January 24, 2020

Good riddance, ‘Friends’

So no one told you life was going to produce better shows in the near 20 years since the “Friends” finale aired. Netflix will no longer stream the hit ‘90s show starting Jan. 1, and it’s about time. 

I grew up watching “Friends” My mom would let me stay up late with her the nights it aired. I remember staring up at my family’s TV from a blue bean bag chair wishing I had Rachel’s hair, Chandler’s jokes (even if I didn’t understand them) and Monica’s clothes. There was a summer sometime between when my Tomaguchi was still alive and “Call Me Maybe” that I watched the entire show twice.  

Now when I watch “Friends,” I cringe in my chair. 

The men in the show display blatant toxic masculinity. Ross accused Rachel of cheating on him for almost an entire season because she had a male friend. When he actually did cheat on her, he expected forgiveness and the audience had to hear him pine about the lack of it for the rest of the series. 

“Friends” is still my mother’s all-time favorite show. She started watching the series again once the news broke that Netflix would no longer carry it. I stopped in my tracks when I saw one of the flashback episodes, you know, the episodes where one of the biggest running jokes is how fat Monica used to be. By today’s standards, Monica is a normal size. In the episode’s final 30 seconds, “fat Monica” danced with a donut in her hand to music as the live audience laughed in their seats. 

Fat shaming is just one sin on a long list of reasons why I can’t watch the show without making audible “oh honey’s” anymore. The show is entirely white-centric, sexist, homophobic (see episodes about Chandler’s “dad”) and just downright horrible. 

If anything, I hope the highly rated sitcom will serve as a reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we still need to go. 

All politically incorrect traits aside, people can at least start watching a new show. It’s time. We live in the “golden age” of television. It’s time to hit pause on “Friends” and watch different, better shows. 

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