Lisa Kudrow on Friends’ all white cast: ‘it should be looked at as a time capsule’


Lisa Kudrow is in the new Steve Carrell series, Space Force. The show looks funny and the cast is comprised of really solid comedic actors, like Lisa. While doing press for the show, the Sunday Times asked about Friends because we got this close to some form of a reunion but COVID was all, “psyche!” So now all we have is to once again talk about the show. (Not like the cast is ever not going to be asked about it.) The discussion, however, is leaning more and more into the question of how well did the show actually age? It certainly lacked for diversity and for a show that had strong LGBTQ characters in supporting roles, it made a lot of insensitive remarks. Lisa handled the question deftly, I think, when she said that the show does fall short in many ways when held up to today’s light but maybe it should be viewed more as a time capsule.

Friends star Lisa Kudrow has defended the hit 90s sitcom, saying it was “progressive” at the time but would not feature an all-white cast if it was made today.

The actress, 56, played Phoebe Buffay in every episode of the show – about six young adults living in New York City – between 1994 and 2004.

Kudrow told The Sunday Times that fans should look at the show as a “time capsule”, saying it would be “completely different” now.

She said: “Well, it would not be an all-white cast, for sure. I’m not sure what else, but, to me, it should be looked at as a time capsule, not for what they did wrong.

“Also, this show thought it was very progressive. There was a guy whose wife discovered she was gay and pregnant, and they raised the child together.

“We had surrogacy too. It was, at the time, progressive.”

[From Sunday Times via]

David Schwimmer said something similar in his Guardian interview. It not that the cast doesn’t understand the criticisms of the show, but when the show was being made, there were many progressive themes that hadn’t been portrayed in a mainstream program. Many shows suffer when considered through current, hopefully progressed, sensibilities. My all-time favorite TV show, M*A*S*H, still blows me away but OMG is it tragically sexist, among other outdated ideas. So I agree that it’s okay to view certain shows as time capsules as long as we can point out the ills of that time period as well.

The one thing, however, that I really wish the Friends cast would acknowledge when discussing the ‘all white cast’ is that Friends was inspired by Living Single, especially after this point was made repeatedly after David’s interview. There is a lot to suggest that Friends wasn’t just inspired by Living Single, but was likely the reason it was created, specifically an all-white version of the very well done and popular LS. So it’s fine to say that the show is progressive for the time in which it was made, but respect who blazed that trail while you are doing so.

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77 Responses to “Lisa Kudrow on Friends’ all white cast: ‘it should be looked at as a time capsule’”

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  1. Darla says:

    Just my feeling and I could be wrong, but if I were one of them not sure I’d want to bring up the “all-black Living Single” in response to criticisms of Friends being all white. That could be a mine field if not said exactly right, and I can hear the missteps already.

    My favorite 90′s show, Buffy, also doesn’t age well because of its all white main cast. Did I think about it at that time? Nope. I thank god I changed and grew over the years. But yeah, I still think that Whedon should have done better.

    • PPP says:

      I think Firefly is even worse when it comes to Asian representation. It takes place in a universe where Chinese culture is supposed to be equally prominent as Anglo culture but the Tams were whitewashed and I can’t think of any prominent side characters that were Chinese. It’s very much a product of a limited white guy’s notion of diversity as being a matter of casting black characters.

      • Darla says:

        You’re right. I never liked Firefly so only saw it once years ago. And I never think about it, but now that I am, you’re definitely right.

    • WTW says:

      On one hand, I disagree with Lisa Kudrow’s “time capsule” comment, as the show was criticized for its lack of diversity while it was on air. It’s not just that people are retrospectively criticizing its all-white cast. That’s why the show brought on people like Gabrielle Union and Aisha Tyler as love interests. Ross also had an Asian girlfriend pretty early on. On the other hand, I think it’s fine that the show is all-white because statistically most white people do not have friends of another race, even in a place like NYC, and especially coming from their class backgrounds (Phoebe and Joey being the exceptions). I’ve spent time in NYC, and it’s shocking because it’s so diverse, but the upper middle-white class white people I knew there live in a privileged bubble with other people very much like them. They buy the same beauty products, clothes, etc. Their workplaces are even overwhelmingly white. They went to similar colleges. They don’t actually interact with people of color, unless on occasion, one dates someone of a different race. This was my experience having to travel there for work to an office filled with Rachel Green types and wannabes. They didn’t know what to make of me–a black woman–and I experienced an incredible amount of microaggressions that are still painful.

