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The One With The Long Goodbye

After May 6, they'll no longer be there for us. Is Rachel moving to Paris? Is Phoebe going to be a mom? Is Monica? Here's what we've heard -- and whether or not we believe it

David Schwimmer, Friends, ... | ADIEU Will Rachel and Ross go separate ways?
Image credit: Friends: Warner Bros. TV
ADIEU Will Rachel and Ross go separate ways?

The ''Friends'' finale (NBC, May 6, 8-10 p.m.) is weeks away, but rumors about how it all ends are already filling Internet message boards. The cast isn't dropping many hints, though David Schwimmer told the AP that the characters all ''end up with a sense of a new beginning'' -- whatever that means. Here's what we've heard, as well as what we'd like to see, when Phoebe, Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, and Joey bid us a tearful adieu -- at least until they all stop by Matt LeBlanc's spin-off ''Joey,'' which debuts in the fall. WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!

JOEY

THE BACKGROUND We know he's moving to L.A. -- the location of his NBC spin-off, ''Joey,'' where he'll live with a sister (''The Sopranos''' Drea de Matteo) as he tries to advance his acting career.
RUMOR HAS IT That soon after arriving in L.A., he'll fall for the unhappily married girl next door.
DO WE BUY IT? Sure. Audiences have never loved Joey more than when he pined for another unattainable love, Rachel.
IF WE WERE IN CHARGE... In our perfect finale, Joey would nab the role of the Fonz in a big-screen version of ''Happy Days'' (sample dialogue: ''How you doin'?'' ''Ayyyy!''...) and find true love with Erika (Brooke Shields), his obsessed, finger-lickin' fan.

RACHEL AND ROSS

THE BACKGROUND After Rachel lost her cush job at Ralph Lauren, a chance meeting with an old friend lead to a job offer at Louis Vuitton. In Paris.
RUMOR HAS IT That Rachel accepts the job, despite Ross rushing to the airport to propose marriage. But everybody knows it's a gal's prerogative to change her mind (hint hint).
DO WE BUY IT? Maybe. A desperate airport proposal sounds about right for these two, who always seem to be coming together (and falling apart) at the most inopportune moments.
IF WE WERE IN CHARGE... We've been waiting for 10 years for this! Let's do it right! Forget the airport! Give us a proposal atop the Eiffel Tower with rose petals and violins. Let Rachel take the job in Paris (c'mon, it's LOUIS VUITTON!), and have Ross dig for le dinosaur at Versailles. Little Emma will develop the cutest French accent, non?

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