22 Reasons Why ‘Friends’ Was A Garbage TV Show (And Won’t Be Missed When It Leaves Netflix)
Twenty-five years ago, six 20-something codependent friends all converged into one (but sometimes two) apartment complex where everyone was in everyone else’s business — that’s so New York. When they weren’t sipping expensive coffee together, they were, oh yeah, sipping coffee together. During its 10 seasons, the show became a staple of must-see TV, but underneath the fanfare lurked offensive jokes, directionless plotlines, and stupor-inducing homogenization. Fun fact: Friends was actually a shit TV show. We just didn’t realize it until now. Don’t believe us? Scroll along as we unpack the reasons why we won’t miss the series when it leaves Netflix.
1. That apartment.
None of these characters could've afforded that open-plan, two-bedroom Greenwich Village apartment with a private balcony (estimated at around $4 million) given the low-wage jobs (waitress, musician, actor) that half of them had. How stupid did the screenwriters think we were?
2. They were not good friends.
These so-called pals were downright cruel to one another. Name-calling, insults, pranks, and gossip were the norm. They didn’t even seem to like each other most of the time and quite frankly, we didn’t like them, either.
3. The misogyny.
Women were divided into two camps on this show: hot or smart. They couldn't be both. Monica was frequently labeled as a slut, while Joey's promiscuity was never questioned. And even the token lesbians on the show weren't free from sexual innuendo about whether they'd switch teams or try a threesome.
4. Ross' toxic masculinity.
Ross was beloved because he seemed like a "nice guy," but look closer and you'll see he was jealous and possessive of the women he dated. He was also uncomfortable with the idea of a male nanny and he wouldn't let his son play with a Barbie. For such an educated guy, he was a dinosaur when it came to gender equality.
5. The fat-shaming.
No one on this show would let us forget that stick-thin Monica was once fat. They wouldn't let her forget it, either. Monica was mercilessly teased about her former weight by everyone, including her own brother and her husband.
6. The homophobia.
Whether or not Chandler was gay was a running joke on the series. He and Joey also had several "no homo" moments and even questioned whether they hugged one another too much. How much homophobia was there on Friends? Enough to fill a 50-minute video.
7. The transphobia.
Chandler's dad was a transgender woman, though popular TV didn't really have the vocabulary to describe her as such at the time (nor did the cast use her new name, Helen). Instead, the friends made tasteless jokes about Chandler's "gay dad" with "drag queen" proclivities and questioned whether or not she had a penis while Chandler remained perpetually mortified.
8. The trivialization of Phoebe's trauma.
Phoebe had it rough as a kid. Apparently, she watched her mother commit suicide, then ended up homeless. Yet this space cadet's backstory is treated like a punchline when, in fact, mental illness is no laughing matter.
9. The white-washing.
Only a sitcom like Friends could make New York (aka the most diverse place in the U.S.) look like Vermont (aka the whitest place in the U.S.).
10. The immaturity.
The actors looked far too old for their 20-something characters, yet they acted like preschoolers -- taking naps, throwing tantrums, and whining non-stop.
11. The stereotypes.
Every character on this show is a stereotype. Stop us if you've heard this one before: the hyper-sexual Italian man, the anxious nerd, the insecure asshole, the spoiled beauty, the former fat girl, and the dumb blonde. Not one of these characters has any, um, character.
12. The cultural appropriation.
No, Monica, you're not exotic now that you indulged in braids while in Barbados.
13. Ross' so-called education.
We're supposed to believe this guy has a Ph.D. and is a professor? Give us a break.
14. Joey's food issues.
Dude likes food. OK. So do we! But does he have to be so ridiculous about it?
15. The obnoxiousness.
No explanation necessary.
16. The pettiness.
You can tell we didn't have a lot going on in our lives when we thought fights like these were entertaining.
17. They left nothing to the imagination.
Every episode's title started with “The one with…”, completely eliminating the element of surprise. The humor in Friends was so obvious, it required zero brainpower. You never finished an episode feeling like you'd learned a new witty quip or a joke worth repeating later. What you saw is what you got. And it wasn't much.
18. The gags weren't funny.
Thank goodness for the laugh track or we'd be listening to some serious crickets right about now.
19. The characters were too stupid to live.
Fuck-ups can be funny. But being as stupid as every character on Friends is is unforgivable. There's no way these people could have functioned in society given their level of idiocy.
20. The way they treated Carol and Susan.
Lesbian couple Carol and Susan were groundbreaking for their time. They're also arguably the only redeeming characters of this show. Yet their sexual identities are constantly questioned. Ross just can't get over the fact that his ex-wife left him for a woman. During Carol's pregnancy, he plays "the sperm card" more than once to reassert his manhood (and implied superiority).
21. There was nothing sexy about the sex.
Never mind that all the characters who could hook up did. The only exception was Ross and Monica, and that's because they were siblings (though we wouldn't have put such a storyline past them). But these fumbling friends didn't have hot sex; it was awkward and staged and completely unsexy.
22. The baby fever.
Every single character's storyline veered into parenthood territory at some point in the series, with the exception of Joey's. (Though even he adopts a chick and a duckling in the series finale.) Talk about redundant and unimaginative writing. There's more to life than domesticity...right?