      • Annaloo. says:

        WTW, I feel seen!!!

        You are so right about the lack of friends of color amongst many white people. Scroll people’s fb feeds and you see this over and over.

      • frenchtoast says:

        @annaloo why do you care about who white people are friends with?

      • Arpeggi says:

        @frenchtoast because it matters when you are talking about diversity and representation? Otherwise you end up experiencing what WTW had to go through

        I was talking about this at some point last year when the SALV controversy came happened last year in Montreal (TLDR: a renowned theatre director and a signer created a show based on old salve songs and there was only one POC in the cast (not even the main character) and they were surprised that people were angry… And then Lepage did the same thing again with a French group but about the genocide of Native Americans…). One of my friend was talking a lot about creative freedom and so on and got upset when I told him that he wasn’t in a good position to talk about this when he only had 3 fb friends that were POC. There’s just so much about the realities of being a minority that you won’t notice if you or people that are really close to you never live them. You end up talking about a subject that doesn’t really affect you in your own echo chamber: it’s doesn’t bring anything to the table

    • Lexluthorblack says:

      To be fair, America is very segregated and many people have friends within the same race. I would only a minority of population have diverse representation.

  2. Eleonor says:

    I think the only tv serie of the ’90s that showed diversity was ER.

    • Lucy2 says:

      I know, there were so many 90s shows that were all white casts, ER was one of the few that wasn’t, and even they could have done a little better.
      I think a time capsule is a good way to look at it, but it’s also a fair discussion to have, and to compare how much more inclusive casting has gotten in recent years.

      • Eleonor says:

        I remember one of the chief was a woman, a lesbian, and she had a caine because she had a condition.
        For that time was groundbreaking.

      • lucy2 says:

        Yes! Dr. Weaver.
        I was thinking more of the original first season cast, but they definitely added more and more diverse characters as the series progressed.

      • Arpeggi says:

        And the surgeon was Black and his kid was deaf… Another MD was of Chinese origins and going out with a Black MD. It’s true that that POC and minorities weren’t only nurses and orderlies

      • Eleonor says:

        @Arpeggi: Dr Benton! One of my favourite characters!

    • Lua says:

      Scrubs was good too when it came to diversity.

    • Adrianna says:

      There are also some t.v. shows with very few white people in them.

  3. Becks1 says:

    The show was a mixed bag, in that it did have a lesbian relationship from the beginning (secondary characters, obviously, but still it was always there) and that became less a focus as the show went on, which I liked because it said to me that something that had been a big deal initially wasn’t a big deal anymore. But some of the characters were pretty homophobic, at least in their comments/jokes.

    There absolutely should have been more diversity, if not in the core characters, then in the supporting characters. I can think of very very few characters who were non-white, and for 10 years of a show set in NYC, that’s just ridiculous and sad.

    • Darla says:

      Not only a gay couple, but they got married on the show. That was a pretty big deal then. I mean, culturally it was a mixed bag, but I don’t think that wedding gets the credit it should. It may have really impacted Gen X more than people realize. For all the idiots I know? And I know some idiots…I don’t know anyone in my generation from school or elsewhere who ever says anything against gay civil rights.

  4. Erinn says:

    The 90s were a weird time, man. In some ways it was so progressive and yet there was sooooo much that shouldn’t have been made into jokes. I was watching some old Seinfeld last night and it was an episode called “The Suicide” and wouldn’t you believe it – Jerry was up there doing a stand up bit about suicide. It’s horrific to see now because it a) wasn’t funny and b) was incredibly insensitive.

    I also started watching Cougar Town. I REALLY enjoy Courtney in that – honestly it’s funnier (to me) than Friends ever was. But I do have a deep love for Chandler Bing that will probably never go away.

    • SomeChick says:

      I always found Seinfeld painful to watch. The humor was horrible – constantly mocking the one female character, the soup “nazi” etc. I actively avoided it.

