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Still Friends? The trouble with old sitcoms

From BBC - January 15, 2018

Ahh, Friends. The US sitcom that took over the world.

Millennials may look back fondly to the heady days of the ultimate 20-something Manhattan lifestyle enjoyed by our favourite flatmates - Monica, Ross, Chandler, Joey, Rachel and Phoebe.

But nearly a quarter of a century - yikes! - since the show began, a new generation of fans are discovering the hit show for the first time on Netflix.

And some of them are clearly finding it a bit uncomfortable.

Another found herself not enjoying the show as much second time around.

Freelance writer James Baldock, who wrote about the Friends issue in Metro, told BBC News the backlash against Friends "was inevitable".

"People my age tend to think of Friends as 'current', but it's as steeped in nostalgia as, say, Miami Vice was 10 or 15 years ago."

Writer Rebecca Reid told BBC Radio 5 live she "could not believe how badly it has aged".

"The homophobia is staggering - the punchline of every joke about Ross is that his ex-wife is a lesbian, as if that's some failing of his and that it's hilarious that she's a lesbian

"The sexism's pretty rampant as well... [and] it's the whitest show in the whole world."

She did acknowledge, however, that "she did sort of love it".

"It's really dangerous to start looking at stuff that was written a long time ago through the lens of what we do now."

Others were less concerned.

More recent shows have also split opinion, such as Will & Grace.

The show, which debuted in 1996 and was about the lives of a straight woman and her gay best friend, was groundbreaking at a time when you rarely saw gay characters on TV.

Shows that courted controversy

'Different age'

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