Some people were expecting this reunion show to rectify all the wrongs the ten seasons of Friends unleashed on its poor audience back in the ’90s.
They expect the show to address the fat jokes, the lack of a main character of color or the fact that Ross was upset when the nanny turned out to be a man and all its other sins.
The indignation train started rolling immediately when – predictably – that wasn’t the case. The reunion show is – here comes the kicker – a trip down memory lane for the millions of people all around the world who love the show.
It did not turn out to be a political masterclass nor a video phd on sociology nor did it become a progressive pamphlet.
It turned out to be… a reunion show.
So all those people who make it their life’s mission to crusade for the rights of anyone who could be even the least bit oppressed (except for the Palestinians of course, I mean, there need to be exceptions) had ammunition to write opinion pieces in disgust. Their favorite ingredient to show how much more morally ripe they are than anyone else on the block. God, these must be boring people…
What a strange idea to expect fictional stories to be the main engine to change the world.
According those critics a fictional show has to always represent the ideal society. So all characters on a show have to be super inclusive AND the show has to even predict the future of wokeness so that 20 or 40 years after it was released it is still retroactively woke.
That’s a lot to expect from fictional stories that are here to entertain us and to offer us an escape from the inevitable drudgery of human life. Not that stories can’t teach us anything, but I think the majority of us will still turn to a documentary and not a sitcom if their primary goal is to be educated.
These critics expect shows to be even more fictional than they already are by showing us situations that may be desirable, but are simply not real.
There are fat jokes out there.
Not every group of friends includes a half black half Asian transexual dating a Latino nullo (person with no gender who choose to have their genitals removed) raising a Roma child together.
Fictional series – paradoxically – have so much appeal because there is a good deal of reality to them.
Yes, six friends hanging out in the nineties in New York were probably more concerned about their dating life, their looks, their career and having silly funny, then in fighting racism or vocally campaigning for gay rights.
By the standards of the time Friends actually did a very good job showing alternative life styles that are just as good as more traditional life styles.
Shock of all shocks…They did this with a lot of humor and comical exaggeration.
There is a lesbian couple raising a child, there is a transvestite, plenty of women embracing their sexuality, a black female with a genius level brain and smoking hot looks who overall is also a decent human being, a black lawyer, Chandler has a black boss, not once, but twice, and has a job interview where, again, a black guy decides to hire him or not…
The fact that some self-ordained knights of the social justice realm expect more from this show just tells us how iconic this show really is and how many people were moved by it.
I know there are also plenty of people who have never seen the show or who saw maybe one episode and decided it wasn’t for them, but to many of us it was a door to a different world where we could forget about our worries and get lots of laughs. I know people who still have to laugh out loud even when they watched the show for the tenth or even twentieth time. Hurray for a show like that.
For those who expect sitcoms to be zealous crusades for a supposedly (a word many came to use after the episode where Joey picks it up from Chandler) better world:
There are huge libraries out there containing incredibly well researched books about any problem humanity faces.
Friends did not promote KKK lynching, did not deviously suggest the Holocaust never happened or sanction rape. It also didn’t contain obvious messages from the other side of the political spectrum. It’s almost as if the creators had no intention whatsoever of promoting any kind of political agenda.
Their goal was to entertain people. I don’t think it was ever their intention to offend anyone nor does it seem to have been their intention to actively campaign for any particular cause.
They showed us 6 twenty somethings trying to build a life for themselves and in a way that would make people laugh.
And they did so with resounding success.
Sniping at it reeks a lot like envy and not much else…