Did You Know That Friends Was A Homophobic, Transphobic, Xenophobic, Misogynist Sitcom?

The whole point of this project is to show the very extent to which homophobia pervades the show, and how it changes over the years. It only makes sense to do this if you can give an idea of the scope of the issue. Otherwise it would have been like, ‘Oh look, there’s twelve homophobic jokes in Friends.’

Homophobic Friends [is not an] attempt to ridicule the underlying homophobia, but rather strives to bring this attitude to the viewer’s attention in all of its apparent normality. [The homophobic and transphobic jokes in Friends tend] to avoid provoking either aversion or anger, and instead prompts the viewer to be swept away by the hilarity of the situations.

I noticed all sorts of other problematic content, some of which I found even more upsetting, like the place of women and foreigners…You could do a whole series of videos, like Misogynistic Friends and Xenophobic Friends.

The whole thing was a useful exercise in terms of training me to pay more attention to the subtexts of these mainstream shows. That is, this vague feeling of discomfort and hostility that I’d always had watching Friends (or other like-minded shows) crystallized into something that was analyzable.”

– Video editor Tijana Mamula who watched all ten seasons of Friends and edited the 90-minutes worth of homophobic jokes down into the 50-minute video above entitled, Homophobic Friends. The Friends ran for 10 seasons, won a total 63 Emmys, and was one of the most highly-ranked shows on television.

Via Bitch Magazine

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  • christopher di spirito

    I must be the only person in North America who never watched a single episode of this show so I’ll take your word for it. Don’t get me wrong: I love TV, but the premise of ‘Friends’ just didn’t grab me.

  • gregger

    I didn’t like Friends or Seinfeld. Most comedies are truly awful. The “sitcom” that did the most good for ripping back the slip covers from US bigotry is still All in the Family. That show derided the attitudes prevalent in the nation regarding; race, ethnicity, religion, social status, employment, unemployment, unionism, LGBT issues, poverty, and gender equality along with countless other issues and ideas.

  • Drew H.

    @christopher di spirito: Trust me you are not the only one who had zero interest in this show. Now with good reason.

  • zach

    this video was funny stupid people analyze to much its just jokes made by straight people i actually think this shows support for gay people if the writers were homophobic we wouldnt see anything gay related at all in the show they’d pretend it was none existent

  • beerwad

    Oh my god, who the fuck cares? It was a show that was on 15 years ago or whatever. Show me a TV show or movie from 15 or more years ago that doesn’t have homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, misogynistic, racist, everybody-phobic content. People didn’t know then what they know now. How about focusing on CURRENT homo/trans/whatever-phobia and exposing it for how ridiculous it is, instead of watching 3 million hours of a godawful old dead show that nobody cares about anymore?

  • EdWoody

    I have watched every episode, it’s one of my favourite shows, and I have no idea what the hell this guy/girl is talking about. I suspect this is a case of specifically going out looking for something to be offended by, and creating your own self-fulfilling prophecy. I honestly can’t think of any thing in the show which expressed the thought, “gays are bad people.” Not one.

    Even if there is something to be offended by, if you can only find 50 minutes’ worth out of 10 years of shows, then I’d say that’s not a bad percentage. A lot of other shows do a lot worse.

  • gregger

    @zach: I think the program showed the inanity of the “friends.” There was never any personal growth. They remained stagnant individuals for the entire run.


    I have to say, I understand the “author’s” point of view, but I still laughed all the way through!

  • Erich

    @christopher di spirito: I never watched it either. I have a rule about not watching shows with a laugh-track.

  • Q

    Ok – I watched the first five minutes or so of this…And No, it is not homophobic. This person just wasted so much of their time reading into something that isn’t there.

  • William

    A lot of this is actually clever gay humor from a straight perspective…

    “Joey, homo-sapiens are people.”
    “Hey, I’m not judgin’!”


  • Steve


    Seriously, though? Whoever the hell made this video 1) has zero sense of humor and 2) has too much time on their hands.

    I never found Friends very funny either, BUT, making a joke involving gay people is so far off from being homophobic. Saying you hate gay people or that you want to kill gay people is homophobic. But saying “Haha! Homo!” that’s not homophobic (nor is it funny, but that’s a different story.)

    Why is it that we’re allowed to make fun of everybody else but ourselves? Sure, when you start to sound like Tracy Morgan, I can udnerstand getting upset and calling people homophobic; but seriously? Friends?

    I’m sorry but whoever made this, and whoever agrees with this, is an idiot who takes life WAY too seriously.

