It was the nineties when actress Jennifer Aniston (Los Angeles, California, 54 years old) landed the role that would change her life: Rachel Green in the NBC comedy
Created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, the series premiered on September 26, 1994, and ended on May 6, 2004, after 10 seasons on the air.
Between one thing and another, its six protagonists became the highest-paid actors on television and also superstars who graced the covers of magazines.
At its peak, the series managed to gather 52.9 million viewers in front of the screen.
Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe, its protagonists, as well as their jokes and their plots, passed into the collective imagination through popular culture.
Shortly after the series ended, in 2007, Netflix launched its video-on-demand service in the United States.
By 2016, it was already operating on a global scale.
And, thanks to this, many users discovered the series for the first time.
"Now there is a whole generation of adolescent people who watch the episodes of
and find them offensive," actress Jennifer Aniston said during an interview on the occasion of the premiere of her new film,
Mystery in Sight 2
, a comedy in which she co-stars with Actor Adam Sandler.
"There were things that were never intentional and others... well, we should have thought better of them, but I don't think there is a sensitivity like the one there is now," the actress acknowledged.
The world has changed since the nineties, and the actress herself acknowledges it, responding for the first time to the criticism that the new generations have made about the series.
Courteney Cox discovers her star in Hollywood with Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow: "We are like sisters"
There is an open conversation on the question and answer social network
in which a user asks: "Why don't young people like the
series ?", which sums up these criticisms perfectly.
“This is a fantastic question”, answers another user named Kora, who first saw the series in 2009 and then saw it again in 2018. Then he found many problems: “With his open homophobia”, explains the user, “ From Ross's ex and his girlfriend, a radical feminist who hates men, to Chandler's transgender father, the show made the LGBTQ+ community its punching bag.
There's a whole episode where Chandler is terrified that people think he's gay.
This disgusts most young people now."
It continues: its whiteness.
"In a show that takes place in New York, one of the most diverse cities in the world, it basically doesn't include non-white characters."
There is still more: "The series is riddled with sexist stereotypes."
“Superficial and unrealistic.
Maybe white 20-somethings in the 1990s could relate to the show… but now it's totally implausible,” he concludes.
The answer has 43,500 views and summarizes most of the criticism that
has received in recent years, to which fatphobia is added (in some
, Monica's character was fat in high school, something that they make a constant joke), the emphasis on the myth of romantic love in its most toxic version in relationships like Rachel and Ross, or the machismo of characters like Joey.
under a younger look,
it is uncomfortable and outdated, so they do not understand how it could be an audiovisual device that penetrated so much, and so deeply, in popular culture.
David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow during the filming of the series 'Friends'.Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images
“Comedies have evolved.
Now it's a bit tricky because you have to be very careful," Aniston explained, "which makes it very difficult for comedians."
“The beauty of comedy is that we make fun of ourselves, we make fun of life.
[In the past] you could joke about a bigoted person and laugh.
And it was about educating people about how ridiculous people were.
And now we are not allowed to do that.”
“The world needs humour!” concluded the actress, “we cannot take ourselves too seriously.
Especially in the United States.
We are too polarized."
Aniston is not the first member of the series to respond to criticism.
In 2020, Lisa Kudrow (Los Angeles, California, 59 years old), who played Phoebe Buffay, responded to comments about the lack of diversity in
while promoting the
Space Force series.
It all started when he was asked about what
could be like today: "Not all the leads would be white, that's for sure," he replied, claiming that the series was "a time capsule in the nineties" and "very modern for its time." .
Later, in an interview with
The Daily Beast
, Kudrow weighed in again on why he believed there was such a lack of diversity: “It was a series created by two people who went to [University] Brandeis and wrote about their lives after college.
And especially in the series, when it's going to be a character-focused comedy, you write about what you know.
They don't have to write stories about the experiences of being a person of color."
Precisely Marta Kauffman, co-creator of the series, decided last year to compensate for the absence of non-white characters in her series with a donation of four million dollars to the department of African and African-American studies at Brandeis University, in Massachusetts, where she studied .
According to Kauffman, this was due to his “internalization of the systemic racism that plagues society”: “I have learned a lot in the last 20 years.
Admitting and accepting blame is not easy.
It's painful to look in the mirror.
I am ashamed of not having done better 25 years ago," said the creator in an interview with the
Los Angeles Times
Later, in a space called
on the BBC, he also responded to criticism about the transphobia of the series, especially those referring to the treatment received by the father of Chandler Bing, a trans woman played by actress Kathleen Turner, who was called Charles: “ We kept referring to his character as 'Chandler's dad.'
The use of pronouns was something she didn't understand yet, so we didn't refer to that character as 'she,' which was a clear mistake.”