      Friends, I only saw a few times, and I will say this: Lisa Kudrow really is a brilliant comedic actress. She deserves more work.

  5. emmy says:

    Looking back at something that was on TV that long ago is always tricky. Did it have its issues even at the time? Yes. It was a sitcom. Looking back, most of them only hold up so-so.

    I keep seeing this diversity criticism about so many shows and it’s not wrong to point it out. TV has come a long loooong way though, thank god. But sometimes what was portrayed, wasn’t that unrealistic. I keep seeing this thrown at Sex and the City as well. But does anyone think that in real life, these women would’ve had a wildly diverse group of friends? I don’t but correct me if I’m way off. But on the other hand, it’s TV, so it doesn’t have to be realistic (SATC and Friends weren’t anyway). It could also just be about giving people a job.

    Sometimes looking back helps us see what has improved and what is sadly still the same.

    • Darla says:

      I don’t think the Sex and the city girls would have had diverse friends, you’re totally right. Not even today. Agree.

      TV has come a long way. I spend a lot of time watching the CW so maybe my views are colored by that world. LGBTQ leads, very diverse casts and romantic interests. I see it. Not so much in movies though. But television is the place to be if you ask me, and has been for a while.

    • osito says:

      I think the point about looking at SATC and Friends and questioning the diversity (which definitely happened in real time with SATC, as it did with its’ spiritual successor “Girls”), is that so many aspects of the shows aren’t centered in reality at all, but critics are supposed to swallow that it wouldn’t be “realistic” to include main characters of color. I mean, people still talk about the fact that Carrie Bradshaw is writer of a small, but popular weekly column in an alternative paper, but she can afford *really* expensive clothes with nary the possibility of a re-wear? How is her closet even that deep? Most of the characters of Friends were out of work or were itinerant/freelance workers, yet they could afford giant, light-filled apartments in one of the most competitive real estate markets in the country? Those things are aspirational aspects of the story, and they lend to the fairytale quality of the fiction, especially in the case of Carrie and her wardrobe, so I guess we’re supposed to overlook them and find our realism elsewhere…
      And given this reading of the narrative world the show runners created, intentional inclusion *takes something away* from the aspirational fantasies of the show. Like, it’s simply too *jarring* to imagine a bunch of people hanging out and liking each other even though they’re not all of the same race or ethnicity. Class can be overcome, but race? Not so much.

      • emmy says:

        I do think there’s a difference between portraying people and relationships and portraying a lifestyle but yeah, the realism argument is always a little shaky.

        I know this might be a bad example because the show really was a complete fairytale in TV form but Hart of Dixie did it pretty well. Black people (no other minorities though) were just *there* in the cast. But you’ll also find a review on HuffPo that criticizes exactly that. That from the perspective of the journalist (a black woman), this feels too unrealistic (she has a point when she writes that Alabama maybe wasn’t the best place to put the characters).

        There has to be a middle ground but I don’t know that the format of sitcoms ever lended itself to that. Or maybe the writers weren’t trying.

      • osito says:

        “I do think there’s a difference between portraying people and relationships and portraying a lifestyle…”

        I think that’s really fair, and I generally agree. But just to be really clear, I wasn’t trying to pose PoC characters as a part of white characters’ lifestyles.

        I do think this is a case of perceived salability — would a diverse cast “sell” or would it “turn audiences off” to include characters of color and tell *their* stories in authentic ways? Most studios seem to think that those types of stories don’t sell, and I think that the lack of visibility and representation hurts our culture in the long run.

        And as for whether or not it’s realistic: For people like me, it’s super realistic to have a diverse group of friends, who also interact with a diverse group of people outside our mutual circle — I grew up in a really multicultural place, and even though where I live now is predominately white, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to surround myself with a diverse array of people. But I can absolutely see how that’s not the case for everyone, or even for most people. I just think shows should directly confront that idea, rather than hiding the salability argument behind an “artistic choice” argument. These are fictional worlds that can be comprised of any configuration of people. If they’re not going to make the cast diverse, let that issue come up. Let the characters have those realizations and fall in those swords and grow or reflect the gen. pop.’s stagnation on this issue.