  • Elijah

    I have to agree with the people questioning the video creator’s goals. I’ve never found Friends to be homophobic. If anything, watching Friends while I was a teenager made me feel more comfortable with the idea of being gay. Some of the jokes are more reflective of the time period, sure, but I don’t see anything that screams “homophobic!”

  • J.

    This just seems like a list of gay references in friends; not all of them are homophobic

  • Yeah

    Yeah… This is timely and topical. Suddenly, I’m back in college and we’re talking about Friends.

  • Mike in Asheville

    Lets see: 10 years X 26 shows/year X 23 minutes/show = 5720 minutes

    Video: 50 minutes of homophobia

    OR, less than 1% of show.

    Highly edit anything and you get the results you want.

  • Jewed Law

    Someone please explain how the jokes from “Friends” are “homophobic”, but the jokes from “Will & Grace” are “topical”?

  • Cecilot

    I actually find it pretty funny. At the end of the day, straight men do get mistaken for gay men, and it it is difficult for spouses to find out the people they married are . Plus, they keep saying that the reason they think Ross i gay is because he’s so smart and funny…out of all the things they could have attributed to homosexuality, I think I’m perfectly fine with those two.

  • christopher di spirito

    @Erich: Friends had a laugh track? Now that’s funny.

    Yeah, I love TV: Amazing Race, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf and HGTV but not Friends. It just looked like a snooze fest. Glad I wasn’t alone in this view.

  • Stupid

    I never found Friends to be very funny … or very insulting to anyone, really, *except* larger-size people. The “laughs” at the expense of fat people were consistent and consistently the cruelest.

  • dvlaries

    It didn’t warm me to this series to read that, in the final season, all six principal actors were receiving 1.2 million each per episode. What episode from the final season does anyone remember having $7,200,000 worth of laughs? It’s probably exactly that kind of holding a network’s feet to the fire when you’re on top, that has the networks avoiding decent scripted shows to pollute our TVs with cheap shit like America’s Got Talent, Deal Or No Deal and The Biggest Loser.

    It’s good that they’re set for life, because which one has gone on to such a higher plateau of show business distinction to forget they were Ross/Joey/Chandler/Monica/Phoebe/Rachel?

  • Disgusted Gay American

    the ONLY things about friends I noticed that was Blatant……They LIVED in NYC, and barely IF ever had any ETHNIC friends/ and or situations.

  • Tangelo

    I really feel this person has a warped view. I am not a fanboy of the show but I have watched quite a few episodes. I never found anything homophobic. It is the the initiator for making Bromances comfortable for straight guys. Chandler and Joey’s relationship was awesome. Ross’ triangle with his ex wife and her GF plus the child they shared really pushed to the mainstream such a concept. Middle America liked to pretend such things don’t exist. Here they made it normal.

    While I agree, it was a rather ethnically UNdiverse show, I never once saw it as Homophobic or Transphobic. I found Will and Grace to be a really hateful show towards the gays.

  • Ruddigore

    With a little tweaking this video could be reedited to show how gay inclusive Friends was. Add in clips of Susan and Carol’s wedding (well, it was actually a commitment ceremony, but one of the first depicted on television) and Ross and Joey’s nap time (where they accidently fall asleep cuddled up together and keep doing it because it feels nice) and it tells a different story using most of the same clips.

  • christopher di spirito

    I’ve always heard Jennifer Aniston keeps thin living on a cum and baby food diet.

  • Ruhlmann

    Another reason why I threw out the television twenty years ago. It hasn’t gotten any better.

  • Bryan

    In fact, I think it’s one of the few shows during that era that increased visibility for the LGBTQ community.

    And notice how most of the times, the guys get rebuked for suggesting anything homophobic. To me it almost seems like the homophobic remarks were there to be rebuked.

    – Ross showing his sensitive side to the Nanny
    – Joey ending up wearing the female underwear
    – Joey and Chandler ending up more comfortable about being mistaken as a gay couple
    – Chandler being more accepting towards his dad
    – Susan and Carol’s relationship and the definition of ‘dad’ and ‘mom’.

    Like really….

  • bishop1j

    Wait, 10 seasons at about 24 episodes a season at 30 minutes each, factor in 10 minutes for commercials and opening credits, is roughly 80 hours of content. So at 80 hours that would be, rounding up, 2 % of it homophobic. If you further assume since the 90 minutes resulted in an hour of footage she felt was strong enough to use, the other 30 minutes wasn’t really homophobic you end up with just about 1% of the show being “homophobic”. I’m going to have to say based on that GET A LIFE CHICK.

    Ps. I get the irony of me doing this mental calculation and then telling someone else to get a life.

