The Big Picture
- Monica and Richard’s relationship in Friends had the potential to go the distance, despite their age difference and differing desires for children.
- Richard’s laid-back and stable nature balanced Monica’s hyper personality and brought out a more relaxed side of her.
- The chemistry and passion between Monica and Richard was undeniable, making their relationship memorable and leaving viewers wondering what could have been if things were different.
Friends not only gifted us with sitcom perfection in the 90s and early ‘00s, but it also gave us some of the most iconic couples in television history. From Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) to Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry). The friends-to-lovers arcs were ahead of their time and so beloved by audiences then and now. But as with any show it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the couples and before finally ending up with each other there were other love interests in the mix. While most were fairly casual and didn’t have endgame potential, there was one couple that very well could’ve gone the distance: Monica and Richard (Tom Selleck). I know, I know, put the pitchforks down, we still love Monica and Chandler. But with how serious Monica got with Richard it’s hard not to wonder, could she, or rather, should she have ended up with Richard?
A Relationship Ended Too Soon
Richard first came on the scene towards the middle half of Season 2, when Monica and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) catered a party he was throwing. Richard is an ophthalmologist, and as it turns out, he and Monica go way back, being that he’s close friends with her parents. Throughout the party, the pair keep finding themselves talking and are utterly infatuated with one another, which leads to Monica booking an eye appointment with him. At said appointment, they try to carry on platonically but eventually give in to their true desires and kiss passionately. As Phoebe pointed out at the party, Monica is smitten with Richard, and the two begin a relationship.
There were countless hurdles to jump within their relationship. For starters, he’s friends with her parents, which made for an awkward conversation. He’s also 21 years older than Monica (a point continuously brought up by her friends). He’s already a grandfather and she desperately wants children. There are so many things for them to work through and so many things that might prove too much for other couples, and yet they work through it all with finesse, creating a sturdy and healthy relationship that seems like it could really go the distance. It’s clear that Richard is the type of man to settle down with, he’s the picket fence, steady job, picture-perfect husband Monica has always dreamed about. But the thing that ultimately tears them apart is that Richard doesn’t want any more children, which is the one thing Monica wants the most. He offers to have kids with her if he has to, if it means not losing her. She initially agrees but eventually ends things with him because she wants to be with someone who truly wants the same things as her.
The two bump into each other a few times after their breakup, but nothing much comes of it. As Monica tells him during a post-breakup tryst, “Getting over you is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I don’t think I could do it again.” It’s understandable and honestly admirable they never give things another shot, as Richard pointed out to her once, the same issues would still be there — he still doesn’t want children and she does. But if that wasn’t the case, Monica very could have ended up with Richard, and upon my many rewatches I wonder if she should have.
Monica and Richard Just Had a Spark
Richard left such an impression on the series, it’s hard to believe he’s only in 9 episodes. But it’s for that reason that we love him so. He was such a perfect balance to Monica’s neurotic and hyper personality. He was tame and grounded, and yet he understood her and loved her despite her quirks. One of the most memorable moments between them is when he makes her bed. Monica begins to remake it when Richard walks back into the room and catches her. She then proceeds to explain to him the reasons why it was wrong. The duvet tag should be in the bottom right corner, the cherry blossom print should be facing up because the head of the bed is where the sun would be. She immediately freezes, wondering if she just scared him away, but he simply tells her he loves her more than before. Despite not being as particular, Richard embraces Monica’s routine and does so without complaint or teasing. In fact, Richard is a very laid-back man in general, which tends to balance Monica out a bit and ground her. Monica’s hyperness is still lovable, but it’s also nice to see her simply kick her feet up and relax a bit, and Richard brings that out in her.
Richard was also the more stable choice, he never beat around the bush with Monica or played with her feelings. He knew how he felt about her, he knew what he wanted and what he didn’t want, and he was willing to do whatever needed to make her happy. He hung out with her friends, despite clearly being the odd one out, he stood firm on his feelings for her when confronting her parents, and he never wavered in his devotion and love for her. And let’s face it, they had some seriously steamy chemistry. Richard was charming beyond belief, though that’s unsurprising given he’s played by the forever handsome Tom Selleck, and had Monica smitten almost immediately. They had fantastic communication, while still having immense passion for one another. The romance between them was never portrayed as a chore, or like it got boring, they were blissfully head over heels for one another, and happy as ever. Maybe you could call it a honeymoon phase, but even when they bump into each other months later, the chemistry is still palpable.
Chandler ultimately wins Monica’s heart, and it seems wrong to picture any other outcome than Mondler. Their relationship is so sweet and a picture of romance at its most pure. But the time Monica and Richard shared together will always be an important part of Friends history, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t open to seeing them get a happy ending during the show’s run. They’ll always have Season 2, so we can always relive their best moments and wonder what could have been.