The ‘90s TV sitcom Friends is being criticised by new viewers after it started streaming on Netflix earlier this month.
The newfound availability of the show has introduced a younger audience to the Manhattan flatmates – Ross, Chandler, Joey, Phoebe, Monica and Rachel.
However, many have pointed out that several of the sitcom’s jokes centre around the homosexuality of Ross’s ex-wife, and Chandler’s fears that he will be mistaken for a gay man.
In addition, viewers have noticed the lack of racial diversity in the series, with its focus on five white characters.
People NOW realising Friends is problematic? The third line of dialogue in episode makes fun of a lesbian.
— Juno Dawson (@junodawson) January 12, 2018
Why u mad that people are criticizing Friends and other old shows for their homophobia, sexism, etc… u would really rather glorify 5 white people who don’t even exist than point out flaws and make room for improvement in the future smh.
— pokémon hammer & sickle ☭ (@botanicalevi) January 12, 2018
Joey’s behaviour towards women and the repeated references to “fat Monica” have also been challenged.
I love Friends deeply but damn does it have issues. “Fat Monica” and Chandler’s dad were the worst aside from everything having to do with my greatest enemy, Ross.
— Lauren Piester (@laurenpiester) January 15, 2018
Ross is the funniest character on Friends. Joey is sexist and offensive.
Come at me bro.
— JORDZ (@OhJordz) February 9, 2017
U know what I love friends but joey is so sexist it rlly bothers me I know it was ages ago but still Gross
— kez ? (@hvfflepuff) April 7, 2015
I can love Friends and still be aware of its problematic and outdated humor ?
— Aya (@ayagrrrl) January 15, 2018
none of the bits from friends have aged particularly well, but so far it seems like “fat monica” is the worst
— ᴘᴀᴘᴇʀʙᴇᴀᴛssᴄɪssᴏʀs ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ (@paperbeatstweet) January 15, 2018
watchign that episode of friends where ross and joey are really sexist to the guy nanny and go friends for acknowledging its sexism
— ✨emily m (@madilybee) May 16, 2015
However, older fans of the show have been quick to defend the script as reflective of an earlier era that should not be compared to the current day.
just wanna make it clear that while i still think friends is problematic i still recognise that times were different back then but that still doesnt mean people cant be offended…….
— amy ? (@ghostgangs) January 15, 2018
People saying that friends is offensive and problematic are literally my least favourite kind of people. It was made in the 90’s before everyone was offended by everything!!! If you don’t like it just don’t feckin watch it you big cry babies
— V I C T O R I A (@vixunderwoodx) January 12, 2018
To people calling out #Friends : have you not seen tv from the 90s before? It's not problematic, it's just what the world was like, move on!
— Georgiana (@GeorgaAlice) January 12, 2018
Some have even compared the criticism to that of the Warner Bros. racism warning that plays before old cartoons, including Tom and Jerry.
Friends is a product of its time. Of course it's not going to be politically correct like something released in 2018.
Complaining about how xphobic and problematic it is is beating a dead horse.
The image that WB shows before old cartoons applies perfectly here. pic.twitter.com/0a1y9I3o2f
— 桐乃 (@kirinokousakas) January 15, 2018
Criticism of the show’s humour is the latest question to be raised around Friends since it started streaming on Netflix earlier this year.
Several new viewers raised questions about how the New Yorkers, some of whom survive on a low wage, could afford such large apartments and whether or not Ross and Rachel really were on a break.