In a recent interview, Jennifer Aniston acknowledged that even “Friends” has not escaped the critical gaze of modern audiences, who consider some aspects of the show “offensive.”
Aniston remarked that an entire generation is now revisiting “Friends” episodes and finding them offensive. She discussed the well-known 90s series and how younger viewers perceive it today.
Interestingly, Aniston seemed to side with the “woke” critics, noting, “There were things that were never intentional and others… We should have given it more consideration, but I don’t believe there was the same level of sensitivity then as there is now.” She also observed that movies and comedy have evolved. Aniston believes that the current need for extreme caution can pose challenges for comedians, as humor often relies on poking fun at ourselves and daily experiences.
She nevertheless supported humor and argued that people should laugh more quickly and take themselves and jokes less seriously. It was hilarious. And it was about showing people how absurd they were, but we’re no longer permitted to do that. Everyone requires humor! Humor is needed in the universe! We shouldn’t be too concerned with ourselves, particularly in the US. Everyone is too polarised.
Monty Python actor John Cleese shares a similar sentiment with Jennifer Aniston on this topic, asserting in 2022 that political correctness signifies the “demise of comedy.” He argues that while you can create and critique something, doing both simultaneously hinders creativity, especially when worrying about offending others. Cleese regards this as a disastrous outcome.
The actor also suggests that comedians should tailor their content to their audience. For instance, anti-Democratic jokes would be well-received at a Republican convention, while anti-Republican remarks would not. Cleese further explains that some adjustments are based on politeness rather than legality, such as refraining from sharing explicit stories with one’s grandmother over tea.
Not only Jennifer Aniston has expressed concerns about “Friends.” The show’s co-creator, Marta Kauffman, recently lamented the series’ lack of diversity, as having an all-white main cast is now considered inappropriate.
Kauffman apologized for her casting decisions, stating, “I’ve learned a lot in the last 20 years. Acknowledging and accepting your regret is difficult. Self-examination can be painful. I wish I had known better 25 years ago.”
She went on to discuss her journey in understanding her own internalized systemic racism. Kauffman has been working hard to become anti-racist and a better ally. She saw this as an opportunity to add a white woman’s perspective to the conversation.
She also expressed regret over how Chandler’s “trans” father was “misgendered” by the show’s characters. She stated, “Even though Chandler’s father was transgender, we continued calling [Helena] ‘Chandler’s father. We didn’t refer to that figure as “she” because I didn’t understand pronouns at the time. That was a bad move.
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