Aired from 1994 to 2004,Friends was considered to be way ahead of its time, and it was lucky to be so.Although it is a simple story of friends spending time together, it discussedmany topics, that if written and aired today the same way as in 1994, it wouldreceive massive backlash and criticism. Besides the obvious differences,”Friends” contains many topics that are viewed as controversial and offensivetoday and, thus, wouldn’t be used if written in 2017.First of all, the cast wouldlook different. With all the “Black lives matter” and racial discriminationmovements, much more racial diversity has been brought to movie and TV casts.Considering “Friends” takes place in New York City, the show reflects none ofthe diversity at the time.
Not only are the main six cast members white actors,but so is the vast majority of guest stars and background actors as well. Ifwritten in 2017, the cast, as well as background actors, would be much moreculturally diverse.If that wasn’t enough to sparkcontroversy, there are many cultural stereotypes in the show. Scenes such asJoey’s family, which includes seven violent sisters that cannot be told apart,his parents who complain about the correct preparation of garlic or hisgrandmother who wears a beggar scarf and doesn’t speak a word English, wouldnever be accepted in today’s society.
Whenever there were people of otherethnicities, the show depicted them in ways that would be unacceptablenowadays. Thus, if written in 2017, most of these jokes wouldn’t even beconsidered to be included.On the verge of being offensiveare the constant jokes about homosexuality. Scenes such as the laughter of aperson on hearing the word “homo” can be excused as the joke of a childishadult. However, the interactions and conversations about the relationshipbetween Carol and Susan are less excusable.
For example, the loud scoff at thesight of their wedding followed up by the sentence “Oh my god, now I have seeneverything” can be interpreted many ways, however, the most obvious being thata same sex wedding is wrong. Considering the LGBTQ community and gay pridemovements, this would create immense backlash. If written in 2017, rather thanjoking about this wedding, it would be made big to encourage same sex marriage.Some of the more problematicjokes are those concerning “fat Monica”.
The show uses the days where Monicaused to be overweight as a punchline with quotes such as “Some girl ate Monica”.This would create mountains of complaints if aired in 2017, calling this “fatshaming” and that “she is beautiful the way she is”. She would rather havestayed overweight or never have been so.Another comedic element oftenseen in “Friends” is the jesting of a person’s sexuality. Moments such as Joey’s”feminine” shoulder bag or chandler’s transsexual father are often used as forpunchlines, something which you would never see in today’s TV shows. In 2017, thissituation would look entirely different. Joey wouldn’t be made fun of for hisand the rest might even have one for a while, as well. Chandler’s father wouldbe much closer to the family than he is in the show, a sign of inclusion ofthose who are different.
Possibly you would even see other actors living outtheir sexuality as guest stars.Not everything in the showwould change solely because they are problematic if included in 2017. Somethings would change simply because of the difference in time. There are theobvious elements that would change, such as technology. For example, themishaps when using their answering machine wouldn’t happen or you would seemore stories involving phones or social media. You would see differentpersonalities involved in the show, for example hipsters, or you some situationswouldn’t even exists anymore, such as the encyclopaedia salesman.The actors in “Friends” notonly make fun of each other, but also themselves. The show makes many jokes atthe expense of untreated emotional problemsMany, if not most, of thejokes made in “Friends” are based on commenting on another person’s situationor even their own.
As such, many of those jokes would be looked down upon in 2017,with a lot of backlash that would be created. Because of this, it would beunlikely to see those jokes in a 2017 version of “Friends” and because theymake up most of the show and are basically its “essence”, you could say that a2017 version of “Friends” as it is couldn’t exist.