10 Reasons Why Friends Just Doesn't Hold Up Anymore

Friends is widely considered to be one of the best sitcoms of all time. While many still laugh while revisiting the show on Netflix, viewers can't deny that Friends is dated. In fact, it just doesn't hold up. Hold on, hold on, don't scream, "BLASPHEMY!" just yet. When given some thought, you'll realize it's true. While the show's humor still clicks on some levels, many can't deny that there are moments that either make you eyeroll or cringe.

There's no real shame in enjoying the show, but the fashions, the politics, the technology, and other elements put the show in a specific '90s time capsule. Friends is surprisingly homophobic, racially underrepresented, and just doesn't seem to work when viewed with a 21st-century perspective. Let's have a Friends retrospective to see the reasons why Friends may not be as good as you remember. 


  • There's A Lack Of Racial Diversity

    There's A Lack Of Racial Diversity
    Photo: NBC

    New York City is one of the most culturally and racially diverse cities in the United States. Why is so little of that represented in Friends? Aside from a brief multi-episode arc with Aisha Tyler, most persons of color are either quick pop-ins or background players.

  • Homophobia Is Rampant

    Homophobia Is Rampant
    Photo: NBC

    While not outright hateful, homosexuality is seen as second-class and is used as a gag within Friends. Chandler frequently defends his heterosexuality when the gang or outside parties call him out for doing stereotypically gay behavior such as "being well-dressed." Ross is particularly hurt that his ex-wife is a lesbian and has concerns about his son being partially raised by his ex-wife's wife. While the they did showcase a lesbian wedding at a time when such things were taboo, the show's overall attitude towards homosexuality is typically and justifiably frowned upon in the 21st century. 

  • Smartphones Would Destroy The Premises Of Lots Of Episodes

    Smartphones Would Destroy The Premises Of Lots Of Episodes
    Photo: NBC

    While it's unfair, the invention of the cell phone has seriously dated Friends. Many plots would be compromised if smart phones were introduced. Many hilarious and dramatic moments on the show were dependent on missing a phone call at home, not checking voice messages on the machine, or responding to a pager. Even Jennifer Aniston thinks cell phones would have killed Friends, although for an entirely different reason (she thinks everyone would just be glued to the phones).

  • It Has Outdated Perspectives On Gender

    It Has Outdated Perspectives On Gender
    Photo: NBC

    In the climate of the 21st century, gender is seen as something fluid that doesn't and shouldn't adhere to outdated, traditional roles. However, the guys on Friends are pretty hung up on manliness. Ross is concerned when his toddler son enjoys playing with a Barbie rather than a GI Joe. Chandler has trouble having a relationship with his father since his father identifies as female. All of this was played for laughs back then, but it certainly seems outdated and outright mean now.

  • There's Gratuitous Fat Shaming

    There's Gratuitous Fat Shaming
    Photo: NBC

    Throughout the series, the gang was disgusted yet fascinated when spying on the "ugly naked fat guy." On top of that, Monica's weight as a young girl was played off for laughs as well through dialogue and flashbacks. This type of humor doesn't hold up given society's better understanding of what causes obesity. There's also the fact that obesity has turned into a common issue in the United States. Picking on fat people was mean then, but it's even meaner now.

  • Possible Childhood Molestation Is Presented As Comedic

    Possible Childhood Molestation Is Presented As Comedic
    Photo: NBC

    For the Friends episode titled, "The One with Ross' New Girlfriend," Joey hilariously finds out that he was sexually fondled as a minor. Ha. Funny. Joey recommends his family tailor to Chandler, who then gets a bad touch when the tailor measure's Chandler's inseam. Chandler brings this up to Joey, who had no idea that he was in fact abused. Child molestation is comedy gold, right? Maybe in the '90s, but definitely not now.