Was 'Friends' Actually Kind Of Problematic?

16 January 2018, 14:36 | Updated: 16 January 2018, 14:54

Monica and Rachel friends
Picture: NBC
Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

People are noticing things they never noticed before and now the internet is divided.

Now that Friends has made its way onto Netflix, it appears that people have begun looking at the hugely popular 90s sitcom with a more critical eye.

The 90s were, admittedly, far less "politically correct" than we're used to now, and it's become harder to view certain jokes the same way we would have 20 years ago.

Take this cringe inducing scene from Friends in which Ross passionately argues that any man who wants to work as a nanny must be gay.

Now that more and more people are looking back at the show, the internet is officially divided over whether the humour in some of these Friends episodes should be looked at as problematic.

For some, the homophobic jokes stand out A LOT more than they did back in the day.

For others, the people looking back at 'Friends' with a more critical eye were "trying to ruin" it.

Of course, in the 90s, homophobic, transphobic, and misogynistic jokes were low hanging fruit, guaranteed to get easy laughs.

However, some people are convinced that there is no point re-litigating the politics of a show that ended so many years ago.

Of course, Friends is hardly the only 90s show that doesn't hold up under the harsh light of 2018.

Even looking back on shows like Seinfeld and Frasier, which are deeply beloved by millennials, still presents a dilemma for people who consider themselves intolerant of homophobia and sexism.

So, what is the best way to handle older shows with jokes that feel...gross in 2018?

Look, it's okay to like stuff. You're not a bad person for liking Friends and wanting to ignore the questionable parts and you're not a "sensitive snowflake" for noticing that these shows lean on homophobic and sexist humour.

Looking at back at Friends with some skepticism isn't "ruining" it. It's acknowledging that there is a need to view art with a nuanced, and often times critical lens. We can't change jokes that were written 25 years ago, but we can acknowledge that some of them are objectively bad and that even a widely loved show like Friends deserves some criticism.