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6 Reasons “Friends” Would Never Air if it Was Written Today

Updated on June 18, 2018
Amelia Armstrong profile image

Amelia is a dentist living in New Zealand. Her hobbies include horse riding and writing about topics that interest her.

Almost everyone in the English-speaking world is aware of the iconic TV situation comedy Friends. Ten series, which aired ten years from 1994 to 2004, captured the hearts of millions of viewers worldwide.

With laugh-a-minute comedy, likable characters, and storylines that kept the loyalty of fans even years after its final episode, Friends is considered to be one of the best sitcoms of all time.

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But would this iconic TV show make it to our screens if it was written today? Let's pretend for a moment that actors Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, Courtney Cox, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, and Matt LeBlanc were at the same age and career level they were in 1994 and ready to play the six main characters. Would Friends hit the same scale of popularity as it did back then?

I say that in our current climate of political correctness that the answer is "no," and here are six reasons why.

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1. All the Main Characters are White

There is no way, in our current climate, that an all-white cast would be accepted for the show, especially as it is located in New York, one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world.

With all six characters appearing in every episode, can you imagine the articles released on Tempest, Buzzfeed, and every other left-wing website after the first one was aired? No, if Friends came out today, at least one of the six main friends would have to be black or Asian.

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2. None of the Characters are Gay

With the exception of Phoebe, all of the characters in Friends are heterosexual. Many people guess that Chandler is gay because of certain "qualities" he has, which is received with insistent denial. This was perfectly normal behaviour for the '90s, but would cause a massive uproar if it happened today.

Phoebe's bisexuality is never officially announced or discussed, which means that it fell off the radar for many viewers. A lot of the clues were hidden in comedy so viewers assumed they were just jokes. People would definitely kick off at the lack of homosexual main characters in this show if it was released now.

3. "Offensive" Jokes

Almost anything can be considered offensive nowadays and there is no way that gags about homosexuals and trans people would go down with today's easily upset audience. Jack Geller, in particular, makes many comments about Chandler's transsexual father that would make Buzzfeed explode.

Some examples of this are the many jokes made by Ross and Monica's father, Jack, about various things such as trans people and the fun poked at Monica's childhood obesity. Ms Mojo highlights ten "offensive" jokes in Friends.

4. Ross' Treatment of Women

Ross and Rachel were the iconic couple of this show. However, many have argued that Ross' treatment of Rachel, and other women he dates throughout the series, is unacceptable. He is jealous and possessive and doesn't even really like her having a career of her own that takes up time he believes she should be spending with him.

In the final episode, she turns down the opportunity to move to Paris for work to come back and be with him. Some would say that this was poor writing, encouraging women to give up their dreams for their man. Others can argue that Rachel shouldn't have left for Paris when she and Ross had a baby together anyway.

Ross also gets jealous of one of his girlfriends going to Spring Break with a skimpy bikini. Since third-wave feminism came along, men can't openly treat women like this, so there's no way this kind of behaviour would make it to our screens.

5. Joey

Joey embodies everything that third-wave feminism hates. He is a "player." He likes to date multiple women at once, sleep with them, and then proceed to never call them again. He only goes for women who are physically beautiful. This behaviour is never criticised by other characters and he is never "punished" for it.

Some would argue this is sexist and it would never make the final script in the 2010s without him "learning his lesson" or at least finding love with someone unattractive to help him see the error of his ways.

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6. "Fat Shaming" and "Slut Shaming"

Monica was fat as a child and a teenager, and this is brought up a lot throughout the Friends episodes when characters poked fun at her size. Monica is also the butt of many slut-shaming jokes, especially in the very first episode when she sleeps with a guy on the first date or discusses her previous sexual partners with her love interest, Richard.

Back then, it was fine to tease your friends because people didn't get offended so easily. Now, thanks to the rise of the bizarre Fat Acceptance movement, people would go up in arms if Monica's childhood obesity was treated as anything other than normal.

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Friends was written at exactly the right time for its content and thankfully let us enjoy and laugh without being reprimanded, something that is sadly lacking in this new age of political correctness. You can still watch the full, unedited version of Friends on Netflix, so you can decide for yourself if the show is truly "offensive" or not.

Fans of this great show are still going to enjoy this show and the nostalgia of the '90s and early 2000s it brings.

© 2018 LibertasAnimo

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    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      8 weeks ago from Norfolk, England

      This is a show I couldn't really get into when it was on telly. I know it was very popular at the time though.

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      8 weeks ago

      This is a well-written article. As a non-American fan of the series, I have often found many of the jokes offensive, yet I always thought of it as a great stress buster. I somehow feel that in today's world people seem to take offense at the drop of a hat, and in the process, ignore all the positive things. There are many positive elements even surrounding the points you mentioned, and after all, the series was about common people and their daily lives, so it is okay if everything is not ideal, just like reality is. If a series like GOT has such a huge fan base, in my opinion FRIENDS was a lot better. End of the day, it is only entertainment, not to be taken so seriously, which is why your last paragraph makes a lot of sense.

      Welcome to Hubpages, happy sharing!

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