  • McGullen

    @gregger: Seinfeld cannot be called “truly awful.” IMHO.

  • McGullen

    @Stupid: You mean fat people?

  • mudgeboy711

    I always had this vague, yet definite, bad feeling when watching the show. I have to admit that I did laugh, but I only watched the show because others were watching it, never because I chose it. And as a gay person, I never felt included. I can’t say that “Friends” was homophobic, but I never felt it was gay inclusive. Compare “Friends” with a show like “Happy Endings,” where I clearly feel included.

  • Abirdwillingtobeitself

    @Disgusted Gay American: Good point. Friends is one of the colorless sitcoms.

  • Kamuriie

    They weren’t *my* friends.

  • Tony

    My question is: why????

    Why would you spend this much time editing clips of a 10 year sitcom?

    I don’t think homophobia pervades this show. As I recall it was considered to be too gay friendly during it’s run. Lots of conservative church urged boycotts of it.

    You can’t take 10 year episodes and judge them by today’s standards. That’s just dumb.

  • olterigo

    Most of these jokes don’t look homophobic to me. If anything, many of them point out the ridiculousness of gender and sexual orientation preconceptions (and Joey’s stupidity).

    But thanks for this trip down the memory lane. Jeez! It’s been only ten years ago, but doesn’t this seem so dated? With all of the conversations about what men should be and do.

  • jeff4justice

    I was never into Friends too.

    However I did interview friends actor Larry Hankin (he played their odd neighbor Mr. Heckles) and asked him about gay fans and marriage equality.

    Please check out the interview at

  • Chuck

    I watched that show back in the 90s and I must say that today it absolutely makes my cringe. It really wasn’t funny at all and several of the principals really make my skin crawl.

  • Alex Sarmiento

    I never liked “Friends”. The only person on that show that I liked was Lisa Kudrow. I HATED and STILL HATE Jennifer Aniston, who is probably one of the most overrated women in the history of entertainment. Six pretty white people with problems, living in fabulous New York apartments, drinking coffee and screwing each other. What’s so funny about that? I don’t think that it was a homophobic show, but I do think that it presented an unrealistic view of life in New York. Almost no people of color? No gay people, aside from Ross’ ex-wife? Good comedy, even before the advent of the now-ubiquitous no-studio-audience-allowed awkward-silence-filled crap of today, is grounded in some realism. There was nothing realistic about “Friends”.

  • jason

    Friends is what happens when you allow homophobic liberals to write shows. Hollywood is full of such homophobic liberals.

    Friends never covered male homosexuality from a mature, inclusive perspective but more from an “oh, don’t mistake me as gay” perspective. Interestingly, the writers seemed to be more comfortable with female homosexuality.

    I can proudly say that I’ve never purchased a Friends dvd.

  • Devington

    Hold on I’ll just tap into my emergency reserves of give a fuck.

    Uh oh, looks like I’m fresh out.

  • Interesting

    Friend was one of those weird shows that made you wonder how is this NYC? It neither looks like or feels like NYC. The apartments are too big. The people are too well off for the jobs they are working at in terms of their life style. There is no diversity. The lack of gay people is only one example. Its like a weird small midwest town version of what NYC might look like if one didn’t know any better.

  • Ross

    Geez, some people can be so dramatic.
    I’m not even a fan of this show and I laughed at most of the clips.
    This was 0% homophobic.

  • TheRealMannequinAdam

    @Disgusted Gay American: I don’t see why that’s so important. Just because you live in NYC doesn’t mean you’ll have different ethnic or racial friends. I doubt every person who lives there has close friends of a different race, so why should that be a necessary feature of the show?

  • Marvin

    How can Friends possibly be homophobic? Chandler and Ross sipped from the same milkshake.

    Btw, the writers of the show are really bad at naming their characters.

  • Interesting

    The chances are next to none that someone living in Manhattan is not living or working around any Asians, Latinos or Blacks. I am not even dividing that up into PR, DR, Africans, etc. Its simply goes with the dynamic of living and working in the city. Anyone who thinks its possible is either a retard or not from here.

  • Interesting

    And let’s remember. They hung out in a coffee shop- Central Perk. Even during the time of this show, that would have had a heavily mixed crowd because, if the title of the coffee shop is any indication, midtown is full of people working and moving about the city.

    On top of that- their apartment to anyone who lives here was absurdly large. Do you know how much those apartments, even in the 90s, would go for? I would put the price at 3 or 4 grand- minimum.

