Friends is undoubtedly one of the most popular TV sitcoms of all time, but in the 26 years since it debuted, many things have changed in society.
Here are 11 occasions when the show’s creators highlighted some of its more problematic aspects in response to co-creator Marta Kauffman’s most recent remarks on how the program has aged:
1. Marta recently expressed guilt over incorrectly gendering Chandler’s trans mom throughout the series.
2. In a prior interview with Gay Times in 2018, Chandler’s parent, Kathleen Turner, said, “I don’t think [the program] has aged well. A sitcom lasts 30 minutes. Although it grew popular, no one ever regarded it as a societal commentary.
3. Marta recently pledged $4 million to Brandeis University’s African and African American studies division as part of her apology for the show’s lack of diversity.
4. Marta has also previously expressed regret over an episode in which Brad Pitt’s character circulated the false rumor that Rachel was a “hermaphrodite,” a term that intersex campaigners have decried for being derogatory and inaccurate.
5. She added that she regretted a scene in which Phoebe dated her sister’s stalker in 2019.
6. Executive producer Kevin Bright stated last year that he had no regrets over the significant casting of the show, saying, “If I had not hired those six actors, I would have been mad. How shall I put it? I want Lisa to be black. This cast has my heart. Both the show and the experience were fantastic. I’m aware that Marta feels otherwise about it. We are all affected, I believe.”
7. In 2020, Lisa Kudrow praised the program for being “extremely progressive” at the time, but she opined that it “would not be an all-white cast” now. She continued, “To me, [Friends] should be viewed as a time capsule, not for what they did incorrectly.
8. David Schwimmer disregarded the show’s complaints earlier the same year. “He told the Guardian, “I don’t care. The truth is that the way the program treated sex, defended sex, supported gay marriage, and handled relationships was revolutionary at the time.”
9. Courteney Cox declared that portraying “Fat Monica” was one of her favorite aspects of the program, even though it has been condemned as one of the most complex components of the show. She remarked in 2020, “I enjoyed playing overweight Monica because I felt so liberated.
10. Matt LeBlanc refuted that Friends was about anything in 2018. “I’ve heard those things too about people taking jabs at Friends, but I don’t want to delve into it,” she replied. I reject everything you said.”
11. Lastly, in 2021, co-creator David Crane expressed regret over how the lesbian wedding was handled. He said, “I was glad that Carol and Susan were married, but looking back, my only wish is that we had told that story more from their point of view.
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