Courteney Cox on Friends: It holds up across different generations

Christ I’m getting old. I was so excited about Courteney Cox’s new show Shining Vale and then completely forgot to watch the premiere last Sunday. And I’ve been watching some real crap because I don’t have anything in my queue right now. I always wish success for Courteney because I like her in general. I am genuinely excited about the concept of this new show being comedic horror episodic tv. But, it must be nice to know that no matter what Courteney does, even if it tanks, she will always be able say she was on Friends. That’s always going to be a trump card for her. Willie Geist asked Courteney about the enduring love of Friends when she appeared on the Sunday Sitdown. She said people continue to discover it because the comedy remains relevant, so it holds up across different generations.

Courteney Cox may have portrayed one of the most memorable roles on TV, but that doesn’t mean she remembers everything she’s filmed.
The Friends alum, 57, opened up to Today’s Willie Geist during an appearance on his Sunday Sitdown segment about filming the beloved sitcom and revealed that she doesn’t actually remember shooting much of the series.

“I should’ve watched all 10 seasons because when I did the reunion and was asked questions, I was like, ‘I don’t remember being there,’ ” she said with a laugh, adding, “Yeah. I don’t remember filming so many episodes.”

“I see it on TV sometimes and I stop and go, ‘Oh my God, I don’t remember this at all.’ But it’s so funny,” she continued.

And although Cox’s recollection of filming Friends is somewhat fuzzy, the Emmy-nominated producer recognizes the impact Friends has had on past generations and generations yet to come.

“It doesn’t matter what generation is watching it. It holds up. I think the comedy is relevant,” she explained. “People can relate to every character. I don’t care how big the cell phone is. The computer you can’t lift. Life is that way.”

[From People]

Several things are true here. Different generations have found a connection with Friends. It’s still raking in numbers on HBO, and I know plenty of younger people who’ve watched all the seasons multiple times. I’ve rewatched several episodes recently and still find it funny, so I agree that many of the jokes hold up. But I don’t think the show as a whole completely holds up. There are plenty of jokes that are made at the expense of people they shouldn’t be. We’ve often discussed the diversity issues on the show. If we are going to examine the show with the lens of today’s eyes, we have to acknowledge the ways in which it falls short. That isn’t to suggest that fans can’t enjoy it, just that they aren’t sycophantic about it. Because I do think Friends is funny. But I don’t think some of its messages and themes should communicate to today’s generation. I’d like to think we’ve all evolved since then.

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22 Responses to “Courteney Cox on Friends: It holds up across different generations”

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  1. ArtMaven says:

    I don’t think it holds up at all. It’s incredibly thin.

    • Amanda says:

      I agree. I tried to watch it, but it felt so dated.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      I couldn’t stand any of the characters, even back then. Same with Sex in the City. I don’t know what people saw in these shows.

      • Valerie says:

        I tried to watch SATC when David Duchovny was on, and it was just unbearable. I ended up turning it off. It’s popularity still baffles me. I think, though, for all of its supposed enduring popularity, people are finally more honest about it now, and about how awful Carrie is.

    • Truthiness says:

      💯 It doesn’t hold up but you know what did? The money the cast gets for syndication and reruns.

  2. TheOriginalMia says:

    It didn’t hold up when it was airing. A New York-based sitcom and none of the Friends had POC friends. Really? Okay.

    • Kitten says:

      IDK I kinda feel like they actually *wouldn’t* have friends who were POC because most POC wouldn’t be able to tolerate them.

      The more unrealistic thing to me is Monica’s apartment. I mean, I know that she was a chef and probably made decent money but come on. NYC is like Boston where it’s hard enough to even FIND a 2 bed 1500 sf apartment, much less one that’s actually affordable.

      • Becks1 says:

        They get away with that by saying it was rent-control and it was Monica’s grandmother’s (so presumably she rented it way back when, when NYC was more affordable or not as sought-after or whatever.) So if Monica was still paying the same rent on it in 1995 that her grandmother was paying when she rented it in 1975 maybe, it could have been relatively affordable? I don’t know how long rent control clauses last.

        But that doesn’t explain Chandler and Joey’s apartment (although I think we are always meant to assume that chandler made good money) or Ross getting that Ugly Naked Guy’s apartment which seemed really nice etc.

  3. Becks1 says:

    Clips from it come up a lot on my Instagram and FB suggested reels and I always get sucked in but oh my, it has not held up. The homophobia and anti-gay jokes on it are really something else, the fat-phobia, etc. And I was a HUGE friends fan back in the day and I still like it and some episodes are just classics but…..there are big aspects of it that have not held up.

    • Facts says:

      I’m so tired of Courtney and Jennifer living in the 90’s via this show. My Gawd talk about weird and obsessive.
      I know John Mayer said Aniston lives in her past but evidently so do Courtney. She really wants to direct but can’t get backed so she should try the independent routes first. I really want them stop Talking about this show seriously

    • Kitten says:

      Yeah it has NOT held up–at all. But neither has SATC and I still re-watch so….no shame.

  4. Oh_Hey says:

    Yeah. No.
    As a young black girl who was aware and of TV consuming age it didn’t hold up at the time. It’s about 6 straight white middle class to rich people in the incredibly and increasingly diverse NYC of the 90s and early aughts. It was outdated before it started by being a year behind Living Single.

    There are better but less popular takes on young people living and loving in NY.

  5. M says:

    Highly overrated show in every aspect.

  6. Leskat says:

    I hated Friends then and I loathe it now. It’s so pointless, it’s practically see-through. A bunch of whiny, entitled white people who never really appear to work. What’s crossing generations here?

  7. Luna17 says:

    I don’t get the appeal of this show. I was little young for the target audience but saw tons of reruns and it’s so predictable and boring. At the same time of course a show 25 years old is gonna have some issues in todays climate. It’s not fair to judge the shows by todays standards. Nearly all popular shows made gay and fat jokes back then. But luckily society has moved forward and it isn’t accepted today. That’s called growth. Complaining it isn’t woke enough for 2022 standards is silly. In 25 years hopefully we will look back and see how far we’ve grown from today and I’m sure things we are in tv now won’t be ok.

  8. bears says:

    Least favorite joke on Friends – It’s Thanksgiving, Joey and Ross want to spend it with Joey’s hot roommate and her hot friends. Ross refers to the girls as “sweet potato pie”. Joey says, reproachfully, “They’re not objects, man.” Then he pauses, laughs and says “just kidding”.

    Why was that ever supposed to be funny? Especially on a show where 3/4 of their audience are those “objects”? Weird.

  9. Moxylady says:

    Also Ross was abusive af

  10. Valerie says:

    I don’t think it held up even at the time. One of my friends LOVED it and was always trying to get me into it. We watched a few episodes together, and it had its funny moments, but I could never bring myself to care that much about the characters. They all seemed so shallow and self-absorbed, even for 20-somethings. Phoebe was probably the best.

  11. Kh says:

    Not a show I watched at the time it was on. (Especially the fat Monica stuff which was gross even at the time). I actually have more appreciation for it now. But I do think the cast had great chemistry and great comedic timing. A lot of sitcoms have to cut around the fact that their casts do not know how to sell a joke and time the banter. Delivery and reaction are key in comedy and I think they all have the chops. The writers knew how to write for their cast, and the actors delivered the goods. There’s nothing really surprising or revolutionary about the comedy, but they knew how to put out a consistent coherent show. This sounds a little like damning with faint praise *g*.