  • TheRealMannequinAdam

    @Interesting: Since you are obviously referring to my statement, I will answer this post. My comment spoke of “close friends,” not everyday acquaintances that you seem to be referring to.

    At any rate, it’s up to the producers of the show if they want to include POC or not. There’s no law that says they have to. And POC, in general, were obviously not the target groups for that show.

  • Sia

    I bought the Friends soundtrack on eBay about 5 years ago.
    It had K.D Lang’s “Sexuality” on it.
    That song is super gay.
    Therefore, Friends is super gay.

  • jason

    None of the actors was actually very gay-friendly. The producers weren’t much better.

  • Interesting

    If your best defense is “there’s no law” for what is a discussion about whether the show was kind of bullshit in its representation of New York, then you don’t have a defense to what I was actually commenting on.

    I also think its funny that you often claim here there is no lingering issues with race in this country, but then when its pointed out to you out it actually plays out, you say that’s their right. You know- the same thing could be said about being gay. In fact, that’s the whole point of the article. Whatever their right is- its our right as gay people or POC to notice and say something about. That’s also a right.

  • TheRealMannequinAdam

    @Interesting: Yes, that’s your right. But no rights are being denied in not having POC of color on the show.

    And the show was not “kind of bullshit” to me. That’s your call, not mine, and your criticisms are your own, not mine. I laid it out simply in post #48. There is no necessary reason for including POC if it’s not what the producers wanted, and there isn’t any law that says they must. They can choose the casts they like, and you can choose not to watch it and find programming that you feel better represents NYC in your view. Or, you can complain about what the show must be, as you are doing now. Either way, the producers aren’t doing anything wrong.

    I don’t remember ever stating there are “no lingering issues with race.”

  • Chris

    Just a point here.. Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe) has made a number of gay films (All Over the Guy and The Opposite of Sex come to mind) and has been very active in the Gay and Lesian rights movement.

    The rest of this seems to be much ado about nothing. A gay joke is not automatically homophobic. I am old enough to have been around for the beginning of the movement, thru the first AIDS diagnosis and watched the movement grow. I know that it is important to fight the real battles, not imagined ones. When we lose our sense of humor, especially about ourselves, it benefits no one.

  • James

    @TheRealMannequinAdam: Do you say the same thing about shows that don’t include any gays?

  • seboo

    I didn’t go through all of that (can’t remember being offended by the jokes when I watched the actual show), but it’s rather about stupid straight people having stupid issues with gay people, not the other way round.

  • Tenshinigami

    Okay so perhaps I need to watch more, but after 5 minutes I didn’t find a single thing that so much as raised an offending eyebrow in me. All the jokes were reasonably clever, and totally non-malicious. Why would a viewer be offended by an ex-husband being asked “how could you have not known!?” I have friends that actually have had a gay spouse. Guess what, it basically shook out like that. I have had friends who others accidentally thought were gay. Guess what, it basically shook out like that.I have people tell me “I’m okay with the gay thing.” Thanks, that’s good to know actually, if a bit direct.You saved me the effort of feeling you out. Hell, I have had straight friends that are such buddies & bros that people just assume they’re a couple.

    Projects like this encompass this weird gay sub-cultural thing that I just don’t understand. This desperate need to prove that the media, music, and everything is against gay people. The mere mention of gay, or the mere whiff of a stereotype, and they fly into this wrecking ball of “how dare they!”Can’t these people understand that stuff like this is not homophobic, or even remotely hateful? Can’t they understand that shows like this merely called out real-life situations (gasp…. sitcom) in a mildly absurd way?

    *Sigh* Reading the other comments, I’m so glad I’m not the gay minority in this opinion.

  • TheRealMannequinAdam

    @James: Yes.

  • Interesting

    @James: He’s lying. Whenever it allows him to attack people of color, he will use gays as a tool for the purpose. If for example there were a way to argue that gays are somehow show less on tv because of people of color- he would be arguing in favor of that.

  • Interesting

    @Tenshinigami: A simple example to illustrate why you are full of shit.

    How many movies were made in the last 10 years or better yet, to make it easier for you, how many were actually seen in movie theaters? Now, what percentage of those were gay? Percentage that were trans? Percentage with gay characters at all?

    How many shows were made in the last 15 years? Percentage with gays?

    I can of course- demonstrate here as well what the numbers are.

    The reality is that there are few examples, even today, of gays in media. The reason why its important is because the representation affects how people see gays.

    And I got to ask in what world do you live in where you think the media in general is not against gays?

    Are you completely fucking delusional?

  • TheRealMannequinAdam

    @Interesting: You simply have no evidence to back any of this up.

