Netizens Say that ‘Friends’ is Overrated and Problematic, Which Led to Some Serious Arguments

This Reddit User took it to herself after the Reunion and said things about Friends that Make Hardcore Fans Like Us very angry.

Yes, I’m aware that it gave birth to the most popular late-twentieth-century hairstyle. Yes, I am aware that Jennifer Aniston rose to fame as a result of her role in “Friends.” Of course, you think “Friends” is a classic American television show.

Breaking news: Just because something is iconic or legendary enough to be called a classic doesn’t mean it’s actually good. It doesn’t mean it has to be brought back to life.

Indeed, it’s possible that we’ve romanticised something that’s otherwise mediocre to the point where we’ve given it more life and credit than it deserves. Matthew Perry is of the same opinion.

My main gripe with “Friends” is the following.

It should just be called ‘White Friends’

Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe are the six people we’re supposed to be rooting for at the centre of this nightmare. For the record, you could tell me any of those men’s names and I’d believe you; they’re even more interchangeable and unremarkable than Hollywood’s 900 white “hunks” named Chris.

Will they really be there for you, to quote the theme song? I’m not going to trust them.

“Friends” is so white that there’s an incredible (albeit brief) YouTube rap video dedicated to the few black actors who have speaking roles in the show. Keep in mind that while this YouTube video is only four minutes long, “Friends” was on the air for over a decade.

Few storylines centred on nonwhite people during those ten years of personal hell. Those who did so did so on purpose, as evidenced by Aisha Tyler’s often-overlooked guest appearance on the show directed by Sheldon Epps, a black man. This, according to The Washington Post, was part of a deliberate effort.

Gabrielle Union appeared as a guest star in the episode “The One With The Cheap Wedding Dress,” which she later wrote about in her memoir “We’re Going to Need More Wine.”

Union said she enjoyed working with the cast, but dealing with the episode’s director was a different storey.

Union wrote, “The director was a regular, he did a lot of episodes.” “He rehearsed the scene with David Schwimmer, Matt Perry, and extras. Then he turned around to face me, and his tone abruptly changed.”

Union went on to say that the director spoke to her in a “condescending” manner, which she described as “telling.” Union wrote in her book, “I thought, No wonder you don’t have black talent on this show,” despite not naming the episode’s director, Kevin Bright, who Union chose not to name in her book but who IMDb lists as Kevin Bright.

It shows through when the people behind the scenes are unable to direct, collaborate, or create in a way that values diversity.

This is also true in terms of the writers’ room.

Fans of “Living Single” have noticed a number of unsettling parallels between the two shows’ storylines and subjects, to the point where accusations of copying have become commonplace.

According to Bossip, Queen Latifah discussed how “Friends” unsettlingly whitewashed and appropriated the “Living Single” storyline.

“Shortly after ‘Living Single,’ they asked Warren Littlefield, who was president of NBC at the time, if he could have new show on television, which one would it be?” Latifah said. “‘Living Single,’ he said, and it was in the newspaper. Then there’s ‘Friends,’ which was a fantastic show.”

Jay-Z later used the music video for his song “Moonlight” to express a similar sentiment. He used an all-black cast, which included breakout star Tiffany Haddish, to make a powerful statement about Hollywood’s systematic whitewashing of urban spaces, and to reimagine “Friends” in a much more diverse way.

If there’s one way ‘Friends’ tried to wade into the diversity waters, it’s with LGBTQ issues.

Unfortunately, the toe-dipping didn’t turn into a full-fledged fountain-dancing routine, but rather a puddle of muddled, uncomfortable storylines and misfires dressed up as jokes. Play the laugh track now.

The show’s portrayal of Chandler’s father is particularly disturbing. His father was referred to as a drag queen and gay by Cosmopolitan, but he was later revealed to be transgender. Chandler’s mother, whose father is divorced, makes a suggestive joke about whether or not her ex-husband can fit into a dress due to his genitals, which are also the subject of speculation throughout the show.

At several points throughout the series, Chandler is the target of gay jokes. “Homophobic Friends,” a YouTube documentary project, documented every instance of microaggressive or overtly homophobic jokes that used a laugh track.

GLAAD later honoured the show with awards and accolades for its portrayals of LGBTQ people. The wedding of Ross’ ex-wife and her partner, which was a hot topic at the time.

We’ve learned and grown since then. Why should we laugh as if we don’t know better when these things are no longer amusing? We shouldn’t be forced to use the excuse “Oh, it was the 1990s!” as an excuse for bad behaviour.

Finally, the show revolves around six straight white people. To top it off, they’re six straight, white, and wealthy people, which makes it even less relatable.

The show’s building attracts a lot of tourists, and any New Yorker can tell just by looking at it. It’s a show that pretends to be relatable, even aspirational, all while the characters live in apartments that they could only afford in real life if they were making a lot of money.

Overall, “Friends” represents the uninformed privilege of the 1990s, and it belongs in that era, its legacy being that it was a fantastically mediocre show that inspired a wave of undue popularity and major paydays.

Here’s what you should watch instead

The previously mentioned “Living Single” is available for purchase on Amazon Video or iTunes and is a very similar concept to “Friends,” but it is exponentially better, with more diversity and realistic characters.

From the same era, “My So-Called Life” is a cult classic. It follows a teenager named Angela Chase as she navigates high school and the issues that come with it, such as drugs, sex, homophobia, censorship, and infidelity. Despite its seriousness, the show is also hopeful, funny, and heartwarming. On iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu, YouTube, and Google Play, “My So-Called Life” is available.

Yes, you can complete that sentence entirely by singing the theme song. “Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air” isn’t available on any of the usual streaming services.

It appears that you have some binge-watching to do. Invite some friends over, and hopefully they’ll become addicted as well. There’s no need for leather couches or fountains.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.