      • Genessee says:

        Osito: To be fair about that expansive light-filled apartment, they explained it early on and repeated it in the last episode, that the reason they were able to afford it was because it was a long time rent-controlled apartment still in Monica’s grandmother name.

        Which I didn’t believe such a thing was possible at first until I started living it myself here in Los Angeles where rents are ridiculous. LOL

      • osito says:

        @Gennesee — Oy! I’d forgotten that! That’s fair. I think rent control was also mentioned on SATC, but my memory is hazy on that as well. Still, I see it as a real thing but also a fairytale trope: good fortune being bestowed from a beloved-yet-deceased relative!

    • Jegede says:

      ” I keep seeing this thrown at Sex and the City as well. But does anyone think that in real life, these women would’ve had a wildly diverse group of friends?”

      The ugly truth is that NY, esp Manhattan, is segregated socially and culturally.

      • WTW says:

        Thank you, Jegede. I just must made a long-winded comment above about how racist and segregated NYC is. I could see Phoebe and Joey having POC friends. The rest not so much. And I don’t see any of the Sex & the City chicks as having POC friends besides dating a POC on occasion. It’s shocking how segregated NYC is, given its extreme diversity. I live in L.A., and I’m not saying it’s a racial utopia at all, but the white women in NYC looked at me like I was an alien. I’m a black woman in a somewhat elite field, and they acted liked they just didn’t know what to make of me.

      • emmy says:

        SATC f*cked up the chance to address it once when Samantha dated a black man whose sister was completely against the relationship. They bungled it really horribly by portraying the sister as the bad guy and the man as too weak to stand up to her. You could tell a writer had this happen to them and no idea why but felt attacked unfairly. That storyline was like a car crash.

    • frenchtoast says:

      The show Girls on hbo was also criticized for being too white.
      I’m a poc and I still enjoyed the show Girls as white as it was because I didn’t expect to see myself represented. The show Girls wasn’t supposed to be aspirational anyway. Sure you need representation and that’s a political issue. But sometimes you just want to enjoy a tv show, that’s it.
      The representation of people of color in a white-centered show will always be one dimensional racial stereotypes. There is enough diversity on TV now I think.

      • WTW says:

        There’s definitely not enough diversity on TV. Asians are woefully underrepresented. Latino-oriented shows have started to take off in the past few years, but there’s still not enough. “Vida” is my favorite. And while blacks are the POC most likely to be represented, there’s still a lot of room for improvement with the black characters we do see. Often, they’re just not realistic characters. I watch “How to Get Away With Murder,” but I do not relate to the characters on the show, for the most part.

      • lucy2 says:

        Girls also started almost 20 years after Friends, in an era where casting was much more diverse.

      • frenchtoast says:

        @WTW the corporate medias are owned predominantly by white people, that’s why.
        Poc can do their own thing through non-corporate venues but each community has to be willing to support their own. Issa Rae did it with “awkward black girl”. And yes, she had to sell out to hbo and make a stereotype of herself in insecure but the initial idea was a good one.

  6. Jackie O'Glasses says:

    The Monica fat jokes still bother me. “Did someone sit on my Kit-Kat?” That shit drives me crazy. She wasn’t even *that fat*. Friends has it’s moments, but for the most part it has always made me cringe.

    • Isabella says:

      It was the era of heroine chic. Super thin, on the verge of anorexic was the fashion. As a woman with big boobs & butt…it wrecked my self esteem at the time. Seriously, all of them were probably a size zero size two at the most. 90s was the era of where hardly any women could meet the body standards and friends heavily pushed it.

    • Granger says:

      I remember hating the fat story-line/jokes at the time. It was especially pronounced because Cox was so, so thin — and because Aniston lost weight as the series progressed. I’ve said this before but I recall in particular the start of season 5 — Aniston and Pitt had started dating the previous spring, and over that summer she lost probably 10 lbs, maybe more — off a frame that clearly didn’t need to lose even 3 lbs! (Pitt loved his women thin — I’ve always thought she was trying to “compete” with Paltrow and Juliette Lewis.) That startling weight loss made all the fat jokes just seem so much more sad and despicable to me.

  7. CommentingBunny says:

    I’m GenX. Friends was my introduction to the concept of marriage equality. I believe the show helped push the mainstream into more progressive territory.

