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The 2 Friends Episodes That Were Banned In The 1990s (& The Ridiculous Reasons Why)
2023/08/01

Friends has a legacy as one of the most iconic shows of the 1990s, but two of its episodes led to controversial (and ridiculous) bans from airing. Spanning 10 seasons, Friends follows the (mis)adventures of Ross, Chandler, Joey, Rachel, Phoebe, and Monica as they navigate adult life and love in 1990s New York. Throughout the sitcom's successful run, Friends has spawned several memorable plots that have become cemented as cornerstones of pop culture, but some of its episodes are more divisive than others.

Although Friends is one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time, two of Friends' banned episodes show that not every storyline was well-received. The comedy of most Friends 236 episodes is harmless, but some authorities saw two Friends episodes in a different light, leading to them being controversially banned from airing on TV. Despite these Friends episodes getting banned for silly reasons in retrospect, they didn't let the controversy get in their way, and they are still considered some of Friends' best and most important episodes.

One Friends Episode Was Banned For Being Too Explicit

Friends' fourth season has some of the most memorable plots, but according to the UK, one of Friends' storylines was memorable for the wrong reasons. Season 4, episode 17 of Friends, "The One With The Free Porn," features the development of two of the biggest plots in the show, with one being Phoebe finding out that the baby she's having for her brother is triplets. This episode also sees Ross and Emily confess their love for each other, which becomes a major storyline throughout the rest of the season. However, Chandler and Joey discovering a free pornography channel on their TV is the storyline that garnered Friends controversy in the UK.

Although it is otherwise as harmless as any other Friends episode, "The One With The Free Porn" became a subject of censorship and bans in the UK due to its numerous mentions of pornography. The adult film references in "The One With The Free Porn" led to the episode originally airing in a late-night airtime upon its premiere. "The One With The Free Porn" was also barely ever syndicated in the UK moving forward, with any visuals of the pornographic film of Joey and Chandler's TV being censored. So, while seeing Friends syndicated for TV is common nowadays, it's unlikely to catch this Friends episode in the UK.

One Friends Episode Was Banned Due To LGBTQ+ Prejudice

As one of the most iconic shows of the 1990s, Friends depicted some progressive storylines for its time, but unfortunately, one such story led to a controversial reception when it first aired in 1996. Friends season 2, episode 11, "The One With The Lesbian Wedding," sees Ross' ex-wife Carol and her partner tie the knot. Though Ross initially has mixed feelings about Carol remarrying, he comes around in the end, even walking Carol down the aisle after her parents disapprove of her choice. Despite the episode ending on a happy note, Friends' depiction of an LGBTQ+ wedding sadly led to bans in areas of the U.S.

As the first lesbian wedding depicted on television, Friends' "The One With The Lesbian Wedding" drew some controversy in more conservative areas of the U.S. Because it depicted so-called "objectionable content," the Friends episode was unfortunately banned from airing on some U.S. network affiliates. Despite these bans, "The One With The Lesbian Wedding" became one of the most watched television episodes when it aired with 31.6 million viewers, cementing it as one of the most important Friends episodes.

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