Jennifer Aniston says her classic sitcom Friends might be too offensive to younger viewers if it aired today.
Speaking with AFP in Paris, Aniston, 54, described how a new generation of viewers are taking issue with certain episodes of the comedy series, which nonetheless remains one of the most beloved shows in television history
While insisting that the cast and creative team never intended to cause offense, Aniston acknowledged more thoughtfulness could have gone into filming.
'There's a whole generation of people, kids, who are now going back to episodes of Friends and find them offensive,' she explained.
In recent years, viewers of the show have complained about how Friends treated fat characters after Courteney Cox wore a fat suit for flashbacks featuring her character Monica, while others have claimed the show was transphobic for cast Kathleen Turner as Chandler's father, who was written as being openly gay and a drag queen despite being portrayed by a woman.
'Offensive': Jennifer Aniston, 54, is aware Friends wouldn't fly with certain viewers nowadays, but she urged fans to not take every joke 'too seriously' while speaking to AFP in Paris (pictured in Los Angeles on Tuesday)
Times have changed: Aniston, 54, said that, previously, 'you could joke about a bigot and have a laugh — that was hysterical. And it was about educating people on how ridiculous people were'; publicity still for friends
'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,' Aniston admitted.
Now, with cancel culture supposedly rampant, Aniston says writing comedy has gotten more complicated.
'Comedy has evolved, movies have evolved,' she said. 'Now it's a little tricky because you have to be very careful, which makes it really hard for comedians, because the beauty of comedy is that we make fun of ourselves, make fun of life.'
Previously, 'you could joke about a bigot and have a laugh — that was hysterical. And it was about educating people on how ridiculous people were,' Jennifer said.
'And now we're not allowed to do that.'
Jennifer also insisted: 'Everybody needs funny! The world needs humor! We can't take ourselves too seriously. Especially in the United States. Everyone is far too divided.'
While Monica's fat suit and Chandler's cross-dressing father have long been a source of complaints from younger viewers, fans have also recently pointed out a litany of instances in which the male characters on the show made sexist comments about women that were played for laughs.
Even the way Aniston's character was written in the finale has come in for criticism, as some viewers now object to Rachel seemingly giving up her dream job and 'got off the plane' in order to be with Ross.
Going overboard: Some younger viewers have lambasted Friends as fatphobic due to flashbacks in which Courteney Cox (L) wears a fat suit to play her character Monica, as they think the scenes are making fun of fat people
In poor taste? Some have also called the show transphobic for having Chandler's out gay dad, who performs in drag, played by Kathleen Turner, a woman
This all comes after Aniston shut down hopes foranother Friends reunion but admitted that the cast would be 'family forever.'
The actress, who played Rachel Green on the television sitcom, said that the 2021 TV special was their 'swansong.'
Discussing Friends on The Jonathan Ross Show, she revealed that the cast stay in touch and she still watches the show 'every once in a while.'
Friends is arguably one of most successful sitcoms of all time, running for 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004, with fans left clamoring for a reunion for many years.
The long-awaited Friends reunion made its debut in 2021 with the cast heading back to the iconic set to reminisce on the show's history, 17 years since its conclusion.
Joining her Murder Mystery 2 co-star Adam Sandler on the chat show to discuss the upcoming film, Jennifer also recalled her time on Friends.
When asked by host Jonathan if there'll be another Friends reunion, she revealed: 'I don't think so. I think that was it, I think that was the swansong. But you do never know.'
'Everybody stays in touch. We'll never shake each other. Family forever!' Jennifer explained.
Throwback: The actress, who played Rachel Green on the television sitcom, said that the 2021 TV special was their 'swansong' (pictured during the first season in 1994)
Chat: Joining her Murder Mystery 2 co-star Adam Sandler on the chat show to discuss the upcoming film, Jennifer also recalled her time on Friends
On whether she watches Friends if it's on, the actress added: 'I do, once in a while. I'll stand there and go, 'Huh, I don't remember that.'"
The six stars — Jennifer, Courteney Cox (Monica Gellar), Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing), Matt LeBlanc (Joey Tribbiani), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay) and David Schwimmer (Ross Gellar) — reunited on the Warner Bros. studio lot in 2021.
Meeting up where the original show was filmed, for a night full of laughs, tears and everything in between.
The special — which earned a flurry of reaction from die-hard fans when it launched on HBO Max in the US and Sky Go and Now TV in the UK — also saw a slew of guests make surprise appearances, including David Beckham, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Cindy Crawford.
The special was filmed over a three-day period on the Warner Bros. lot, with the iconic fountain from the show used as a backdrop for the cast's main interview which was hosted by Late Late Show's James Corden.
The British presenter — whose choice was quite controversial among fans — delved into the making of the show in a lively discussion, and reflected on the moment each actor landed their iconic part.
The special kicked off with all six actors heading back to the sitcom's legendary set, and Jennifer struggled to hold back her tears as she embraced Courteney, clearly overwhelmed at returning to the series almost two decades since its conclusion.
The cast visited the original soundstage - Stage 24 - where Friends was filmed, where it took over three weeks to re-construct the iconic set 17 years since the final scenes were filmed.
Thoughts: When asked by host Jonathan if there'll be another Friends reunion, she revealed: 'I don't think so. I think that was it, I think that was the swansong. But you do never know'
Finally! The six iconic stars - Courteney Cox, Jennifer, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow and David Schwimmer - reunited on the Warner Bros. studio lot in 2021 for a night full of laughs, tears and everything in between
'Where's the tissue box?' Jennifer asked while visiting the living room set, while Matt wondered if Courteney's lines were still written on the kitchen table.
Corden also brought over Ben Winston, who serves as showrunner on The Late Late Show, to serve as the director and producer of the reunion special.
While the Q&A did garner some criticism for failing to delve too deeply into topics that most Friends super-fans weren't already familiar with, it was welcome familiar territory for some fans, as James asked about each cast member's auditions and other tales from early in the show's development.
Aniston revealed that while auditioning for the part of Rachel, a producer on a show she was on, incorrectly told her, 'That show won't make you a star.'
She also shared the bombshell revelation that she and David did have a sneaky off-screen crush on the series, while viewers were gripped by Ross and Rachel's will-they won't-they romance.
James asked: 'It's impossible not to realise and see that you're all young, hot, good looking successful actors, that it's inconceivable to me that there weren't perhaps off-screen romances.'
A coughing Jennifer replied: 'Well.. I mean, David?' before he added: 'The first season, I had a major crush on Jen.'
Of his feelings for Jennifer, David added: 'At some point we were both crushing hard on each other but it was like two ships passing because one of us was always in a relationship. So, and we never crossed that boundary, you know we respected that.'
Here he is! After the cast took their seats on the famous brown sofa that took centre stage in the show's intro, James Corden took to the stage to interview the stars about the show's greatest moments
Emotional: During the special, the cast also reflected on the iconic will-they won't-they romance between Ross and Rachel, with actor David confessing he and Jennifer harboured secret crushes before filming their first kiss in season two
But Matt didn't seem so convinced, declaring: 'B*****t!'
The actress also reminisced on the iconic moment Ross and Rachel shared their first kiss in Central Perk during season two, after he finally learned his hidden feelings were reciprocated.
She told James: 'I remember saying one time to David, ''it's gonna be such a bummer if the first time you and I actually kiss is going to be on national television''.
'Sure enough, first time we kissed was in that coffee shop. So we just channelled all of our adoration and love for each other into Ross and Rachel.'
The Johnathan Ross show airs Saturday at 9:40PM on ITV1 and ITVX.