    But the criticisms anout lack of diversity are not new. It was criticized for bejng whitewhitewhite at the time! Maybe it’s a time capsule in the sense that the criticisms were ignored with impunity in the 90s. And maybe, ironically, shows like Friends – progressive in some ways and regressive in others – helped her us to a place where seeing all white, cishet, able-bodied casts looks dumb and unrealistic.

    It’s also served as a springboard for discussion about homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia with my kids. There are lots of points where the enitre joke is someone’s identity. Chandler’s dad is gay! Haha? And a drag queen? Get it? And – get this – Monica used to be fat! So funny!

    Most of all it’s given me a chance to talk to them about toxoc relationships and how Ross and Rachel are not goals.

    Wow. It seems I have a lot od feelings about Friends 😂

  8. Seraphina says:

    Oh. My. Lord. I didn’t even know that and I LOVED/LOVED Living single. Great show and still is. I like Friends but it’s so bubblegum and dated. LS is still fresh. Mind blown today.

    • Lexilla says:

      I know! I didn’t know about the Living Single connection either! That was a great show. They were each good in their own way. But it’s sad that the white version has an iconic status that its predecessor doesn’t. Not like we haven’t seen that before.

  9. Meme says:

    So now an old TV show is bad because only white people were in it? Ridiculous.

    • Goldie says:

      As others have pointed out, it was criticized at the time for its lack of diversify. The criticisms are not new. And no one is attacking the show. You can respect the show, while still offering constructive criticism.

    • megs283 says:

      ehh…to be fair…I’ve always thought it was bad? See CommentingBunny’s post above.

  10. foile.15 says:

    I do agree with her, I think the best approach is to see cultural and artistic works in their historical context and acknowledge the differences in political attitude/ prejudices from that time to today. You cannot simply dismiss everything that does not conform to today’s most enlightened standards, because it also eradicates the conversation about different political view points and prejudices and the progress that has been and still must be made.

    I think sometimes the insistence of everything being diverse and everyone being woke with the massive backlash for those who make mistakes, prevents people from honestly engaging with their own views and discover prejudices they might not have been aware of and be able to overcome them. Looking at the political landscape across America the country itself has still so much work to do (as sad as that is) and there must be spaces to have these discussions.

    • Allie says:

      Thank you!

    • TheOtherSarah says:

      “You cannot simply dismiss everything that does not conform to today’s most enlightened standards”
      Whose standards?
      And again, we should not pretend that the diversity conversation around the Friends cast started yesterday. The lack of diversity was criticized even back then, this is why the showrunners finally ‘caved’ and gave Ross a Black girlfriend.
      Finally, the idea that it was somehow impossible to show POC in a network show back in the 90s is simply wrong. ER, which was one of the most acclaimed shows of that area and premiered the same year as Friends, had a much more diverse cast. It was possible to have POC. Friends chose not do. They must be called out.

      • WTW says:

        “King of Queens” premiered in 1998 and was always diverse, but Doug and Carrie weren’t Manhattan elites like the “Friends” cast were.

  11. osito says:

    Thank you for mentioning Living Single, yet again! Maxine Shaw will never not be life goals for me.

  12. TheOtherSarah says:

    Yeah, cool story, except the lack of diversity was criticized even back then (hence why Ross finally had a Black girlfriend in one of the later seasons) and they just chose to ignore those criticisms. Let’s not pretend that the ‘diversity conversation’ around Friends started last year. That’s just dishonest.
    And I will never understand why these showrunners create TV shows with only white people and then set them in NYC, one of the most diverse places in the US, and in the world. If you want to show and write for white people only, fine. Go ahead and set your show in Vermont or somewhere else with 90% + white population ! They do the same stuff with Paris and it’s maddening.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Yeah, I disagree with Lisa Kudrow. A show inspired by Living Single but all white is obviously not progressive for its time. Living Single was progressive for its time!

    White people just use that (“for its time”) as an excuse to be racist.

    • TheOtherSarah says:

      Exactly. Also, the way she is using the “for its time” excuse, you would think Friends was shot in the freaking 30s. Come on, it premiered in 1994 and ended in 2004! There is no excuse.

