Friends Storylines That Are Very Problematic For A Millennial Audience

Friends is one of the most popular sitcoms of all time and ran for over 10 years before its finale in 2004, but since the show arrived on Netflix UK at the end of 2017, having been available in the US for many months, it has attracted a brand new – and much more sensitive – audience.

Millennial viewers who were too young to see the show when it first aired have been calling the show out on Twitter for what they deem to be some very problematic plot points.

The treatment of LGBT characters left some feeling ‘uncomfortable’, from the way Chandler was paranoid about being seen as a gay man, to his cruel jokes about his cross-dressing father.

The sitcom has also been slammed for its lack of diversity as it has few non-white characters despite being set in the multi-cultural melting pot of New York.

Below Femail reveals the Friends storylines that have irked a generation of politically correct millennials


Friends problematic storylines

Monica Geller was fat as a teenager, a fact that was used against her amongst the other characters

Friends problematic storylines

Friends problematic storylines

Millennial viewers didn’t find the jokes at Monica’s expense funny, with one calling them ‘cruel’

Monica Geller, played by Courtney Cox, is a beautiful and successful chef with an envy-inducing apartment in 1990s New York.

However, the rest of the main cast, who happen to be her flatmates, brother, and closest friends, won’t let her forget that she used to be overweight.

In a scene where the gang is watching her old prom video, Joey Tribbiani is shocked to see her looking bigger, shouting: ‘Some girl ate Monica!’.

Another, now iconic, moment in the series is a scene in which a chubby Monica dances while eating a bagel.

But it hasn’t gone down well with modern viewers, who have branded it ‘needlessly lazy and cruel’.


Friends problematic storylines

Chandler Bing’s father is a drag queen that also appears to be bisexual or gay, something Chandler mocks throughout the show

Chandler Bing is ashamed of his parents, and the rest of the group use this as fodder to mock him for the whole 10 seasons.

It is revealed that Chandler’s father had an affair with the pool boy behind his mother’s back and works as a drag queen in Las Vegas, played by Hollywood A-lister Kathleen Turner.

Known for his acerbic wit, Chandler makes plenty of jokes at every character’s expense, which includes his father.

Friends problematic storylines

Friends problematic storylines

New viewers have called the show transphobic for mocking Chandler’s father for wearing women’s clothing

After seeing him on stage, he asks: ‘Don’t you have a little too much penis to be wearing a dress like that?’

The canned laughter of a 90s audience has stayed on the old reruns, but millennial viewers have dubbed these jokes ‘transphobic’.

One furious viewer tweeted: ‘What I’ve learned from Friends being added to Netflix: the homophobic and transphobic jokes age it SO BADLY.’


Friends problematic storylines

Monica has a relationship with Dr Richard Burke, who is her father’s best friend and is 21 years older than her

In series two Monica gets into a relationship with Dr. Richard Burke, who happens to be her father’s best friend and 21 years older than her.

After struggling to come to terms with their attraction to each other, the pair enters a relationship that quickly turns serious, but they break up when he reveals he doesn’t want any more children.

The show did portray the relationship as controversial with many characters mocking the age gap, particularly considering Monica and Rachel went to high school with his daughter

Friends problematic storylines

Friends problematic storylines

Viewers called the relationship ‘creepy’, and said they should’ve never gotten together

However, new viewers are confused about how the storyline made it into the show in the first place.

One called the storyline ‘creepy’, pointing out that Richard had known his girlfriend since she was a baby.

Another posted: ‘How can people think that Monica and Richard were a good couple of Friends?! No no no… absolutely not.’


Friends problematic storylines

Ross was very uncomfortable with his daughter Emma having a nanny that was a man

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns that have followed, gender equality is at the forefront of conversation in Hollywood right now.

But back in the 90s, Friends wasn’t so concerned about offending either men or women and has now come under fire for enforcing gender stereotypes.

In one episode Rachel gets a nanny for her daughter Emma, but Emma’s father Ross isn’t comfortable when he discovers that the nanny is a man and questions if he is gay.

Friends problematic storylines

Friends problematic storylines

The character has been branded ‘sexist and homophobic’ for his treatment of the male nanny

In season seven Rachel hires an assistant who isn’t qualified for the job purely because she is attracted to him and hopes to date him.

New audiences claim that in 2018, Ross would be called a sexist and Rachel would be fired for sexual harassment.

The supposed sexism in the series has been slammed by the Netflix generation, with one saying they want to ‘strangle’ Ross for his comments about the nanny.


Friends problematic storylines

Friends didn’t feature many characters that weren’t white, despite being set in the multicultural New York City

New York City has long been a melting pot of different cultures, and things were no different in the 1990s when Friends began.

But all six of the main characters are white and people of color rarely feature throughout the ten seasons.

One of the only prominent roles given to a black actor was Dr. Charlie Wheeler, a paleontologist who serves as a love interest to both Ross and Joey in season nine.

Friends problematic storylines

Friends problematic storylines

Lots of new viewers have noticed the lack of diversity in the show, saying there are ‘no black people’ in the cast

Another non-white character was Ross’s other girlfriend Julie, who gets dumped when Rachel confesses her feelings for him.

Viewers have hit out against the lack of diversity, saying there are ‘no black people in Friends’.

One posted: ‘Friends claimed there were no black people in NY. Imagine being that bold LMAO.’


Friends problematic storylines

Chandler has a real issue with being mistaken for a gay man and sets out to prove his sexuality

Chandler was increasingly uncomfortable with his sexuality in the earlier seasons of Friends and was horrified when he discovered that a lot of women assumed he was gay when they first met him.

In one scene a co-worker tries to set Chandler up with a man and the rest of the episode is dominated by his obsession with proving that he’s straight.

He even uses his friend’s grandmother’s funeral as an opportunity to hit on a woman to prove that he’s not gay.

The scenes haven’t stood the test of time, with one saying they ‘can’t get over’ the homophobic undertones of the episodes.

One tweeted: ‘It’s crazy to watch Friends on Netflix now and realize how homophobic and misogynistic the show really was.’

Friends problematic storylines

Friends problematic storylines

New viewers were shocked by Chandler’s ‘homophobia’ in the early episodes of the show

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