FRIENDS, THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF A SHOW FULL OF ANACHRONISMS
When we talk about Friends, a lot of people, may go and say that it was the best Sitcom ever, and it was indeed, something else. After 10 seasons and 236 episodes, David Crane and Marta Kauffman’s creation did mark more than one generation.
But for some Boomers, the series is not more than something we all have to trash, being more homophobic and racist than we all remember it to be, as said by the controversial Vox, but is this an anachronism?
For those of you who don’t know, here’s the definition (idea or object that don’t belong to an specific time period as it is judging Friends with today’s standards). And we must say that the answers to those questions are tricky, but also quite simple, yes, to both of them. It wasn’t very inclusive, and yes, it is an anachronism.
Things have changed during the last 25 years and must of them for good. Society was not inclusive at all back then, although it may not seem to be really good now, we have indeed evolved a lot.
This last Sunday marked the show’s 25th anniversary, and during a commemoratory event, both creators Kauffman and Crane ruled out the possibility of a reunion. Crane argued that “we did the show we wanted to do, we got it right and put a bow on it”.
Kauffman also commented “The show was about that time in life when friends are your family,” said Kauffman. And that a reunion or anything like that “It’s not going to beat what we did.”
The cast also played with the reminiscence, posting a couple of photos, Courtney Cox (Monica Geller) captioned the photo with “Celebrating a Thursday night 25 years ago.
Thank you to all of our loyal fans across the world. You’ve certainly been there for us”. Tagging Le Blanc, Schwimmer and Kudrow, and using the hashtags jokingly towards Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry.
David Schwimmer, A.K.A Paleontologist Ross Geller, also posted a group photo “Big love to the other 5 friends.” Matt Le Blanc, who played Joey Tribbiani, posted the same image saying that the show “Still seems like yesterday”. And Lisa Kudrow, Phoebe Buffay herself, went with a more profound “We might be in different places, but we are connected.”
An unexpected guest joined the party, and it was no-other than Cole Sprouse, who played charismatic Ross’s son Ben. The Friend’s official Instagram account posted the photo of the now 27-year-old actor next to his character’s lovely penguin toy, Hugsy sitting on the iconic Friend’s sofa. With the heartwarming caption “The One Where Ben Grew Up. @colesprouse #FRIENDS25.”
WHY IS IT AN ANACHRONISM?
As we said, this issue was brought up by Vox, establishing the things that were not up to today’s standards. It’s good that they clarified things have changed a lot. They mentioned several topics that were mistreated during the show’s 10 years of production.
For example, Friends was not that friendly towards the LGBTQ community, they were not aggressive, but they did portray what a lot of people felt or seemed to feel about the collective a long time ago. Little details as Susan and Carol’s lesbian wedding with no kiss, to Chandler’s dad treatment as a person, mainly called a crossdressing male, when in reality was a trans woman.
The other thing was the absence of non-white characters, we had to wait until the 9th season to see an African American character of certain relevance. It was Charlie Wheeler, played by Aisha Tyler, who dated both Ross and Joey, at different times, during 9 episodes. Let’s take into consideration the series was based in New York - for context’s sake.
It’s also worth mentioning the fat-Monica bits, where she did make a fool of herself, portraying her as a fat cartoon character that would dance around to disco music with donuts in her hands. By today standards it would likely be called fat shaming.
The fact that Friends was not politically correct, and that it isn’t up to today’s standards it’s just normal and logical with the evolution of society. We’re not saying it’s good that in the ‘90s people were closed-minded, it certainly was not.
Still, it’s a way to see how far we’ve come, how we’ve done it, and what’s left for us to evolve as a society. Let’s remind ourselves comedy is about making people laugh, not to offend them, and we all can learn from these mistakes or examples. Take a look at sports and how the worst teams of NFL try to come back after a bad season.