  14. horseandhound says:

    friends is perfection. not a thing should be changed in that show.

  15. Dee says:

    When my teen daughters were binge watching Friends, I had to have some conversations with them. I hadn’t watched in so many years that I’d forgotten about some of its issues. I also remembered how all these friends had slept with one another (except Monica and Ross) and still somehow stayed friends. How does that happen in real life?

    • frenchtoast says:

      A group of friends that all had sex with each other? Sounds like very tv sitcom ever tbh.

    • WTW says:

      I don’t think this is true, is it? I think the other Friends made out/flirted with each other, but they definitely did not all have sex with each other.

    • Neha says:

      I don’t believe that’s true. Rachel never slept with Joey or Chandler, only Ross. Monica never slept with Joey or Ross, only Chandler. And Phoebe never slept with anyone.

      I think two sexual relationships in a group of six friends is fairly normal. And it’s pretty standard TV stuff, as we saw the same in shows like New Girl and HIMYM.

      • Genessee says:

        Yeah, they didn’t sleep with one another unless they were in a long term relationship: Monica=Chandler, Ross=Rachel.

        They DID however, kiss each other liberally. Yes, Chandler and Joey kissed, and then towards the end of that same episode Joey and Ross kissed (I think it was for Joeys audition) then Pheobe and Rachel kissed during the Winona Ryder episode…and THEN INCLUDING ROSS and MONICA (although they didn’t know it at the time) when Monica went to go visit Ross in college and he entered his bedroom and thought he has kissed Rachel when it turns out it was Monica who fell asleep in his bed after a party.

        I may have watched this show religiously in my late teens…

    • Emmitt says:

      They didn’t all sleep with each other. They all kissed each other but they did not all sleep with each other. They all slept around outside of the group but the only group members who had sex with each other was Ross & Rachel and Monica & Chandler. Joey & Rachel entertained the idea of being a couple (IMO Joey/Rachel was much more compatible than Ross/Rachel) but they decided to just be friends (they did not sleep together). Phoebe wouldn’t have touched Chandler or Ross with a 10 ft pole.

  16. frenchtoast says:

    It was a shitty show anyway.
    If some ndom white person wants to make a show with all white actors it’s their choice. Whatever.

  17. Pina says:

    Same with “the nanny”
    Today it would be a over and over sexist show but back then it was perfect – you also have to watch it with a goid sense of sarcasm

    • Valerie says:

      Watching The Nanny again now, I think they challenge sexism *a little* in their own way. There are a lot of gender-based jokes and stereotypes, but there are times when Fran stands up them, too. It’s a lot of silly verbal slapstick.

  18. tempest prognosticator says:

    It was an ok show. I’m a little surprised by the level of Friends nostalgia, but I guess that show had a much greater impact on people’s lives than it did on mine.

  19. Valerie says:

    I’ve never been a fan of Friends, but I am a huge M*A*S*H fan. It WAS sexist until about Season 4, when Alan Alda came on Creative Consultant and turned things around. After that, a lot of the characters levelled up, and Hawkeye and Margaret developed considerably. There were some occasional returns to casual sexism, but like I said in my above comment about The Nanny, it was challenged. Margaret would tear anyone who condescended to her a new one, and Hawkeye stopped chasing nurses for sport. I thought that was a realistic turn, for Margaret to drop the Hotlips moniker and start demanding respect. She became an icon for a lot of women. <3

  20. Christina says:

    Just here to say that I LOVED Living Single!! Me and my friends lived to watch that show. We were in college and it seemed like it showed just about everything we lived that could be televised at the time, lol.

    I never got into Friends. People loved it, but it just didn’t speak to me the same way. I watched it when I’d walk into a space where somebody be else was watching it.

  21. serena says:

    I agree it was a product of the time, I retwatch some episodes when I feel like it and sometimes I cringe at some of their quotes.

    I don’t think Living Single was ever broadcasted to my country but if they took ispiration from it, they should mention it.

