively squelching the new relationship before it gets a chance to get off the ground. She starts dating again, going out with a guy named Russ, which we guess would be the equivalent of a Greek girl dating a guy with the same name twice. (Do you realize how hard it would be to date around in the Greek community without tripping over the same name two, maybe three, times?)
What saves Ross and Rachel that year is a viewing of Monica and Rachel’s prom video. A Greek Rachel though doesn’t get upset when she thinks that she’s being stood up by Chip for prom. Trained by years of GOYA and other Greek semi-formals where you don’t bring dates, she doesn’t mind going stag because it’s a very natural thing, thus preventing Ross from feeling badly for her and getting all ready to take her to prom himself. (It was Rachel seeing this video that made her give her and Ross another chance.) So again we miss out on the next episode where Ross and Rachel make love in the museum, or Ross getting upset by Rachel getting a tattoo, or her experimenting with feminism. The only major relationship plot line of that year would be Monica dating an older man in Richard, which actually is a not an uncommon Greek-American theme, so we’d all probably still tune in to see how that one turns out.
We learn more about Rachel’s family in season 2 when her mom, played by Marlo Thomas comes to visit. With a Greek-American Rachel, you need an equally Greek-American mother, so we replace Marlo Thomas and insert none other than Olympia Dukakis. (Remember her as Jennifer Aniston’s mother in Picture Perfect?) Rachel’s mom thus becomes more like Monica’s mom, judgmental and hypercritical, which would be a lot more fun to watch, possibly saving an otherwise disastrously boring second season.