By Denise Warner
April 11, 2013 at 12:00 PM EDT
  • TV Show

As Kurt and Blaine battle it out with the Doctor and Rose in EW’s Greatest TV Couple of All Time championship, we’re unveiling our favorite couples, who didn’t advanced as far as we would have liked. Here’s the case for Ross and Rachel of Friends.

When a soaking-wet-wedding-dress-clad Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) waltzed through Central Perk’s doors, she walked right back into Ross’ (David Schwimmer) heart. It was at this moment that one of TV’s best “will they or won’t they” couples was born. And despite only making it to the Elite 8 in our tournament, Ross and Rachel definitely deserve a place in the pantheon of greatest TV couples.

Ross loved his sister’s best friend since they were in high school. And when Rachel re-entered their lives in the pilot episode of Friends, his old crush followed. It took only a season and a half before their coupledom began, but even after they broke up, it was clear these two were meant for each other. In fact, it was their interactions in their “off years” that prove these two really did love each other.

After their bumpy start — they shared their first kiss outside of Central Perk, only to have Rachel find a list comparing her to Ross’ ex-girflriend — their relationship blossomed following “The One With the Prom” episode, when Rachel found out that Ross almost stepped in for her flaky prom date years ago.

Then came the dreaded “break.” Because of Ross’ insane jealously over Rachel’s coworker Mark, who simply wanted to help her career-wise, the pair decided to take a break. Ross almost immediately finds solace in the girl from the copy place, and when word of his indiscretion reached Rachel,they called it quits, leaving both with a broken heart.

The initial, post-breakup awkwardness gave way to their renewed friendship — and at the end of season 3, they almost rekindled the flame. But Ross was not ready to assume all responsibility for cheating on Rachel, and they were off again.

At the end of season 4, after realizing she’s still in love with him, Rachel raced to London to tell Ross how she really felt and stop his wedding to Emily. She reached the church before the ceremony began, but when she saw Ross kissing Emily, she decided not to be selfish. “I just needed to tell you, congratulations,” she said to him. She only wanted him to be happy. He, of course,was not over Rachel, and said her name at the altar instead of Emily’s. That’s one huge Freudian slip.

Over the next few seasons, their romance was on hold, but sparks of the Rachel-Ross dynamic still burned. He ultimately chose staying friends with Rachel over saving his marriage to Emily. They drunkenly tied the knot in Vegas, which caused Ross to later admit he never thought he’d be divorcing her. After Monica and Chandler announced their engagement, Ross and Rachel tried to hook up again for their “bonus night.” (Monica foiled their plan, accusing Rachel of stealing her thunder.) They had a baby together. Ross awkwardly tried but ultimately couldn’t accept Joey and Rachel’s burgeoning romance. (Thankfully, that ended quickly.) And in the end, instead of moving to Paris, Rachel got off the plane to be with Ross.

Ross and Rachel were best friends who were never far from each other’s minds. And though it took 10 seasons for them to get their act together, when they finally did, it was sweet satisfaction.

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The Greatest TV Romance Tournament:

Round 1, part 1

Round 1, part 2

Round 1, part 3

Round 1, part 4

Round 2, part 1

Round 2, part 2

Round 2, part 3

Round 2, part 4

Sweet 16 round

Elite 8 round

Final 4 round

The Finals