I’ve rarely met anyone who isn’t a fan of the iconic TV show ‘Friends’, because come on, it’s the greatest sitcom of all time, and that’s not just me saying it, it has officially been ranked as one. We still sit and watch all the reruns on Comedy Central all the time (I honestly record all the episodes on TV because ‘Friends’ is the best thing to watch while eating dinner) because it’s still that funny to watch as it was the first time.
But, with ‘Friends’ coming on Netflix recently, there were so many people who watched the show for the first time and obviously it was well received by most of them. But there were still people out there pointing out all the problematic things about the show. Okay, I agree anything and everything can be problematic at some point but watching a show from the 90s keeping today’s time in mind can be a bit of an unfair comparison.
It’s such a loved and relatable show that we still happily watch it and it has withstood the test of time flawlessly; it did not do that by being ‘so problematic and offensive’.
The show has been accused of a number of different things – sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and fat shaming. Okay, let’s break all of them down. The fat shaming part is obviously related to the running gag of ‘Fat Monica’ and poking fun at her weight. The transphobia comes from the fact that Chandler was ashamed of his drag-queen dad. Remember when Ross couldn’t believe that a guy was a nanny, and then just assumed he was gay because of his profession? That’s the sexism accusations. And, lastly the show is being called homophobic because Chandler was paranoid about being perceived as a gay man.
Wow, that was a lot!
Now, let’s move on to Matt LeBlanc’s reply, because that is what we’re here for. Disagreeing with all the criticism, he said, “I’ve heard those rumours too about people taking pot shots at Friends, but I don’t want to get into that. I disagree with all that. I see young people enjoying and loving the show. Everyone gets up in arms about one thing or another these days. I think that will go as quickly as it came. I don’t think it’s something Friends will be judged by.”
He went on, “On Top Gear we tend to steer clear of any sort of political content, nothing too topical. On Friends we steered clear of that kind of thing, too. Friends was about themes that stand the test of time – trust, love, relationships, betrayal, family and things like that.”
Well, we’re still talking about ‘Friends’, even 14 years after it went off air, so I guess that’s all the proof you need about how it can stand the test of time.