You probably assumed that Ross and Rachel would be the winner here, but, while their relationship was meh, they aren’t anywhere close to being the worst. This was almost a tie, because Ross+Janice was pretty terrible, but I didn’t pick them because that was purposefully awful, an example of how fucked up Ross was after his divorce from Emily. Thankfully, it only lasted a single episode, unlike my actual least favorite couple.
When the writers presented Elle Macpherson’s Janine as a woman who was immune to Joey’s charms, I was thrilled. She also encouraged him to expand his interests, like knitting or taking care of himself – it didn’t last long, thanks to Chandler commenting that he was acting like a woman, but she was successful for that short amount of time. She could have easily been a great recurring character, positively influencing the uber-masculine Joey until she eventually moved out because she got a job in Vegas or something, I dunno. But then suddenly and inexplicably, she was all about making out with Joey.
I’m not saying that this doesn’t happen in real life. One of my exes was a good friend of mine for quite a while before I developed an attraction to him, but a) it was gradual and b) my entire personality didn’t change like Janine’s did. Well, her personality didn’t so much change; she didn’t really have one, beyond she was a hot Australian dancer, but she seemed self-possessed, confident, and nice from the surface. I know that Macpherson was a guest star whose entire purpose was a short-lived romance with Joey, but it’s just so … shallow. Both Kate (Dina Meyer, pictured below) and Kathy (Paget Brewster) had character arcs apart from their relationships with Joey, but Janine seemed to be there simply because she was pretty and not initially attracted to Joey.
I will say that, at first, Janine brought out the sweeter, less chauvinistic qualities that Joey possessed, like when he needed he might need a countdown to each kiss that he and Janine would share in the future. If the writers had focused more on them getting to know each other and developing a slow burn (like they did with Chandler and Monica), it might have worked better, but instead, we get … what we got.
But yay, I’m caught up now! Hopefully, I’ll be able to stay on top of this for the home stretch?