Ever since Friends came to Netflix, a generation of viewers who are re-watching the comedy have raised a big question: could it BE any more homophobic or sexist?
Despite being arguably the defining series of the 90s, on second viewing some fans have felt a little uncomfortable about storylines such as Ross being unable to handle having a male nanny, Monica being ‘fat-shamed’ by other characters, Chandler being paranoid of people thinking he’s gay and the series’ general lack of diverse casting.
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Ross is unbelievably homophobic in the episode with the male nanny #friends
— darpan (@_UhHuhHoney) February 15, 2018
I totally forgot how homophobic it could be at times…mainly looking at Ross here! Which is ironic given how camp he could be at times! Man I always hated Ross! ????????????
— Brokenspell (@brokenspell77) January 23, 2018
MONICA IN HER FAT SUIT IS LIKE A 16 MAX. I hate the fat shaming narrative so so so much. She should have stayed that size and married someone who wasn’t an ass! #fatshaming #monicadeservedbetter #friends
— Rev Hannah Mary Richardson (@hannahmary8890) February 4, 2018
The discussion has not gone unnoticed by the stars of the show either.
“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,” Top Gear host and former Joey actor Matt Le Blanc told BBC News.
“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.”
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Kathleen Turner, who played Chandler’s transgender Vegas drag queen Dad on the sitcom – a character that’s mocked by the cast – has also given her verdict on the backlash.
“I don’t think it’s aged well. It was a 30-minute sitcom. It became a phenomenon, but no one ever took it seriously as a social comment,” she told Gay Times.
This isn’t the first time Friends stars have answered questions homophobia. Back in 2016, series co-creator David Crane, who is gay, was quizzed about Chandler’s mocking of his dad.
“He has his own anxieties and issues, but I don’t think the character was homophobic in the least,” he told the Chicago Tribune.
Friends is available to watch now on Netflix