Movies

‘Friends’ creator admits that show ‘didn’t do enough to promote diversity’

Marta Kauffman said she would have made some “very different decisions” when asked what she would have done differently with the popular sitcom

Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman has admitted that she would have made some “very different decisions” when asked what she would have done differently with the popular sitcom.

With the reruns on TV and memes on social media, the younger generation which has discovered the iconic series in recent years has accused it of having “problematic” storylines, with many describing it as transphobic, homophobic, sexist, and lacking diversity.

Commenting on the diversity debate around the NBC show on a “2020 ATX TV... From the Couch” virtual panel, Kauffman said she “didn’t do enough“.

“I wish I knew then what I know today. Sorry, I just wish I knew then what I know now. I would’ve made very different decisions. I mean we’ve always encouraged people of diversity in our company, but I didn’t do enough and now all I can think about is what can I do?” she wondered.

Kauffman, who co-created the series with David Crane, wished she would have known better, a bit earlier.

The show, which turns 26 in September, starred Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer as six titular friends living in New York City.

“What can I do differently? How can I run my show in a new way? And that’s something I not only wish I knew when I started showrunning, but I wish I knew all the way up through last year,” she added.

In May, Kudrow defended “Friends” saying it was a “very progressive” show when seen in the context of the year 1994, when it aired.

Asked what the show be like if it was created today, Kudrow said “Oh, it’d be completely different. 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,” the actor had said.

Last year, Schwimmer said he was “well aware of the lack of diversity” on “Friends” and even campaigned for years to have his character date women of colour, while also expressing his frustration at older shows being judged out of context.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 9:53:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/friends-creator-admits-that-show-didnt-do-enough-to-promote-diversity/article31784877.ece

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