Some might say I had a deprived childhood.
My parents preferred books to the screen and limited a lot of what my sister and I watched on television until we hit middle school.
As a result, I missed the cultural powerhouse that was Friends. My best friend from kindergarten, like many, grew up watching episodes daily. My best friend in college also loved the show.
Like most millennials, myself included, she’s someone who’s rarely tele-void (devoid of a TV series that she watches religiously) and senior year of college she returned to Friends. This decision was made for my benefit as well, as part of my cultural education that we’d been working on with series like The Vampire Diaries since freshman year.
How could I not love it? The show that had made such a mark on my peers.
What I learned from trying to love Friends was that it’s a ‘you had to be there’-kind-of-series. If you didn’t watch it growing up, you’re probably never going to like it. Netflix, I blame you.
Here’s why Friends will never be popular with late arrivals:
1. It’s not funny.
Disparaging everyone’s favorite 90s sitcom is a risky move, I know. But seriously, this shit is so not funny. The sitcom-style laughter that was included practically every other line only amplifies this truth.
Not once did I laugh with the “audience.”
2. The characters are pure stereotypes.
Joey plays the role of Italian-American misogynist. Phoebe’s a dumb blonde; her character is over-sexualized and underutilized as she’s actually one of the better actors.
Rachel’s “Daddy’s little girl,” but really she’s just a spoiled, beautiful bitch. Pair her with Ross the annoying nerd, and you’ve got perhaps the whiniest couple of all time.
Monica transformed from an overweight teen to a bombshell all the boys want but is uncomfortable with her newfound status. Chandler is bitter he’s not particularly X (smart, good-looking, insert any adjective here) so he makes up for it by acting like an immature prick.
These characters are all supposed to be adults, yet the show feels like a high school nightmare.
3. “The One Where The Title Tells You Everything That’s Going To Happen”
Every title begins with “The One Where…” which is about as simplistic as the plot lines of the show. I don’t really need to watch if the title tells me exactly what’s going to happen.
4. Sexy and smart are polar opposites.
Ross, the only one of the crew with a Ph.D. and seemingly a brain is portrayed as having zero social skills or game. This is why girls always go for the bad boys! Pop culture used to make the good ones so damn unappealing. Thankfully, shows like Shameless and Mr. Robot are turning this stereotype on its head with characters like Lip and Elliot, who are whip-smart and good-in-bed.
5. There’s a lack of diversity.
Friends is pretty much a show about a group of six white people who only hang out with other white people.
‘Cause NYC isn’t known for its diversity or anything.
6. There’s absolutely no sensitivity.
The “friends” don’t exactly embody #SquadGoals.
They basically pick on one another nonstop and it sets a bad example. The show is also a reminder that a lot has changed since the ’90s. Gay and fat jokes are no longer cool, they’re cruel. The trivialization of incest and suicide is also crass.