Many people who have rewatched the series and binge-watched it have discovered that many jokes that seemed funny at the time are now cringed or unsettling. Here are ten jokes from the series that have aged poorly, some specific and some long-running.
CHANDLER & JOEY BEING GROSSED OUT BY BREAST MILK
Chandler and Joey had no qualms about expressing their attraction to women. While it’s natural to notice people you like, the way they spoke about women was frequently objectifying. Joey was portrayed as a playboy who exploited women for their physical needs and then abandoned them.
ALL OF THE FAT JOKES ABOUT MONICA
Monica being fat in her youth is an overused, running gag for anyone who has seen more than a few episodes of the show. “I grew up in a house with Monica, okay,” Ross joked about her being overweight. You didn’t eat if you didn’t eat fast.”
THE MANY TIMES CHANDLER & JOEY HARASS WOMEN
This show has a lot of outdated views on dating and men and women. Chandler and Joey are frequently rude to the women in their lives, making numerous comments about their bodies. Chandler and Joey have even pretended to be other people to get women to sleep with them, which is a form of assault.
MAKING FUN OF CHANDLER’S TRANSGENDER FATHER
The way Chandler’s transgender father is discussed throughout the series is one of the most egregious examples of transphobia on Friends. Although Chandler’s father is only ever mentioned as a drag queen and gay on the show, series creator Marta Kauffman has confirmed that he was transgender.
ROSS NOT LETTING BEN PLAY WITH DOLLS
Ross is a character that the Internet despises, and it’s understandable why. He is frequently a lousy friend, partner, and even parent.
ROSS IS FREAKING OUT OVER A MALE NANNY
Ross demonstrates his antiquated gender views once again. He is perplexed when Rachel hires a male nanny to look after Emma. “What kind of job is that for a man— a nanny?” he says. It’s as if a woman aspired to be…” He has strong opinions about which jobs men and women should do. And he can’t stand the idea that a man could be capable of caring for children.
SO MANY GENDER STEREOTYPES
Gender stereotypes abound in Friends. To begin with, the gender roles are evident in Monica and Chandler’s relationship, as Chandler and the other men are always shown watching television and rarely helping with tasks such as cooking or cleaning.
HOW CAROL & SUSAN ARE PORTRAYED
This is another example of Friends’ problematic use of homophobic jokes to generate laughs. While it’s true that the show depicted a wedding between two women, the LGBTQA+ characters on the show were frequently the brunt of jokes.
BIG AGE GAPS IN MANY RELATIONSHIPS
Another recurring theme in the show is for characters to date significantly older or younger people than themselves. Monica has had a long relationship with Richard, although he grew up with her and was her eye doctor.
CHANDLER BEING SO WORRIED ABOUT BEING GAY
The running joke that Chandler might be gay is another example of the show’s homophobia. This is something that he is always concerned about. The entire gag is set up to make it seem like being gay is wrong.
People occasionally mistake Chandler for gay, which irritates and offends him. In this way, the show always used LGBTQA+ identities as a joke and never portrayed them positively.