If you didn’t hear the news that ‘Friends’ had been added to Netflix last week – where on earth have you been? Social media went crazy as fans discovered they could view the entirety of the box set (the whole 10 seasons) via the online streaming service.
Netflix UK teased subscribers by posting out a tweet to advertise the adding of the famous TV sitcom to the website, writing: “The One with the Show Everyone’s Been Asking Us to Add.” before later officially announcing the news: “We’ll be there for you. All episodes of #Friends, now streaming.”
The revelation has delighted fans all over the UK, after E4 stopped repeating episodes of the show back in 2011, however, the show later moved to the Comedy Central channel.
As many haven’t watched it since the original airing back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, with new viewers now wanting to know what all the fuss is about, there have been a number of complaints that much of the comedic humour is now extremely offensive and somewhat outdated.
One of the main concerns was the fact that character Monica’s weight is constantly referred to, due to the fact that she had dramatically slimmed down since her school days.
Looking back at early prom videos, Joey randomly shouts without thought: “Some girl ate Monica!”, while another scene showcases a chubbier teenage Monica scoffing a bagel.
One millennial viewer branded this particular scene as ‘needlessly lazy and cruel’.
With the world aiming to stamp out body-shaming, many viewers found some scenes discussing Monica’s weight an uncomfortable watch.
“The fat shaming of Monica in Friends will forever be problematic – she’s not even that ‘fat’ in it for f**** sake.” one viewer wrote on Twitter.
“The fat shaming in this Friends episode is unreal. I still love Friends. I think it really shows how much we as a society has accomplished and changed since then! But DAMN.” another shocked fan added.
If that wasn’t enough, the show has since been branded as homophobic and transphobic within a large number of episodes.
If you were a faithful Friends fan back in the day, you’ll probably remember that Chandler is mocked constantly for the time his dad had a relationship with a male and later goes on to become a drag queen in Las Vegas.
“I hate that throughout Friends, Chandler’s trans dad continued to be a laughing stock, they always made fun of Carol being a lesbian and they always made fat jokes about Monica, but what can you expect from a 90’s sitcom?” one viewer wrote.
In fact, Chandler is so against the change of identity, he refuses to use her new name of ‘Helena Headbasket’ and continues to use the name ‘Charles’, which she had previously been known by.
“We don’t talk enough about how Chandler had 2 moms,” one angry fan went to comment on Twitter. “It was erased because Chandler was a homophobe and a transphobe, so he still called her his “dad”?”
“I’m on season 8 of Friends. I’m here to tell you, they are all trash people and really bad friends. First of all, the show is constantly homophobic & misogynistic for the lols.” another also commented.
“The butt of most jokes from Ross is his lesbian ex-wife and her life partner. Chandler constantly mocks his dad for being trans. Don’t let them try and trick you into thinking Friends was progressive on that, they literally do not stop being homophobic” another furious viewer added.
Another agreed: “What I’ve learned from Friends being added to Netflix: the homophobic and transphobic jokes age it SO BADLY.”
Later, Chandler also went on to become hounded for the fact that he may even be gay himself, despite the fact there had never been any evidence of this.
In an article for New Statesman, Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin commented on the matter and gave her own opinion on the change of attitudes within society: “Chandler’s dehumanising contempt for his queer father, which mutates into a loathing of any kind of effeminacy or gender nonconformity, in himself or anyone else.
“Plenty of people will tell you that this gay panic was ‘of its time’, but frankly that only makes it more sinister.”
Ross then has an absolute meltdown when he sees his young son Ben playing with a Barbie doll and Rachel even goes on to hire a male nanny to look after her daughter- with both herself and Ross assuming that his decision to be in the industry meant that he was also gay.
“I was just watching the friends male nanny episode and Ross is so rude and homophobic and problematic I hate him,” one fan wrote on Twitter.
“There is nothing I hate more than Ross in the male nanny episode of Friends. He is so sexist and homophobic and I just want to jump into the TV and strangle him” another said.
Before another agreed: ” You know that episode in Friends when Ross fires the male nanny because he’s too sensitive? That just annoys the hell out of me”.
While this all may seem completely out of context in the world we now live in, it must be taken into perspective that the show was originally broadcast two decades ago – which is a lifetime away for most people. It’s also worth noting that comedy shows broadcast during the 90’s era such as ‘Sex And The City’ contained many similar themes which may also be considered ‘offensive’ but is still largely overlooked by modern audiences.
Original fans of the show back in the 1990’s have assured millennials that such humour was more acceptable back in those days due to lack of education and conversation which seems to be more the norm now.
We must all calm down if just for a second, to remember the time that one particular Friends episode involved a same-sex marriage between Ross’ ex-partner and her new wife – a move that caused a ban of that particular episode in many states around the US at the time.