TV

The Cringiest Things 'Friends' Characters Have Ever Done

Image credit: Legion-Media

Everybody loves a good comedy – but not all of them stand the test of time.

We all agree that some shows are timeless and will always have a place in our hearts. But even the show that has defined our generation, 'Friends', has not aged well. Although we still revisit some of our favorite episodes, some scenes years later evoke not a nostalgic smile but embarrassment instead.

'Friends' did have its moments, but looking back it's easy to see that it did not age well at all.

It's easy to understand why twenty years ago 'Friends' seemed so funny – it really was a kind of revolution for TV. 'Friends' was a series that was unlike anything else on television at the time, dealing with issues and topics not usually discussed on TV before. It contained jokes about casual sex, about same-sex relationships, it did things that hadn't been done before – that's why it seemed so funny to us. But the world has changed in twenty years, and what seemed funny before now feels fairly cringey, or even offensive.

3. The whole 'male nanny' debacle

Watching Ross be surprised that a straight man wants to take care of children is like watching an elderly man get on rollerblades for the first time: it's almost painfully awkward. Ridiculousness of the whole situation is understandably exaggerated (after all it is a TV show), but still we can't help but cringe when Ross decides that Freddie Prinze Jr.'s character isn't "man enough" to take care of his daughter. Imagine someone asking all these questions about the nanny's sexuality and then firing them just for being a man? In reality, Ross would probably end up being sued – and don't tell us he didn't get what was coming to him.

2. "Fat Monica" jokes

We're not saying that 'Friends' was about fat shaming, but all these jokes about "fat Monica" do feel cringey today. The show definitely could've handled it better, rather than implying that Monica became hot and desirable etc only after she lost all that weight. Sometimes "fat Monica" jokes just fell flat, and sometimes it was more than that, with the show feeding into the perception that overweight people were to be pitied or laughed at rather than respected.

1. Chandler's dad story line

While it was an almost revolutionary thing, introducing an "out and proud" gay character, there are so many things that went wrong during the course of the show with Chandler's dad scenes. The biggest mistake in how 'Friends' handled the character? Conflating transgender people and drag queens, thus creating a misunderstanding that led to many viewers thinking that the two groups are the same. Years later 'Friends' co-creator actually talked in an interview how she regrets "misgendering" Chandler's dad in the series: over the course of the series the character was always referred to as "he/him" despite being a transgender woman. And don't start us talking about Chandler's blatant homophobia towards his parent – all those scenes are 100% awkward to watch today.

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