  • Bird

    Apparently every time homosexuality is mentioned it’s “homophobic”? I really just don’t see how 99% of this is in any way homophobic. In fact I would say a lot of Friends’s story lines were incredibly progressive for the time that they were written.

  • Bird


    Way to drop “retard” in your defense of minorities. 10 points for you.

  • tenshinigami

    ooookay, slow your roll a little, hmm?

    First, I live in the San Francisco/Bay Area, AND I work in media.

    Now, I understand what you’re saying, that gays are under-represented within the media. Yes, I can agree to that, to an extent. I feel as though gays are represented in the media, but often times as more of a jester character, or the lead female’s best gay friend. It’s only recently that gay characters are somewhat….. normal. The teen-ish movie “Nick and Norah’s Ultimate Playlist” comes to mind. The gay characters were actually normal people.

    The problem is that you see hostility in almost all activity in the media that references gay people. Where is the hostility in those Friend’s clips? How is it hostile for a straight guy to be confused when he discovers everyone thinks he’s gay? In all the clips I watched, at no point did any of the characters disparage homosexuality. Fine, they made jokes that they don’t want to be perceived as gay. Even so, they didn’t freak out, or have some sort of gay panic. In stead they would pause and make an oblique sort of “hmm, kinda gay” comment, and move on. At the same time they dealt with relatively complex social ideas like divorced lesbians with kids, in fairly calm, honest ways. I would never knock any ex-husband for freaking out a little over such a situation. And even through all that, he never acts hatefully toward his ex, or her partner, instead he acts confused. A fair reaction to a complicated situation.

    Sorry, I feel like you simply want to assume malice and hatred over anything else. An interesting Occam’s Razor, to be sure.

  • Interesting

    @tenshinigami: It is not some extent. Your saying you work in the media does not matter to me. The data is the data, which anyone can find out by checking with organizations like GLAAD or SAG, the DGA, etc.

    I wasn’t commenting on the clip. I was commenting on the idea that there isn’t a reason for the hostility. They may over shot their argument, but the underlying argument is correct.

    More importantly, the idea that you get to say what’s an acceptable joke as a gay person misses the point that you are surrounded by gay people or gay accepting people. It does not address the reality that in the mid west or some other place seeing this show- this is really all they ever see. I have a friend- nice white girl. Smart. She tells me that the first time she ever met a person of color was when she went to college in terms of her friendships.

    I am not assuming malice. I assuming that Hollywood, is conservative and reflects the morals of the society around it or in some cases worse than that because executives are a fearful bunch. That’s what the data matters. It tells us something about the industry that you are glossing over. That these things are not happening isolation. that they have a real impact on what we see and here. That the negative, even if it matter, is magnified because that’s all some see and here.

    In other words, I am saying there’s a big picture to this. that you are ignoring it because you have decided in this instance that “its not that bad.” Nothing is that bad if you atomize it from the greater debate in a situation where one is building a case on circumstantial evidence. What makes it bad if when you build the case,a nd the pieced togegher create a bad big picture.

  • Interesting

    I will say this- the part htat I think is sillyis that the show is 15 years old. There are plenty of shows today that still do the same thing. So, one does not need to look back so far.

  • Interesting

    @TheRealMannequinAdam: As I said, you are a retard. I don’t need to back up my statement that your assertion is absurd. You need to prove that your assertion is not absurd, and, then, if you prove your point, one is required to offer a rebuttal. It would be like you saying you think all Ginger people are Martians. It is not necessary for anyone to prove you wrong. It is up to you to prove yourself correct. But, you are too stuck on the value of your own words to get this. Thus the retardation.

  • Jason Green

    I loved this video and laughed throughout (and I saw nothing homophobic in it). Now I want her to do the same thing to That 70s Show.

  • Adman

    I have a cousin from the east coast I can’t stand. She was in the Friends demo and was obsessed with it when it played. I’m a little older and was bored bored the first time I watched it. It wasn’t a homo-hetero/racial whitewashing type of thing for me, those truths about this crap show were just pointing to the vapid social conformity this show was a basic primer for. The show says to me anyone could find their “friends” and just career climb effortlessly, never acknowledge the world outside one’s own immediate self absorbed concerns, and it would be the ideal life. That’s the perspective the show gives.

    It’s never mentioned that these people are true hedonists and there is no evidence to show that the tedium of knowing any of them would ever relent. Watching it is the human version of being a cow in a feed lot. That cousin has turned out just as you may think. She is now a borderline teabagger (far too ‘sophisticated” to admit it) from some suburb, and seeing her sneer and scoff at anyone unfortunate enough to share space with her during a lunch at Olive Garden in upstate PA is like getting needles pushed slowly into my eyes.

