The One Where You Realize Friends Is Totally Problematic

Doree Shafrir talks to with Ashley Perez on this episode of Rerun about “Friends,” called, “The One With All The Thanksgivings.” This episode is a series of flashbacks to when they were younger. But it starts nice and silly, like this:

Rachel:  “I know Monica’s worst Thanksgiving.”

Phoebe: “I know I know. It’s the one where Joey got Monica’s turkey stuck on his head.

Friends was a great physical comedy, Doree and Ashley agree. They also talk about how the Friends actors came up together from the bottom and that they were able to craft jokes around each other because they were so familiar with each other. “This is only half way through the season,” Ashley says, “But By episode 10 they could give each other a look and it was hilarious.” Which is so true.

But the show, as Doree and Ashley, continue watching, was not without it’s problems.

There are so many issues with Friends, but probably the main one is that they’re all white, that they’re all rich, that they’re all straight, that they’re all living in this rent controlled apartment. All of it, when you look back on it now, is pretty unbelievable. Friends was silly and comforting, but it was never believable.

Then they unpack Monica’s past. Remember “Fat Monica?” Oy. I know. There’s  a running joke on Friends that Monica, played by Courtney Cox, who is the skinniest person alive, used to be fat. And that some how this is, like, funny. They discuss how in the episode, there’s a flashback to where a much younger Chandler says to Ross: “Don’t leave me with your fat sister,” or something like that. The laugh track explodes with shits and giggles, and it’s, like, ugh, who thought this was funny? Was Friends really this icky? I guess it was.

The conversation turns into an interesting psychological and sociological breakdown of Friends that could be summed up in Ashley’s response:  “What the fuck Friends?” she says. It was the era of “Must See” television. Unless you programmed your VCR, you didn’t watch it. As opposed to now—shows are impossible to avoid. Now people beg for spoiler alerts. For better or for worse, it was a different time in our culture. Look, Friends is dated. But it’s interesting to go back and take a look from a newer perspective, which is exactly why Rerun is worth your time.