Profiles in PC courage: Brave millennials slam ‘Friends’ over show’s ‘homophobia & misogyny’
America is under attack. Just read the headlines, we are surrounded by vicious enemies intent on destroying our way of life. There are imaginary missiles being shot at Hawaii. Vladimir Putin is hiding under every American’s bed. And now Friends, that cornerstone of the 1990’s Must See TV craze, has been revealed to be the enemy within, working to destroy our politically correct American values.
Friends, which ran from 1994 to 2004, followed the travails of Ross and Rachel, Chandler and Monica, Phoebe and Smelly Cat, and Joey and every woman in New York. Americans, myself among them, watched it with a religious fervor. Friends was so ubiquitous in the 90’s, you simply couldn’t escape it or its relentless earworm of a theme song “I’ll Be There For You.” Even star Jennifer Aniston’s haircut “The Rachel” became a cultural craze.
So, how can a benign, mass-market, corporate network television show like the 90’s beloved NBC sitcom be anything but mild entertainment? Well, little did we know at the time, but Friends had a dirty little secret that, due to some very delicate and sensitive millennials, has been exposed twenty years later.
As I and the rest of America were mindlessly enjoying the shenanigans of Friends as they hung out in their ridiculously oversized New York City apartments and drank coffee at Central Perk, their absurdly welcoming coffee shop, we were actually being conditioned to hate women, homosexuals and fat people! I know it is hard to believe, and I am just as shocked as you are about this whole turn of events, but it is true. I know this because a bunch of millennials took to Twitter to alert me to the error of my Friends-watching ways and the malevolent evil infecting the show.
This whole situation started because all ten seasons of Friends are now available on Netflix, and millennials have been checking out the show. As they watched, some of the more fragile millennials got “emotionally triggered” when they noticed something sinister, namely that Friends is homophobic, misogynistic and fat-shames people…well…not all people, mostly just Monica, who, let’s be honest, was shamefully obese as a teenager.
These emotionally-triggered millennials then took to the internet in a tizzy of Friends-fueled outrage to share their disgust at discovering all of the insensitive jokes about Chandler’s sexuality, Monica’s girth, and empty-headed lothario Joey’s lust-fueled womanizing.
When I think of these brave young millennials forcing themselves to sit through the politically incorrect nightmare of Friends just so they could inform me of its evils, I’m reminded of another generation of selfless young people who, at a similar age (18-20), stormed the beaches at Normandy under a torrent of Nazi machine gun fire and were sacrificed by the thousands in order to help the Western Allies get a foothold in Europe against Hitler’s war machine.
Those young men who fought World War II have been branded the “Greatest Generation”, but after being “woke” by these anti-Friends activists, I have now come to realize that the true “Greatest Generation” of American heroes are actually the millennial multicultural couch warriors, braving the savage horror of watching Friends on Netflix. These courageous heroes and heroines have survived a fate much crueler than anything seen on D-Day, they’ve had to survive being exposed to the most brutal weapon of all ‒ indelicate humor!
Friends’ homophobia, in particular, is an atrocity that is utterly shocking to behold in hindsight. I wish there had been some intrepid millennials around back in the 90’s so they could have notified GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) about the horrific gay bashing comedy of Friends. In case you were unaware, GLAAD is a watchdog against homophobia in the media and they surely would have held a vile show like Friends to account for their anti-gay and hate filled humor.
Oh wait…I just looked it up and it seems a non-millennial did inform GLAAD about Friends back in the 90’s - and the organization swiftly responded by nominating the show three times (1995,’96,’97) and awarding them once (1995) for their prestigious GLAAD Media Award, to “recognize and honor various branches of the media for their outstanding representations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives.”
I am flabbergasted that GLAAD was so easily duped by Friends!! I hope some millennials valiantly take to twitter to do battle with GLAAD for this Chamberlain-esque appeasement!
Having had the scales torn from my eyes regarding Friends, I now look with a jaundiced eye to the other sitcoms of my past. With the true nature of Friends revealed, the whole house of Must See TV cards now crumbles and we are left with some very ugly truths. For example, Seinfeld wasn’t just a witty show about nothing, it was a piece of propaganda meant to uphold the patriarchy and white supremacy. Cheers was not an amusing little romp about a rag-tag group of fun-loving friends in a Boston bar, but rather a vehicle to demean the working class as drunk and stupid while fat-shaming Norm in the process. The Cosby Show wasn’t a good-humored program about a kindly upper middle class African-American doctor and his family, but rather was a vehicle meant to uphold a veneer of normalcy that obfuscated the truth about a man and his serial sexually predatory behavior. (OK…that last one actually IS true.)
I was initially skeptical but have now been thoroughly convinced by the emotional millennial outcry against Friends. I believe with all of my soul that my once-best Friends, Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey and Ross, and even Ross’s funny little monkey Marcel, have most egregiously overstepped the bounds of decent human behavior and political correctness with their homophobia, misogyny and fat-shaming.
I, for one, admire our newest “Greatest Generation,” the millennials, and applaud them as they mount their revisionist history offensive against the scourge of past comedy that in hindsight may be considered slightly questionable and that makes them feel ever-so-mildly uneasy.
When I think of these brave young men and women and the long fight that lay ahead for them, I am reminded of Winston Churchill’s famous rallying cry for the British as they faced down the Nazis. If Churchill were alive today I’m sure he would tell Millennials…“We shall go on to the end. We shall fight Everybody Loves Raymond, we shall fight on against Frazier and The Golden Girls, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength against The Simpsons, we shall defend Political Correctness, whatever the cost may be (as long as it is minimal and requires no effort greater than tweeting). We shall fight Who’s the Boss from the 80’s, we shall fight Mary Tyler Moore and M*A*S*H* from the 70’s, and we shall fight The Dick Van Dyke Show from the 60’s and I Love Lucy from the 50’s; we shall never surrender!”
In closing and as thanks for enlightening me to the pernicious villainy of Friends, I want to share with my new millennial “friends” these sage words of wisdom that struck a chord with me when I was a young man and might do the same for them as they make their way in the world. So rouse yourself from your parent’s couch, put down your energy drink, your vape and your iPhone 8, and lose yourself in the insipid, banal brilliance of The Rembrandts “I’ll Be There For You”…and try not to get too offended.
“So no one told you life was going to be this way.
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A.
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear,
when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year, but…I’ll be there for you (when the rain starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you (like I’ve been there before)
I’ll be there for you (cause you’re there for me too)!”
Michael McCaffrey, for RT
Michael McCaffrey is a freelance writer, film critic and cultural commentator. He currently resides in Los Angeles where he runs his acting coaching and media consulting business. mpmacting.com/blog/
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.