The sitcom Friends was way ahead of its time, in that it broke gender stereotypes and defied social norms at the time when it aired. It was an exemplary show in many ways, but there are definitely certain plotlines that sound insensitive and callous in present times.
“I Am Glad You Smashed Her Watch.”
Then, Monica has a date with Paul the wine guy, someone she has wanted to go out with for a while. Things start off on the right foot except, on their date, Paul badmouths his ex, says he broke her watch to get through the tough time and lies about not being able to be intimate with anyone ever since. After hearing all this, Monica says she’s happy Paul smashed her ex’s watch, which is not only poor breakup etiquette but also a major red flag.
“Oh, I Was Hoping You Wouldn’t Remember.”
Not only was it downright creepy for Ross’s younger sister to keep this piece of information safe in her memory for years, but it was creepier to watch her bring it up first. Of all the people, even Chandler, who was Ross’s college roommate and had no idea, Monica did and had no reservations about letting people know she knew.
“I Swear I Have Seen Birds Do This On Wild Kingdom.”
And even though it sounded like a harmless joke coming from Monica, the fact of the matter is, the tendency to make fun of certain gestures stems from rigid social conventions surrounding body language. Rachel and her friends’ loudness was met with immediate distaste, and Monica made fun of it, not once, but twice. The question remains, why could the men in Central Perk could be as loud and carefree as they wanted, but women couldn’t?
“Wow, I Thought She Became A Sl*T After She Got Her Nose Fixed.”
Even though it was a long time ago, and Ross had so much going on in his life, he couldn’t let it go because it was also the same night he’d kissed Rachel for the first time. He rushed to confront her and soon as Monica heard her best friend had kissed two guys in a night, she shamed her for an experience she said was “wild.” The only thing wild about the whole story was Monica’s tendency to criticize people every time she thought they violated her expectations of behavior, and this slut-shaming definitely wouldn’t be okay today.
“Oh, Leather Pants! Have Mercy!”
Aside from the fact that Monica blatantly objectified the men here, she also challenged some moral ground by flirting with them while married. Remember, too, that these were the same people her friend, Joey, had a working relationship with. Chandler flirted with other women too, but never with such blatant disregard for his marriage.
“Chandler Has Two Copies Of Annie!”
Every time Chandler did something that did not adhere strictly to masculine norms, it ended up diminishing his manhood in the eyes of others. Sometimes he was mocked for it by his very own wife in front of their friends.
“No, I Haven’t Seen Your Pink Shirt.”
She repeats the words “pink shirt,” confirming once again to viewers she believes in rigid masculine stereotypes. It’s season 8 by then and it looks like Monica’s character refuses to look past dated social and gender norms and obsolete beliefs.
“My God, What Did She Eat? Her Family?”
Not only was Monica’s question irrelevant, but it was also wildly inappropriate, considering she’d gone through a similar experience. She was body-shamed during her high school years, and later in life by her friends whenever the subject of their childhood came up. Sadly, the adult Monica had become a person who seem to have a distinct lack of empathy.
“Phoebe, You Do A Buttonhook Again.”
The episode rests on the stereotype that women are bad at sports and the only way to beat men at sports is to flash them. So when Phoebe asks their strategy, Monica comes up with the glorious plan involving their sexuality as their first and only resort.
“Matt Wire, Mark Lynn, Ben Wyatt …”
The issue isn’t Monica’s prying behavior, considering the six friends were a co-dependent group, however, it is being unable to control her verbal impulses. Monica’s not-so-funny revelation is a major breach of Rachel’s trust.