Netflix is exposing a whole new generation to classic sitcoms – and they’re not standing up very well to modern sensibilities.
First, people were shocked when rewatching Friends and suddenly seeing it as full of transphobia and homophobia – as well as the frequent fat shaming of young Monica.
Now, the lens has been focused on British comedy juggernaut Only Fools And Horses.
The show first aired in 1981 and briefly enraged Telegraph readers in 2010 when the BBC edited out all the controversial bits.
Netflix took a different direction and have chosen to air the sitcom unedited.
As the famous L.P. Hartley quote goes; ‘The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.’
Well, in the 1980s they also had some pretty strong views about foreign countries and the people who live there.
Now, people rewatching the show have called it out for being ‘racist’:
I meeeean…have you seen only fools and horses? Horrifically racist and that was broadcast in my lifetime. Society moves on from the viewpoints shown in cherished TV shows. pic.twitter.com/AH2LCf8qNO
— Meg (@MegVClark) January 19, 2018
Didn't notice it at the time but Only Fools and Horses was racist as fuck. Looks quite shocking when you watch it now.
— Gav. (@NivagNyllewell) October 15, 2017
I forgot how racist Only Fools and Horses was, totally over my head when I was little.
— Graveyard girl💀 (@rach__hell) August 19, 2017
To give you a flavour of the sort of thing people are offended by, in one scene Del Boy is plying his cheeky cockney charms down the market to sell watches.
His sales patter ends with the awkward line:
Giving them away for ten pounds each, there you go. Fifteen quid to the black bloke, can’t say fairer than that.
The bizarre and unnecessary calling out of race for laughs is quite shocking to those of us not raised in the 70s.
In another recurring and controversial line Del Boy also used to ‘pop down to the Paki shop’ – undeniably racist language which has been completely unacceptable my whole adult life.
Despite this language, some viewers have defended the show, including the suitably cockney-sounding Dodgy Dave:
Not sure if Dave didn’t undermine his own point somewhat with some offensive language of his own there (I’ve censored the bad word in case you’re a millennial snowflake)?
Quite a few people have taken to Twitter to defend Only Fools And Horses from the accusation of racism.
I can see their point some people are possibly taking things a bit far by throwing around the racism term.
While the show does undoubtedly use terms and opinions unacceptable nowadays, it feels like there are much more dangerous and violent forms of racism which should be combated.
However, we probably shouldn’t tolerate any form of racism – no matter how slight – if we want to live in a world where everyone feels welcome and included.
Yet there’s an argument censoring the past means we won’t learn from it.
If you’re offended by Only Fools and Horses, maybe give Dad’s Army a miss?