So no one told you life was gonna be this way? [clap, clap, clap, clap] Well, let me tell you something, it turns out that millennials are not digging the overdue arrival of the hit 90’s show F.R.I.E.N.D.S on Netflix. It turns out that there’s a lot of content in the storylines that people are now deeming as inappropriate or offensive.
That’s right, in a rather strange turn of events for those who were part of the ‘Friends‘ generation of television, it’s hard to think that those younger than us are not feeling its humour in today’s climate. I guess it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month or even your year (sorry, I’ll stop now).
For over decades, Friends has been one of the best-loved sitcoms of a generation. We still look back on it fondly, we even jump back in to watch episodes despite the fact the finale was in 2004. And now, after many pleas, Netflix UK finally added Friends to its already impressive collection at the end of 2017. But it turns out that not everyone is digging the show quite as much as we once did. Now, a new and much more sensitive audience are saying that they won’t be there for you.
Millennial viewers who were too young for Friends when it first aired are now looking at the show in a different light. Some people have even been turning to Twitter to vent their frustrations to some of the show’s content and more problematic plot points.
I’m not even a diehard Friends fan, but as someone that enjoyed the show, I find it baffling that people may deem some of the lovable narratives to be offensive. It seemed like such a cheery show at the time, but like most things, they age and as time moves on, people find the subject matter to be dated.
I’m sure you all look back fondly at shows like Looney Tunes, but I guarantee that you will have forgotten about most of the racial stereotypes. But enough about the rant, let’s see what it is that’s really giving millennials the internet rage.
Monica Geller who was played by Courtney Cox was a stunning woman who had the ultimate New York apartment and the culinary skills of a goddess. But despite all her successes, her friends and brother can’t seem to drop the fact that she used to be fat. In one clip, Joey is shocked to see her in a home movie shouting “Some girl ate Monica!”.
I’m sure you all remember ‘Fat Monica’ dancing with a bagel or struggling with beanbags, this story was a joke amongst the team as Courtney is a very beautiful and skinny woman so they wanted to create a character that was a contrast.
Needless to say, the new generation doesn’t take kindly to the fat’shaming behaviour of the show, dubbing it as ‘needlessly lazy and cruel’.
There was an ongoing joke about the uncertainty of Chandler’s sexuality in the early seasons of Friends. Chandler found it horrifying to learn that a lot of the women he knew assumed he was gay when they first met him. In fact, in one episode which was dominated by Chandler trying to prove he was straight after a co-worker tries to set him up with a man. Chandler even goes as far as hitting on a woman at his grandmother’s funeral as an opportunity arises to prove he isn’t.
And it wasn’t just Chandler, who had to ‘struggle’ with sexuality. When Ross’ ex leaves him for another woman, Ross can do nothing more than insult the fact that she’s a lesbian. Turning her sexual preferences into cheap laughs.
We now live in a world where Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns are a big part of our lives. Gender equality is at the forefront of conversation and sexual harassment in the workplace seems to be making waves in every industry around. Remember when Chandler is put in an increasingly awkward situation at work when a coworker keeps trying to seduce him, knowing that he has a fiancé?
Then there’s the one where Ross gets incredibly freaked out when Rachel hires a male nanny. Yep, a big nod to gender stereotypes here. In fact, Ross is so uncomfortable when interviewing the male nanny (who Chandler refers to as a ‘manny’) that he asks if he’s gay in the interview.
Now, was there ever a character more fabulous than Chandler Bing’s father? (Played by Hollywood A-lister, Katleen Turner) I don’t think there was (unless you count Janice or Gunther). But sadly, Chandler is deeply ashamed of his parents and throughout the whole 10 seasons, his parents have been used as the butt of a lot of jokes.
It turns out that Chandler’s father had an affair with the pool boy behind Chandler’s mother’s back. Not only that, Chandler’s dad is a drag queen, performing in Las Vegas for a show called ‘Viva Las Gay-gas’.
Sadly, there are a lot of transphobic jokes made at Chandler’s dad’s expense. It all seemed so innocent at the time, and maybe it still is, when you’re as fabulous as she was, who could say?
Lack of Diversity
Fans loved the introduction to Ross’ love interest, Charlie Wheeler (played by Aisha Tyler) but it got a lot of the modern audience to thinking. There really wasn’t that many black characters in Friends. “Sure there is, there was, erm… In one episode, erm…” I hear you try and reply. But apart from Charlie and the guy who played Mr Mosby in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody in one random episode, there really wasn’t that many.
But the gang were living in Downtown New York..? Surely there would be more African American characters in the show?
As you can imagine, this has definitely not gone unnoticed by millennials who are quick to vent their thoughts.
In the second season, Monica gets into a relationship with Dr Richard Burke (played by Tom Selleck). No big deal right? Well, Dr Burke’s character was 21 years older than Monica and was, in fact, her father’s best friend. After struggling to come to terms with their feelings, the pair enters a relationship which grows serious very fast. But Monica breaks up with him when he reveals he doesn’t want to have any more children at his age.
The storyline was somewhat controversial, with the gang mocking the age gap between them and referencing the fact that Monica and Rachel went to high school with his daughter. Now, people can be with whoever they want if I’m not mistaken? They’re both consenting adults and he treats her very nicely. Yet viewers were left baffled about why the age gap ever happened. Some going as far to say that the relationship was creepy as they felt Monica was being groomed by a friend of the family.
And Don’t Even Get Me Started On THIS!
Poor vegetarians, how will they cope with Monica shoving her head into a turkey’s rectum.
But no matter what people say, Friends was a big part of a lot of people’s lives. Yes, maybe some of their viewers a little behind the times now, but hey, times they are changing. Maybe people are a lot more sensitive nowadays? As a gay man, I still find Chandler’s questionable sexuality storyline funny. Many of my lesbian friends still laugh at the exchanged words between Ross and Carol. Different strokes for different folks I guess.