  • TheRealMannequinAdam

    @Interesting: “I don’t need to back up my statement that your assertion is absurd.”

    Yes, actually, you do, since 1)you are claiming it is absurd, and since you are 2)also claiming all of those things in post #58. There’s nothing absurd about my post, you just don’t like the reality of the situation and can’t handle it. Thus, the name-calling. You didn’t offer a logical response to what I stated about producers and casts because you can’t debate like an adult when the reality doesn’t side with your own prejudices and biases. You also could not supply any evidence for the claims in post #58, which again shows you to be incompetent and juvenile.

    So, get back to me when you can logically put together a claim and support it with evidence, and without the childish tantrums you’re displaying here, mmmmk? Thanks, joker.

  • Nick

    lol that was hilarious!!! I love friends!

    But whoever made this seriously did not watch all the episodes and does not know their friends trivia! There was also the scene where Chandler keeps wanting to watch Miss Congeniality, and also the episode where Joey and Ross take naps together, that was pretty gay too!

  • Interesting

    @TheRealMannequinAdam: No, actually i don’t. And you can keep waiting for me to do so allyou want.

  • Interesting

    @Adman: Well, in fairness, you just described almost 99.99 percent of Pop Culture. You are right, but it is not unique to Friends. In fact, when you think about things like Facebook, its become even worse since Friends was on the air.

  • Interesting

    And by Facebook, I mean all people care about is their little bubble of friends and relationships. They have access to arguably one of the most revolutionary forms of communication and knowledge networks in human history, and what do the vast bulk of them do with it? They go on line to see who is reading their banal comments about themselves and what they ate that morning on facebook- and oh, yeah, the facebook list is not anyone who will challenge their thinking.

  • DealWitIt

    and thats what made it funny..i like shows that aren’t politically correct. Married with Children was all of those things as was a riot. Now shows push gay rights to much and are not funny

  • Adman

    @Interesting: Definately a cultural trend, I agree. It’s like the Great Gatsby for middle brow dummies. Thank dog I was raised too blue collar to buy into that crap for an instant. These are of course people who secretly wonder why they grow old and boring at 30.

  • Marianela

    Friends was a net positive for gays and lesbians. Whatever one thinks of any particular joke, the overall approach of the show was to have gay people be a part of life. There was even an entire show dedicated to a lesbian wedding, which may have been the first lesbian wedding to be shown on American TV. These lesbian characters were both recurring characters who were portrayed as good parents.

    As for the accusation of transphobia, I don’t know if that’s true, but it if it is, it makes me love the show even more. Anything that pisses off trans activists, who are certifiably toxic and insane, is fine by me.

  • TheRealMannequinAdam

    @Interesting: I’m not “waiting” for anything, because you’ve already failed.

  • jason

    Friends might have had lesbian characters but it hardly ever had gay male characters. Where were the gay and bisexual men? The writers and producers seemed to be more comfortable with same-sex issues if they were two women (after all, they’re “hot” according to Hollywood) but not if they were two men.

    This is how the liberals of Hollywood operate: they think girl-girl is hot but that guy-guy is gross or unattractive. This was basically how Friends operated, all the way from the actors to the writers to the producres.

  • jason

    Keep in mind that Friends was set in the heart of New York City. For a sitcom set in New York City, it sure seemed strange that there were no gay or bisexual men in the show. Face it – Friends was the product of homophobic liberal writers. These types are common in Hollywood.

    Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox need to take some responsibility for the failure of their show to be inclusive when it comes to gay and bisexual men. But, I suppose if you’re earning millions of dollars, you don’t want to rock the boat too much, now do you? Never look a gift horse in the mouth, I suppose.

  • Interesting

    @Adman: It is funny that you say that. I have been thinking a lot lately about our culture. I grew up very poor. Homeless at one point in fact.

    So like you, my perceptions of the greater middle class culture that I have, I guess, worked my way into, iis that I find them odd. Their obsessions like Facebook, and the collective anxieties that result in the banality after 30 are fascinating to me.

    I wasn’t as bothered as you are by Friends. Its mindless banality. Sometimes, at least for me, I need to shut my brain down, and that sort of show which had no meaning to me whatsoever is good for that. Sometimes drinking a beer is just as good.

    If I think about it like I am doing now, the show was definitely strange. Feeding into all the things that the middle class likes to think about itself. Most sit coms do. Although from the outside perspective, it feels like a kind of hedonist self-absorption, they probably see it as funny and representing “normal life.”

