15 years flew by since the last episode of Friends was aired, yet driven by nostalgia, many of us still continue to come back to this popular sitcom. Joey Tribbiani, Phoebe Buffay, Chandler Bing, Rachel Green, and Ross and Monica Geller (characters embodied by, respectively, Matt Le Blanc, Lisa Kudrow, Matthey Perry, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, and Courtney Cox) have been entertaining multiple generations of viewers who've stuck by them over these three decades, as well as conquering the hearts of those who had only recently joined the phenomenon.
Add to this the fact that Friends still ranks as the number one most binge-watched tv-series of all time, according to a TV Time study. Still, despite its continuous popularity, the show is, as of late, increasingly finding itself bombarded by critiques fired by millennials and equal rights activists, and no matter how much we loved it, we can't turn a blind eye to the fact that some moments and themes decorating its plot are blatantly offensive, to say the least - or, in other words, haven't aged well.
10 The lack of ethnic diversity
The familiar tale of a bunch of friends hanging out in the living room is a crucial plot theme the show relies upon. And, despite them all living in the center of one of the most multicultural cities in the world, practically every person they meet tends to be white.
In fact, during the course of all 10 seasons, only a handful of non-caucasian characters even make an appearance - something that would be considered preposterous and impossible in the television of today.
9 Too many stereotypes
The show is littered with cliches and stereotypes, more than could be accounted for, but we'll give it a shot. Rachel constantly seeks for a man she could date and marry, which sends the message that this is the primary objective and goal of every woman, even one living in one of the business capitals of the most developed country in the world. Her completely giving up on her dream job for Ross only backs this point up that much more.
On the other hand, Monica is a chef and a complete clean freak who almost seems to serve to encourage the stereotypical belief that all women should cook and clean for everyone. Then, Joey is the typical womanizer - someone who keep chasing women yet never settles down. Oh, and he's Italian. He provides a direct contrast to Ross, who seems to be a typical geek who works in a museum and has frequent relationship problems (namely Rachel). This kind of un-originality in characterization is definitely one of the aspects in which Friends have not aged well.
Sexism...towards male nannies, women, and Joey, to name just a few. That's right, for example, in "The One With Joey's Bag," Joey is so ridiculed for his admittedly practical unisex bag that he eventually had to give it up - all so he would stop being considered feminine. However, an even more scandalous scene occurred in one of the episodes of season 9 - "The One With the Male Nanny."
Likely more than a few fans already know by the episode title that the problem here is introduced by Ross and his discontent with Sandy (Freddie Prinze Jr), who happens to be a more-than-qualified male nanny (which, arguably, makes him feel insecure about himself as well). What he can't comprehend is how a heterosexual guy could choose this career path, which is why he fires him. This later leads to Ross asking Sandy "Are you Gay?" to which he later adds "You've gotta be at least bi..." making him look sexist and homophobic, which brings us to the next entry on our list...
7 The Contrast between female and male homosexuality
...and homophobic character behavior, in general, pose a BIG problem in Friends. First of all, Friends seems to relay the message that during the unfoldings of the series, it was shameful to be a homosexual man. On the other hand, lesbians were already viewed as borderline cool and unique in the show, with any mention of female-to-female action in the show being met with extreme approval from the show's male characters.
The latter is namely showcased in "The One With All The Haste" when Monica and Rachel, in order to win back their apartment, make an offer to Joey and Chandler that they will make out for one minute straight, to which they easily agree following up with "totally worth it!" Finally, we can add the fact that after the wedding of Ross' ex-wife Carol (Jane Sibbett) and her new partner Susan (Jessica Hecht), the pair is never seen kissing on the show.
We're still don't know whether Chandler's dad was merely dressed in a drag, or self-identified as a woman entirely. But we do find out that he's transgender later on in the show. The problem here is that his character in the show was a constant subject of jokes and laughter, and never really taken seriously as a completely normal and functioning human that deserves respect.
To make matters worse, this whole situation has made Chandler ashamed of his dad, and that's infuriating. This is notably something that would never be seen on today's television shows or would be met with extreme discontent and criticism.
5 Fat Shaming Monica
Throughout the entire 10-season run of our favorite sitcom, Monica (and we) were constantly reminded about her arguably worst period of life - the time when she was overweight. Constant fat jokes on her expense today surely would not pass, as they would seem simply too offensive and inappropriate, especially if we take into consideration the fact that obesity is today a serious nation-wide issue causing deaths and sorrow to many families.
We know that Monica Geller is determined, a control freak, kind, and passionate (among other things), but whenever the episode that brings us back to her high-school days appears, all we see is the obese, hungry, and desperate version of Monica the show portrays her past self as. The first time we see this version of one of our favorite protagonists is in "The One With The Prom Video" when Joey, seeing the prom video of Monica eating a sandwich in her prom dress, states: "Some girl ate Monica!" So, even a decade after she had successfully lost this weight, she is continuously reminded of, and ridiculed for, her past. So much for body positivity - another sensitive and popular topic in today's time.
4 Relationships with a huge age gap
Also known as the Monica and Richard (Tom Selleck) problem. This controversial couple perhaps didn't awaken the disgust of the '90s audience, but today a 21-year age gap is considered quite deterring to millennials. Why wouldn't it be?
Let's remind ourselves that Richard is an eye doctor as well as an old friend of the Gellers (Monica's father's best friend, to be precise), who had witnessed Monica growing up and whose daughter Michelle went to school together with Monica. Sound a bit creepy now, doesn't it? The fact that Monica is his patient, and the fact that she later dates his son makes matters a tad weirder still.
3 "The One Where Ross Dates A Student"
Similarly to our previous entry, the relationship between Ross and her student Elizabeth Stevens (Alexandra Holden) would not be met with approval today. First of all (and most obvious), Ross is her professor (and we all know the problem with that). Still, in the 18th episode of season 6, Ross recklessly indulges in a relationship with her (still his student) and puts his entire career on the line for that one fling.
On the other hand, there's also a 12-year age gap between them, who some people might consider a problem, while others will happily applaud Ross for his achievement. No help in that regard comes from his friends either, who only use his relationship with Elizabeth as joke material.
2 Incest situations
There were a few of them throughout the show's run, each arousing a certain dose of discomfort in the viewers. We should first mention Ross who, in season seven, attempts to hook up with his attractive cousin Cassie (Denise Richards). By the way, the same episode starts off with the conversation between Ross and Monica on long it's been since each of them has last had sex - nothing weird here, just a normal brother-sister "convo."
Even more controversial is the fact that Monica's first kiss was with Ross. Well, Monica, sorry to break it to you, but it seems like the midnight mystery kisser case is finally closed! We'll finish this one up by reminding you of the time Monica was asked if she wanted to watch a sex tape between Rachel and Ross, to which she enthusiastically yelled "Hell yeah!" Which sister wouldn't watch her brother have sex with her best friend, amirite? No? Ok...
1 Joking about sexual assaults
In other words, the time when Phoebe is allegedly sexually violated by Rachel's boyfriend at work, which was, by the way, met with resounding laughter from the in-studio audience. We don't see that happening today.
Let's get back to the very first episode, where Rachel is going out with an Italian guy named Paolo and introduces him to Phoebe so he could schedule a massage with her. Then, when he shows up to the massage, the guy drops his robe in front of Phoebe and starts touching her leg, before using both of his hands to grab her behind. The situation had obviously gone out of control, but the only thing Phoebe could think about was how her best friend Rachel would react to the news. Should we also add that Rachel was more struck by Paolo cheating on her than the fact that he assaulted her best friend and that she was dating a sexual predator?