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Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman has revealed if she were to remake the iconic sitcom today, things would be very different.
When all 10 seasons landed on Netflix in 2014, and younger generations began watching it for the very first time, it became abundantly clear that while Friends will always be a classic, there were certain aspects of the show that hadn’t aged well.
While some of the cast have addressed the lack of diversity in the show, Kauffman has now admitted that it was a mistake to cast an entirely white main cast on a show set in multicultural New York City.
Speaking on panel of the virtual 2020 ATX TV festival, Kauffman held back tears and apologised for not doing more to promote diversity on the show.
‘I wish I knew then what I knew today, I would have made very different decisions, she said, as per Deadline. ‘We’ve always encouraged people of diversity in our company, but I didn’t do enough. Now all I can think about is what can I do, what can I do differently. How can I run my show in a new way? That’s something I wish I knew when I started showrunning but all the way up through last year.’
David Schwimmer and Lisa Kudrow both previously discussed the issue in separate interviews, where they also recognised that the show would need to be very different if it were produced today.
In January, Schwimmer admitted that he was always aware of the lack of diversity – something which he tried to amend with the addition of new characters.
‘I was well aware of the lack of diversity,’ he said. ‘One of the first girlfriends I had on the show was an Asian American woman, and later I dated African American women. That was a very conscious push on my part.’
Then, in May, Kudrow revealed she believed Friends would be ‘completely different’ if it aired today.
‘It would not be an all-white cast, for sure,’ she said. ‘I’m not sure what else, but to me, it should be looked at as a time capsule, not for what they did wrong.’
Their comments come in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, which has shone a light on how black and ethnic minority people are represented in the media. The protests have served as a catalyst in making us all recognise our privileges and what we can do to combat systemic racism.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
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