If there’s one iconic show that comes to mind when discussing American sitcoms, it’s Friends.
The show ran for ten seasons, from 1994 to 2004, and became a huge pop culture phenomenon. It made its cast household names, and no doubt influenced the comedy series’ that followed (How I Met Your Mother somehow comes to mind).
But alas, time moves on, and as millennials have grown older, the show has found itself underneath their critical eye. Many have argued that some of the jokes don’t work so well anymore, often appearing homophobic, sexist, transphobic, and fat-shaming in nature. Meanwhile, others have suggested that said viewers should appreciate Friends and its jokes in the context it was made and that the jokes harbored no ill-intent.
One such man who shares the latter view is David Schwimmer, who played Ross Geller for the duration of the series. In an interview with The Guardian, the actor admitted he “didn’t care” about the criticism the show was getting in modern times.
“The truth is also that show was groundbreaking in its time for the way in which it handled so casually sex, protected sex, gay marriage, and relationships,” he said.
“The pilot of the show was my character’s wife left him for a woman and there was a gay wedding, of my ex and her wife, that I attended.”
He felt that “a lot of the problem today in so many areas is that so little is taken in context. You have to look at it from the point of view of what the show was trying to do at the time.”
Regardless, the Friends star revealed he was “pushing” for more diverse casting behind the scenes, in particular, regard to Ross Geller’s girlfriends throughout the series. It was this push that led the character to date an African-American and Asian-American woman in the show. He also praised the show’s treatment of Judaism and Hanukkah and the “differences in religious observation.”
Schwimmer also revealed that the Friends cast still remains in touch, having recently had a reunion dinner at the house of Courtney Cox, who played Monica on the show.
Do you think David Schwimmer has a point? Do you believe Friends handled these issues well? Share your thoughts in the comments below!