  22. LunaSF says:

    I don’t think it’s fair to judge an older show by
    today’s standards (hopefully as a society we have moved forward since 2004). I’ve never gotten into Friends but I started watching Seinfeld with my husband and they guys date so many women and they are nearly all white, thin women. I watched a lot of CW shows growing up and it’s the same thing, nearly an all white cast with a few minor POC roles thrown in. At the time I didn’t pick up in it but looking back it’s very obvious. I’m not familiar with Manhattan but I have a (Wealthy) family member that lives there and shared a photo of her young daughter’s class and I was kind of shocked they were all white (And this was a public school). I think the reality is America isn’t as diverse as we think we are when it comes to interacting with people from different races and backgrounds. I don’t think that necessarily means someone is racist, we just tend to gravitate toward those with similar backgrounds out of habit and comfort. Most of us probably have some blinds spots we need to asses and rethink.

  23. Janet says:

    I often wonder what happened in the 70′s that seemed to have put an end to TV shows that were inclusive. I remember shows like The Mod Squad, the original Star Trek series, the original Mission Impossible series and the like, that had diversity in their casting and the non-white characters were educated, vital members of a team. I remember Ironside, who’s starring character was a Detective in a wheelchair.

    At some point in the 70′s, TV seemed to suddenly go T&A and inclusiveness and diversity disappeared.

  24. Emmitt says:

    People need to keep it all the way real about FRIENDS (and Sex and the City):

    I can’t see any of the characters on FRIENDS (except “maybe: Chandler…and only through work) having a non-white friend. What’s more, I don’t think any non-white people would really want to be friends with any of the FRIENDS (again, with the exception of maybe Chandler, through his job).

    Even if we fast forward to 2020, none of the FRIENDS characters (except maybe Chandler through work) would have any non-white friends. (I also think Joey and Phoebe would’ve fallen to the wayside a little bit…they’d all still be friends but 4 of them were related to each other by the end of the show). I doubt even Ben or Emma would have many, if any, non-white friends.

    It’s ok. And to keep it real, it’s not about background characters in NYC not being diverse. The people who constantly complain about FRIENDS being all white aren’t really talking about the background characters, they’re talking about the 6 main characters being all white. And they’d be the same ones who would’ve complained if they slipped a white main character on Living Single.

  25. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    It’s perspective. Everything we’re viewing and enjoying today is because of what happened prior whether collectively or pointed singularities. Our evolving landscape drives everything we do. And everything we do drives an evolving landscape. We’re a living and breathing abstract illustration which morphs and undulates every second, every day.

    But lessons learned take many repetitous cycles to stick (there are a million cliches about this fact lol). Sometimes generations. When we see something from our past, it’s important to not only see the obvious, but to be able to ponder all the complicated layers at that particular snapshot in time. We don’t live in a two-dimensional world, and we can’t look back with two-dimensional thinking. I’m so so sorry for rambling lol. I’m a history goober, and I have a lot of respect for what happened before. Everything. All this, to simply say I was never into Friends or city sex lol. I couldn’t sit through five minutes, but I know what they meant to a collective and they certainly played their roles contributing to onward and upward, even if that contribution leans.

    • David says:

      ALWAYS this. Frasier is super white and they were pretty horrible to Maris who we never see but the world changes and hopefully everything/one evolves.
      Friends was always pretty yucky personally. But I tended to like Living Single more anyhow.

  26. Ben says:

    People commenting how white Friends and SATC are. Have you take a look at the Real Housewives of NYC? Do you see diversity in the social scene in Mathattan and the Hamptons? BTW even Candace Bushnell have appeared in the RHONY series because she’s friends in real life with them. She attended one of Ramonas dinner party who is one of the most elitist, classist and rude housewives. So SATC was/is a very real representation of certain group of people.

  27. Yeppers says:

    I remember the ’90s very well and Friends’ openness about sexual topics was really progressive and of the time. However Chandler’s mother was trans and wasn’t that made a punchline many times? And Monica and Ross had a weird sibling relationship; wasn’t he her first kiss? She wanted to listen to her brother have sex at some stage and they were way too affectionate. And pretty sure Rachel made a few anti-trans jokes and Joey made bro/macho comments that were disparaging towards girls. Anyway, definitely a time capsule. Some good and very funny moments but quite dated. David Schwimmer’s mom is a feminist/activist and he was the driver of the interracial relationships Ross had on the show.