The 27th anniversary of 'Friends' and the problems we didn't see before
The first episode of the world's most watched series premiered on Sept. 22, 1994, and changed American television.
Twenty-seven years after the first episode of Friends, the series is still a hit.
The iconic 90's series reunites Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer as the most famous group of friends in Central Perk. Despite the passage of time, the series remains as relevant as ever, although some things about the story many find problematic these days.
The sitcom follows six friends — Monica, Chandler, Joey, Rachel, Phoebe and Ross — who, after moving and settling in Manhattan, share their day-to-day lives. The series has been criticized for its lack of diversity in the cast, its fat-phobic jokes against Monica's character, and for some misogynistic and homophobic comments, but much of the success of Friends is due to the freshness with which it presented other groundbreaking themes of the time.
Twenty-seven years ago, television did not expect to see a lesbian couple raising a child. Carol, who was Ross' first wife, confessed to him that she was a lesbian and had a relationship with another woman, in addition to being pregnant with his child. From then on, the series presented moments the audience did not expect at the time.
Ross has an initial conflict of not feeling part of the pregnancy and then of raising his son, a rejection of Susan, Carol's partner, and then denial towards her as part of raising Ben, her son.
On the other hand, Chandler is a character that brings many issues to the table that, probably at the time, audiences didn't realize the importance of. His fear of commitment, and the need for affection from the lack of attention from his parents.
Having a transgender mother was also not something common to see on screens, and although neither the relationship nor the character was developed in the series, it set a precedent in 2000s television.
From the humor, the series addressed issues that no other show was touching for fear of how it would be received by the public (and probably to keep good ratings). But Friends, with its mistakes included, is still one of the most iconic series of recent times.