STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING, everyone, because this plot twist is about to blow your brain space: apparently there was a reference to Parks And Recreation on Friends way back in Season 7, and it's that Ben Wyatt slept with Rachel Green. DON'T BELIEVE ME? The proof is in my Netflix binging, y'all. For so long everyone has made fun of my secret old person self for watching Friends with the captions on, but this time it paid off on Episode 9, Season 7 of Friends, "The One With All The Candy." If you need a refresher (laaaaame), that's the one where Rachel finally starts hooking up with her assistant, and they spend ~all night~ coming up with a plan to make sure it doesn't interfere with her work. When Monica pries about what they were really up to, Rachel says, "You know I don't sleep with men on the first date," at which point Monica, being the BFF that she is, starts listing names: "Matt Wire, Mark Lynn, Ben Wyatt ... "
BEN. WYATT. GUYS!!
Basically at some point in the '90s either Rachel took a skiing trip (?) to Minnesota, or Ben went to New York Comic-Con, and their paths must have crossed and altered the fates of primetime comedies FOREVER. Thank all that is awkward that they ended up with their OTPs in the end, because I'm going to be real honest here, guys, I'm pretty sure they might have eaten each other alive.
But that wasn't the case on one special night. BEHOLD the proof, which you can now never unsee:
(I went ahead and added the Leslie Knope pic and I would really like some Internet praise for managing to make this graphic, because anybody who knows me also knows that I am hella incompetent when it comes to pictures.)
So why didn't it work out between Ben and Rachel? Aside from the obvious (DESTINY), here are a few reasons why it might have gone down in flames:
1. Rachel Found Out About Ice Town And Ghosted Him
This was right around when the Internet was starting to become a thing, and I'm guessing the first hit under Ben's name would have been the infamous, "Ice Town Costs Ice Clown His Town Crown."
2. Ben Discovered That Rachel Didn't Like Calzones
Something he was willing to overlook for his soulmate Leslie, but certainly not for Rachel. Womp!
3. A Future Version Of Leslie Knope Ripped A Hole In The Time Space Continuum To Prevent It From Happening
If anybody could, it would be Leslie Freaking Knope. So I'm gonna go with that.
In any case, we can all sit back and pretend we're not low key envisioning what ~one night in paradise~ between an early twenties Rachel and Ben would have looked like. Just kidding. I can't unsee it. I've got definite money on the idea that he called her the Galadriel at one point, and if anybody needs me, I'll be washing my brain with soap to make that idea disappear FOREVER. Ben x Leslie remain my OTP 'til death and/or the end of Parks And Recreation syndication do them part.
Images: NBC (4); Giphy (3)