Friends star Jennifer Aniston comments on the changing comedy landscape and addresses the fact that certain jokes in the hit sitcom are now considered offensive. First airing in 1994 on NBC, Friends follows the daily lives of a group of friends living in New York City. Aniston plays Monica's best friend Rachel in the sitcom, saying farewell to the character in 2004 when the show came to an end after 10 popular seasons.
In a recent interview with AFP (via Yahoo News), Anniston addresses the fact that some people find the jokes in Friends offensive. While lamenting that the cultural landscape of today has made comedy more challenging, she does admit that there were certain jokes in the show that perhaps should've been reconsidered. Check out Aniston's comment about Friends below:
"There's a whole generation of people, kids, who are now going back to episodes of 'Friends' and find them offensive. There were things that were never intentional and others… well, we should have thought it through — but I don't think there was a sensitivity like there is now."
Like any other TV show or movie that came out nearly 30 years ago, Friends features certain elements that probably wouldn't fly today. The most obvious area where the sitcom could use some improvement is in terms of diversity. All of the main characters and most of the supporting characters are white, and creator Marta Kauffman even admitted last year that she's "embarrassed" at Friends' lack of diversity.
It's important to also look at a show like Friends within the context within which it was released. In some ways at the time, the show actually pushed boundaries. Notably, in 1996, Friends featured one of the first-ever gay marriages depicted on TV. That being said, the lesbian couple, Carol (Jane Sibbett) and Susan (Jessica Hecht), featured in numerous other episodes of the show and their relationship was, unfortunately, the butt of a number of jokes.
Friends also featured a number of jokes centered around "Fat Monica," an overweight version of Courteney Cox's character, which perpetuated the image of overweight people being nothing more than punchlines in popular culture. Essentially, it's a mixed bag. While it's important to point out where Friends got things wrong, it's also important to understand the spirit in which the jokes are made. Not all of the jokes in Friends have aged well, but that doesn't mean the show can't still be enjoyed today.
Source: AFP (via Yahoo News)