    Of course, its really, really strange, right, because we don’t live in a Gilded Age like the 90s promised. And the show never was “normal life.” Or enjoyable life.

    We live in a post -near Depression, and possibly heading to another Depression Age. Where there is all this hidden amazing anxiety about people losing their jobs or not having one in the first place and basically the decline of America into this insane mess.

    Facebook, in terms of that, then is this strange thing. People are “networking” and “socializing” and the world is “okay.” But it isn’t so they retreat even further into the banal bubble.

  • Abirdwillingtobeitself

    @Interesting: You’re right. There aren’t public acknowledgments of the crisis, in fact, people deny that it exists at all, or find a false crisis to replace it in our awareness. Apolitical people deny. The right-wing finds a scapegoat crisis.

    It might be helpful to compare Friends with a show like Seinfeld. Friends was unaware that it was regurgitating what people wanted to think about themselves. But Seinfeld showed how disjointed life was becoming. The disjointedness was always in the background, and then it became explicit in the final episode, when the characters realized were talking prison. They were trying to reflect on their past, but there was nothing to reflect on.

  • jackieboy

    When i was young I never liked this show, now I have more reason.

  • Marianela

    @Adman: You make my point. You don’t go from being ominous and unknown to being equal in one step. First, you become familiar. At some point, you become familiar enough to be funny. Then, you become more complex and serious. Eventually, you become equal. That is how cultural perceptions evolve. Friends was part of that evolution.

    Also, what planet do you live on? “That’s so gay” and “You’re a fucking faggot” have been around for decades, long b4 Friends ever aired. And South Park uses those phrases, not Friends.

  • Ken S

    @zach: Rather, “stupid people” analyse *too little.* If you aren’t thinking about things, that’s pretty much the definition of being stupid. PS, spelling and punctuation often help with not looking stupid.

  • Queer Supremacist

    Friends wasn’t homophobic. It was good writing-phobic, good acting-phobic, and believability-phobic; even friggin’ Sesame Street is a more accurate depiction of New York.

  • Corrina

    I disagree about Friends being racist..Ross had TWO interracial relationships (one with an African-American woman, and the other was Asian)

  • Steve

    @Erich: It’s not a laugh-track. It was shot in front of an audience. That’s the audience you hear laughing.

    A brilliantly well-written and acted show. A practically perfect example of its genre and one of the best sitcoms ever made.

    This edited piece, on the other hand, is trash. It can’t even make its own case with any conviction. Humorless pomposity is to be avoided. And certainly not to be encouraged.

  • Abirdwillingtobeitself

    @Corrina: But you don’t know what they did in the bedroom. Ross’s character might have liked dominating minority women.

  • Steve

    PS. The writers were New Yorkers and tried to launch this as an off-B’way play but couldn’t. So they adapted it as a sitcom. For a sitcom I thought they did a pretty good job of giving it a NY feel and look. Of course it’s a fantasy: it’s a sitcom. They’re supposed to be fantasies.

    And plus, if any of you think it’s up to the actors to tell the writers and producers what characters to include… Let me know when you’re planning to hold your first production meeting. That’s gonna be some funny shit.

  • TheRealMannequinAdam

    @Corrina: I agree that Friends was not “racist.” That’s such a ridiculous thing to claim.

  • Interesting

    @Corrina: The actor who plays Ross, David Schwimmer, fought show runners/executive producers for most of the show’s existence to get a non-white girlfriend. The story was well publicized.

  • Interesting

    @Steve: Yes, it represents NYC in the same with that Woody Allen does or the Sarah Jesicca Parker starrer, which is to say, not at all.

  • Interesting

    Re Sarah Jessica parker, who, I like

    I have a friend who is a bartender. He says one of the things that really drove him crazy about that show was as it hit its height of popularity, there were all this girls running around NYC off the plane from some where else in the US, who tried to emulate her and thought this was “NYC” too.

  • TheRealMannequinAdam

    @Corrina: Like I said, Friends wasn’t racist. Racial minorities were not targeted or disparaged, so the show was not racist. End of discussion.

  • candace

    you could make the exact reel for will and grace. you should have been grateful for the show to dare having a strong, confident lesbian couple in that era of DOMA passage.

  • Interesting

    @candace: Will and Grace was also a shit show in which gay men never had any real sexual relationship until the final season or so. It was a gay minstrel show.

  • Interesting

    @TheRealMannequinAdam: Yes except for the fact that the actor who plays the Ross character basically said that he had to fight to get POCs on the show- then yes, case closed. Never mind the facts.

