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Let’s look at the most offensive moments in ‘Friends’, arguably the most popular sitcom of all time. Fast forward to 2019 with us to examine the cringe.

Central jerk: All the reasons why ‘Friends’ is problematic AF

So Friends is leaving Netflix finally. To commemorate, we’re looking at all the reasons the news really isn’t that bad.

Ah, Friends: arguably the most popular sitcom in history. There’s hardly a member of Generation X who can’t recall the moment Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) shared their first kiss (or the moment “they were on a break”!)

Despite being off the air for ten years, the shenanigans of Ross, Rachel, Monica (Courtney Cox), Chandler (Matthew Perry), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), and Joey (Matt LeBlanc) continue to prove popular on primetime TV. However, nearly a quarter of a century since the show first graced our screens (feel old yet?) it appears a new generation of viewers has discovered the show thanks to Netflix. And let’s just say, they’re less than impressed.

We explore the crème de la crème of 'Friends' episodes, those truly special installments of the iconic series that have gone down in television folklore.

Numerous millennials have taken to Twitter to claim the show is sexist, homophobic, and transphobic, not to mention nonchalant when it comes to sexual assault. Let’s reflect by taking a look at some of the most offensive moments in Friends’s history. “So no one told you life was gonna be this way” . . . fast forward to 2019 and this statement is more poignant than ever.

The one where Paolo assaulted Phoebe and everyone thought it was funny

MEGA-LOLZ. Sexual assault is such a laugh . . . . Seriously though, it’s a relief everyone is finally aware “making a move” does not mean grabbing someone’s butt while they’re trying to work.

Pro-tip: if your friend “hates you” for reporting their boyfriend’s sexual assault, time to get new Friends.

The one where Chandler denounces his transgender father (and everyone agrees)

How many offensive one-liners can you fit into a scene? A lot apparently, if this skit is anything to go by. Chandler’s treatment of his father is tough to watch, particularly when he travels to Vegas with Monica to see his dad in action. The couple’s discomfort with both the transgender and gay community is palpable, leading Charles Bing (Kathleen Turner) to wind up the butt of many derogatory jokes.

“Can we get our drinks please, waiter – uh, -tress!” Such an easy mistake to make, right?

The one where Ross assumes all male nannies are gay

Rachel hires a nanny for her and Ross’s baby (fine). The nanny is a man (fine). The nanny isn’t gay (fine). Yes, but he’s a man (yes, fine). A man who is also a nanny (also fine). But a man who is a nanny, and not gay?? (Yes, definitely very fine.)

Ross’s mind = blown!

The one where Ross can’t understand the concept of queer

Never is the homophobia more evident in Friends than when Ross’s ex-wife Carol (Jane Sibbett) is mentioned in any way, shape, or form. We realize that back in the 90s even just including gay couples in the narrative would’ve been considered revolutionary. But in 2018, following every mention of lesbianism with a malicious comment is unacceptable.

And no, Joey – having sex is not the only function of a woman.

The one where the guys can’t handle breastfeeding, because “Boobies!”

Ross: “Would you guys relax? This is the most beautiful and natural thing in the world.”

Joey: “Yeah we know, but there’s a baby suckin’ on it.”

‘Nuff said.

The one where everyone fat-shames Monica

Monica’s fat-shaming, as told by a Friends love story:

  1. Love interest calls you fat.
  2. You get thin.
  3. Love interest now wants to get in your pants.
  4. You accidentally stab love interest in the foot while trying to seduce him.
  5. Love interest still wants to get in your pants (but only because now you’re thin).
  6. You and love interest end up having sex and consequently live happily ever after, occasionally looking back at your relationship to laugh about the time you were fat.

Ah, true love.

The one where Phoebe flashes her t**s to win at football (because there’s no way girls could win otherwise)

You can just imagine the writers spending hours and hours around the table trying to figure out a plotline where the women win at football – until that lightbulb moment hit: of course, distract the guys with naked breasts!

Because there’s no way a woman could slay at football using tact or skill. Duh.

The one where Joey joeys

There’s not any singular moment throughout the entire ten Friends seasons during which Joey doesn’t show himself to be a complete and utter sexist, discriminating perv. The phrase “How you doin’?” used to be funny and endearing. Now it’s just straightup creepy.

The one where Rachel hires an underqualified male assistant because she likes his butt

Doesn’t she work for Ralph Lauren? Surely this is an HR nightmare waiting to happen.

The one where Ross can’t handle Ben’s Barbie

Back in the day, Ross was considered the funniest, most unconventional character. In retrospect, he was basically a mouthpiece for conformity and outdated stereotypes. “Why is my boy playing with a Barbie?” Why is your son being controlled by a homophobic, gender-dictative paleontologist? (Okay, so the paleontologist bit isn’t bad, but the rest is unacceptable.)

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  • I’m sorry, but who the fuck watched Friends and goes “You know what, that’s it, I’m offended”. That person should never watch anything on TV or even read books. Jesus Christ people are so sensitive. I bet the author of this article is from the US as well. Bunch of snowflakes the whole lot…

    June 12, 2020
    • Friends is a funny show but you can’t really ask its viewers to not voice their true opinions on some things. It’s a tv show, yes but it’s a tv show with wide viewers hip.
      I like the show and its characters – but they have displayed a lot of problematic behaviour and we can laugh at it but that doesn’t mean we can’t acknowledge it for what it is.
      Chandler Bing is my favourite character but that that doesn’t mean I don’t notice how he thinks only he is allowed to flirt when he’s dating Monica or how he gets alarmed when Joey enjoys learning new things from Janine – or when he dictates that Monica can never see Richard again because he says so.
      Valid criticism can be accepted – even with the necessary allowances made for the show’s era and how it was seen as appropriate for it’s time.

      July 31, 2020
    • I agree , everyone cries about everything. Especially in America, they suck

      August 2, 2020
    • Excuse me ? I cant even watch friends . It an awful homophobic transphobic sexist show that I cants stand to sit through anymore . Times have changed , but it does not mean that we shouldn’t recognise the awful parts of things we grew up on . I am not “too sensitive ” I am aware of the bullshit stereotypes and down right sexism homophobia and transphobia and don’t forget fatphobia this show has produced . And I am not okay with it xx

      August 14, 2020
  • Well, the show wasn’t really taking sides.It just potrayed the characters as they are.Not everyone is so open minded in real life.It was never said that what the characters said or did was politically correct.If you will like a show only if each and every aspect of it is right then I am afraid I feel sorry for you.F.R.I.E.N.D.S was a sitcom at a time when gay people were not even properly recognised or represented. Yet the show managed to include some very intimate moments which implied that gay people had their own seperate lives. Why else do you think it became the most liked sitcoms of all time? If people were offended by what they saw it surely could not have become the most popular show. There is always somebody to point out everything wrong with anything.

    September 10, 2020

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