More Than

At long last, it's love for Ross and Rachel.
But where do America's newest sweethearts go from here?

By Susan Spillman

The waiting game is over. So long, aching hearts. Farewell, longing glances. Ross and Rachel (not to mention 28 million anxious viewers) have paid their dues, and now it's time for some serious fantasy fulfillment, thank you very much. It all began last week on NBC's Friends, when Ross and Rachel finally decided to take a chance on romance. TV Guide asked their real-life counterparts, David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston, for their insights on primetime's most talked-about love affair.

TV Guide: The anticipation for Ross and Rachel to get together has taken on mythic proportions. Did it ever start to feel out of control?

Jennifer Aniston: No. I thought it was quite lovely that everyone was so invested in these two people. I guess we didn't really expect that.

David Schwimmer: I remember being in front of the live audience when we kissed the first time (The One Where Ross Finds Out). It was crazy. The reaction from the audience was overwhelming. And it fueled and charged the scene even more. I think everyone is anxious to see where it will go from here. Is the relationship between them going to live up to all the expectations, or is it going to be a brutal realization that, wow, this was a mistake?

TVG: That episode where Ross and Rachel kiss for the first time was very satisfying, from a fan's viewpoint. Was it a difficult scene for you two?

DS: It was a huge moment. We took a lot of time working on the fight that came before it. It had to be hot. It had to be heated and it had to be irrational and it had to be romantic and it had to be sweet. All those things at the same time. But for me, it also had to be Ross being a man for the first time, just being aggressive in some way.

JA: It was very intense to see the audience react the way they did, all the screaming and cheering. At one point David and I were hugging, and our hearts were just pounding, and we were both saying, 'Can you believe this?' It was very wild. But we didn't actually nail that scene in front of the audience. It was almost as if we couldn't do it because all these people were watching. And when we shot it again after the show, it was able to really happen.

TVG: Were you as eager as everyone else to see them finally get together?

JA: Yeah, of course, I wanted to see what would happen. It'll take us down such a different road.

DS: My biggest concern is if you have all that sexual tension going on between two characters and then suddenly it's gone, then you really have to be prepared to address the 'now what?' issue. You know, where do you go from here? I don't want the audience to be bored with Ross and Rachel now.

TVG: The next logical step will be for Rachel and Ross to consummate their relationship. Set the scene for us, as you'd like to see it happen.

DS: Well, we shot the scene, so we know how it happens. And I can't tell you.

TVG: Well, how about if you got to create it. How would you have liked it to go?

DS: Something really incredibly romantic, but not intentionally romantic. I would like to see them in a situation where the evening plan goes wrong--like they get locked in some place--suddenly they find themselves somewhere and say, 'Wow, this is the moment that we must do this.' Then it's not like having a bottle of wine and candles and 'This is the day we're going to do the deed.' That would gross me out.

JA: I think they deserve a nice romantic weekend by themselves, away from their friends. But it's so awkward if you think about it. Someone's your friend and all of a sudden they're your boyfriend. You're naked in front of them. Aaaaa!

TVG: Once Ross and Rachel are lovers, can they ever go back to just friends?

JA: That's a tough one. I think they love each other enough. But that might be really hard, once you've gone to that next level, to go back to just friends.

DS: I think it would take a lot of time. I think they have to let this part of the relationship run its course first--unless they just have a miserable time in bed together. That's possible, but I don't think that's what the writers are going to do.

TVG: Every couple has a special song. What should Ross and Rachel's song be?

DS: Something by Van Morrison. I love Van Morrison. Something from the album Tupelo Honey.

JA: How about 'Baby, I Love Your Way,' by Peter Frampton? I's sweet.

TVG: What will the first fight be about?

JA: Me being too spoiled.

DS: It will be something behavioral. Ross probably has a certain routine that he's established. That could be fun--suddenly his routine is thrown off. And I want him to be more invested in what Rachel does for a living. If you're in a relationship with a person, you want to help them realize what their dream is. Rachel doesn't want to be a waitress the rest of her life.

TVG: That could lead to a fight where she thinks he should just accept her the way she is.

DS: And it could be the thing that makes him realize she doesn't have any direction. Is that enough for Ross to be with someone like that? I don't know.

TVG: Would David ever be attracted to somebody like Rachel?

DS: I would be attracted to her, but I need someone who has direction, who's working towards something they're really passionate about. That's what turns me on and gets me going.

TVG: Would Jennifer ever be attracted to someone like Ross?

JA: Absolutely. Schwimmer looks a lot like my high-school sweetheart. So yeah, I'd be attracted to him. I love that sweet puppy-dog-eyed kind of thing.