  • TheRealMannequinAdam

    @Interesting: That’s a casting call. Has nothing to do with racism. Ross had a non-white girlfriend, a black and an Asian. Like I said, end of discussion.

  • Abirdwillingtobeitself

    @candace: One thing you should probably never tell a minority is “you should be grateful blah blah blah.” FYI.

  • Interesting

    @TheRealMannequinAdam: So again despite the fact that the actor who plays Ross says something exactly the opposite of what you are saying here- he’s wrong, and you are right. Thanks for sharing.

  • TheRealMannequinAdam

    @Interesting: It doesn’t matter if it happened or not. Maybe they wanted to give a POC to Joey to date (which they did), and not to Ross. It’s up to the producers.

  • TheRealMannequinAdam

    @Interesting: And I meant in post #100 to say Joey, not Ross.

  • evilqueen

    Seriously, being trans/homo/bi/etc/phobic is par for the course for TV sitcoms. Friends probably did more anti-LGBT jokes because they lasted longer, not because they were more bigoted than other shows.

  • Adman

    @Marianela: “Culture” does no thing. Listen to the social engineer huh? You make no point at all, and tit-for-tat south park vs. Friends comparisons are irrelevant to my point, so do the math. South Park is low brow, Friends is in the middle, and the “planet I live on” wasn’t invented ub the early 90’s for the benefit of douche bag twenty somethings who would apologize for anything middle class even if it was eating their faces.

    Before this type of entertainment, the derogatory treatment of gays wasn’t on every laugh track, and on the lips of every high school kid like it is now, it was considered low rent. That’s called degeneration, and that’s a cultural phenomenon you might want to look into. It’s an even more effective type of social engineering than your unworkable suggestions, even if LGBT people had the resources and cohesiveness to attempt your answer to it. That is unless it’ll have the effect on you I think it will, which is you’ll take advantage of the phenomenon cynically, like everyone else “with an opinion”. Have fun at the corpo job “making a difference”, Marianela.

  • Paco

    Oh come on! Will and Grace had more gay/trans jokes, misogynist comments, and blatant racist statements in one episodes than Friends did in it’s entire run!

    “Call me old fashioned but I think Poker is like gardening or cooking. Women should just stay out of it”
    “Call me old fashioned but when a man takes me out I expect him to treat my like a lady!”
    “Say why don’t you come back to the mans with me. We’ll scare the daylights out of her and get you $1000 closer to your snippity do dah day.”
    “Hey McFairyLand give me your lunch money or I’m gonna kick your ass.”
    Seriously need I go on?

  • A.

    @TomMc: hey…the baby food desserts are good.

  • A.

    myself, I couldnt get past an out of work actor, a chef, and a bunch of other, either, middle to low income workers, or unemployed (at times) managing to afford rent on two bedroom new york apartments.
    that and lack of umm….shots of the city. it was almost as bad as who’s the boss- either they were in one of their apartments, or the coffee shop.
    seinfeld did slightly better. and both shows, i didnt see any homophobia – that wasnt reflective of homophobia (still is most places) engrained in the culture at large which the shows targeted.

  • Alex Paris

    I don’t understand what the problem is here… Im like 10 minutes in and nothing is blatantly defamatory towards homosexuals and i worked at glaad. The test is if it were funny if roles were reversed and I think in the majority of the situations it would be.

  • Celioski

    I don’t see the homophobia…i’m just seeing a drama queen getting offended by clearly non-hatred jokes.
    But anyway, I appreciate the compilation, I could remember some really good episodes ^^


    I don’t see homophobia — I see stupid, harmless, childish jokes, but not homophobia. If anything, I’m offended that adults think this is funny…or that people think this is how adults act. Also, looking back on the show (which, as a teenager, I did watch), I think it’s much more hurtful to women than anything. And every relationship (seriously, every one) starts out with sex and is dominated by sex. That’s not what my relationships are like, and that’s not what I want my sons and daughters thinking their relationships should be like. Sex is important, but for it’s not the be-all-end-all of everything. I sound like a prude now, and you can think that if you want, but this over-sexed version of life is not my reality.

    Can you do this for “The Office”? Or “30 Rock”? Or any show that’s currently on TV? If you’re going to make an argument, don’t make it “10 years ago this show was on and it was really ignorant about gay culture.” Make it, “This show is on NOW and it’s really ignorant about gay culture.”

  • shawnie-z

    I’m a lesbian and I found this pretty freaking hilarious.

  • ewe

    I never watched one episode of Friends. However i am wondering if anybody knows whether or not the Bummer has evolved yet. Today is August 21, 2011.

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