Oh would you look at that, millennials have absolutely no banter.
I’m no Mystic Meg but when I heard Netflix was planning to roll out Friends to its users, I knew that a bunch of 12-year-olds would watch it and start beefing about the show’s ‘problematic’ tendencies.
Why? Because Ross was a very fragile male and enjoyed making gay jokes to make himself feel better, Monica was teased about being fat, Joey thought with his cock, and Chandler near-enough blacklisted his dad after he became a woman.
That, and the fact the ‘friends’ isolated themselves from any other people (bizarre for twentysomethings living in New York) and barely know any POC.
Admittedly it’s not a ‘perfectly-woke’ show but what is? Pretty much any comedy, whether it’s Seinfeld or The Office or even something as twee as The Big Bang Theory has its awkward elements.
This isn’t the first wave of post-Friends criticism. Back in 2015, Slate slated the homophobia of Chandler Bing, saying:
In retrospect, the entire show’s treatment of LGBTQ issues is awful, a fault pointedly illustrated by the exhaustive clip-compilation ‘Homophobic Friends.’ But Chandler’s treatment of his gay father, a Vegas drag queen played by Kathleen Turner, is especially appalling, and it’s not clear the show knows it.
It’s one thing for Chandler to recall being embarrassed as a kid, but he is actively resentful and mocking of his loving, involved father right up until his own wedding (to which his father is initially not invited!).
Even a line like ‘Hi, Dad’ is delivered with vicious sarcasm. Monica eventually cajoles him into a grudging reconciliation, which the show treats as an acceptably warm conclusion. But his continuing discomfort now reads as jarringly out-of-place for a supposedly hip New York thirtysomething—let alone a supposedly good person, period.
When it comes to women, Chandler turns out to be just as retrograde as Joey, but his lust comes with an undercurrent of the kind of bitter desperation that I now recognize as not only gross, but potentially menacing.
Chandler is painted as a self-loathing loser with women, until he finally snags Monica at the end of Season 4: He was 19 when he first touched a woman’s breasts, for example.
And so, it’s Chandler who suggests deciding ‘who has the nicest ass’ in the ski trip episode in Season 3. It’s Chandler who chooses a roommate because his sister is a porn star. And it’s Chandler who for years dates Janice, a woman he openly loathes. Janice is repellent, but well-adjusted people don’t have trouble staying out of relationships with repellent ones.
No one told you life was gonna be this way.