Many shows that were made decades, or even a decade or so ago, often look outdated upon rewatching. While no piece of media is perfect, there were jokes that used to be seen as acceptable that now are not. Friends is a show from the '90s and early 2000s that became popular again when it became available on Netflix.
Many people watching through again and binging the whole series have realized there were many jokes that might have seemed funny at the time that are now just cringey or uncomfortable. Here are 10 of the jokes, some specific and some long-running, that aged poorly from the series.
10 CHANDLER & JOEY BEING GROSSED OUT BY BREAST MILK
Chandler and Joey were never shy about their interest in women. While it’s totally understandable to notice people who you’re attracted to, the way they talked about women was often objectifying. It was portrayed throughout the series that Joey was the type of playboy who used women for physical needs and often left them hanging after that.
When Carol is breastfeeding her new baby, Joey and Chandler are grossed out by the process, even though they love to talk about breasts. Clearly, they aren’t mature enough to handle respecting women’s bodies.
9 ALL OF THE FAT JOKES ABOUT MONICA
Anyone who has seen more than just a few episodes of the show is aware that Monica being fat in her youth is an overused, running gag. There are so many jokes about her being overweight, including Ross saying, "I grew up in a house with Monica, okay. If you didn’t eat fast, you didn’t eat."
The fat shaming is gross and exaggerated, and it’s really hard to watch. Unfortunately, fat shaming still happens in media today, but Friends is still one of the worst offenders.
8 THE MANY TIMES CHANDLER & JOEY HARASS WOMEN
There are a lot of outdated views on dating and men and women in this show. Chandler and Joey are often pretty disrespectful to the women around them and make many comments about their bodies. There are even instances where both Chandler and Joey pretend to be other people to get women to sleep with them, which is definitely a form of assault.
They also both make comments about their female friends and their bodies and reference wanting to sleep with them. Joey especially makes reference to imagining his female friends making out together or having threesomes with him. It makes it seem like men can’t control themselves and that this kind of behavior is normal.
7 MAKING FUN OF CHANDLER’S TRANSGENDER FATHER
One of the most egregious examples of transphobia on Friends is how Chandler’s transgender father is talked about throughout the series. Although on the show it’s only ever mentioned that his father is a drag queen and gay, the series creator Marta Kauffman has confirmed that Chandler's father was transgender.
This whole storyline in the show is used as comedy. Chandler is ashamed of his father and his friends also think the story is hilarious.
6 ROSS NOT LETTING BEN PLAY WITH DOLLS
Ross is a character that the Internet loves to hate, and it’s somewhat easy to see why. He is often a bad friend and partner, and sometimes even a bad parent.
In “The One With the Metaphorical Tunnel,” Ross is bothered by the fact that Carol and her wife Susan let Ben play with dolls. He goes out and buys a G.I. Joe and tries to get Ben to play with it instead of a Barbie. This is just one example of Ross being insecure about gender roles, and it doesn’t play well in this day and age.
5 ROSS FREAKING OUT OVER A MALE NANNY
Once again, Ross shows that he’s pretty old-fashioned in his views on gender. When Rachel finds a male nanny to take care of Emma, Ross is weirded out by this.
He even says the line, “What kind of job is that for a man— a nanny? It’s like a woman wanted to be…” Clearly, he has pretty rigid ideas about which jobs men and women should have. And he just can’t handle the fact that a man could be good at taking care of kids.
4 SO MANY GENDER STEREOTYPES
There are so many ways that gender stereotypes exist in Friends. To start with, the gender roles are apparent in Monica and Chandler’s relationship, as Chandler and the other men are always shown watching TV and rarely helping with things like cooking or cleaning.
There are also a lot of comments made about how women are more emotional or how men are more sexual. Overall, you can tell the views on gender roles and stereotypes in the show reflect a different time period.
3 HOW CAROL & SUSAN ARE PORTRAYED
This is another instance of Friends having a big problem with using homophobic jokes to get laughs. While there is something to be said about the fact that the show showed a wedding between two women, the LGBTQA+ characters on the show were often the butt of jokes.
Anytime anyone was perceived as gay, it was seen as inferior and also funny. The fact that Carol left Ross to be with a woman is a running joke in the show and also an annoying one.
2 BIG AGE GAPS IN MANY RELATIONSHIPS
Another running trend in the show is to have characters enter into relationships with people who are way older or younger than them. Monica dates Richard for a long time, even though he literally knew her and was her eye doctor growing up.
Plus, she later dates his son, which makes the whole situation even stranger. Then, Ross ends up dating one of his students, which is unethical on many levels.
1 CHANDLER BEING SO WORRIED ABOUT BEING GAY
Another example of the homophobia on the show is the running joke that Chandler might be gay. He is always really worried about this fact. This entire gag is set up in a way that makes it sound like being gay as a bad thing to be.
Sometimes, people in the show see Chandler as gay and he gets very sensitive and offended by this fact. The show always used LGBTQA+ identities as jokes in this way and never portrayed them in a very positive light.