Friends is arguably one of the most enduring TV series of all time. After all, it is still going undeniably strong since it first hit screens in 1995.
Netflix introduced the hit sitcom to a new generation of fans in 2015 (US) and later in 2018 for the UK. However, it has recently drawn criticism for ageing badly amongst Gen-Z viewers.
Jennifer Aniston, who famously played Rachel Greene for 10 seasons, recently opened up with AP News about the shift and how some scenes have left the youth of today grimacing.
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"There’s a whole generation of people, kids, who are now going back to episodes of Friends and find them offensive," Aniston said. "There were things that were never intentional and others… well, we should have thought it through — but I don’t think there was a sensitivity like there is now."
"You could joke about a bigot and have a laugh. That was hysterical. And it was about educating people on how ridiculous people were, and now we’re not allowed to do that," she complained.
Despite this, Aniston believes that the world could benefit from some humour right now, adding: "Everybody needs funny! The world needs humour! We can’t take ourselves too seriously. Especially in the United States. Everyone is far too divided."
Indy100 take a look back at some of the moments that have aged like milk.
Lack of diversity in lead roles
Friends has previously been called out for its lack of diversity, with Lisa Kudrow who played Phoebe, once making headlines for saying if the show was ever revived "it would not be an all-white cast."
"I feel like it was a show created by two people who went to Brandeis and wrote about their lives after college,” Kudrow told The Daily Beast. "And for shows especially, when it’s going to be a comedy that’s character-driven, you write what you know. They have no business writing stories about the experiences of being a person of colour."
As we well know, Friends followed the lives of six white, heterosexual people in New York.
The creator Marta Kauffman highlighted that she felt "embarrassed" by the lack of diversity, before pledging £3.2m ($4m) to fund an endowed chair at Brandeis University’s African and African American Studies department.
Chandler Bing's comments about his transgender parent
Chandler did not shy away from expressing his feelings about his "gay father" who was ridiculed in the show. In one scene, Chandler's mother asks her ex-partner: "Don’t you have a little too much penis to be wearing a dress like that?"
In season seven, the role of Charles Bing/Helena Handbasket was taken on by female actress Kathleen Turner. The show did not specify whether Chandler's parent was transgender, however, they continued to live life off the stage as a woman.
Creator Kauffman later confirmed that the character was indeed trans.
"I’ve learned a lot in the last 20 years," she told BBC’s radio show The Conversation, "Admitting and accepting guilt is not easy. It’s painful looking at yourself in the mirror. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know better 25 years ago."
Joey's attitude towards women
Joey's "harmless" sleazy attitude towards women soon became one of his "quirky" personality traits.
Many have called out the casual sexism of his character, with one specific scene showing Joey advertising for a "Female roommate, nonsmoker, non-ugly."
Monica and Richard's controversial relationship
Many aspects of Monica and Richard's relationship have left Gen-Z scratching their heads – and the 21-year age gap isn't necessarily the main cause for concern.
While they were both consenting adults of legal age, let's not forget, Richard was Monica's eye doctor, who also so happened to be her father's best friend.
Richard's daughter also went to school with Monica.
The fat shaming of Monica
Friends fans will be well aware of Monica's weight in her teens – a joke that became a motif throughout the show.
Her friends mock and belittle her for her past appearance, and praise her for dropping the weight. Chandler was also seemingly repulsed by Monica before her weight loss.
Ross's inappropriate relationship with a student
While both were of legal age, the relationship between university professor Ross and his student Elizabeth has since been highlighted as massively inappropriate.
It all started when Ross received a love letter from an anonymous student, and rather than acting professionally and dismissing the note, he made it his mission to track down the sender.
Ross himself was seemingly well aware that the relationship was a grey area after trying to hide it from staff.
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