Matt LeBlanc has responded to recent criticism of Friends being ‘problematic’.
Thanks to its introduction to Netflix and Generation Snowflake, new audiences found the sitcom to be regressive in its treatment of gay, trans and fat people.
LeBlanc’s character Joey Tribbiani, was also slated as creepy and sexist.
Now, in a new interview with the BBC, the Top Gear host, 50, has spoken out against the comments made on social media.
I’ve heard those rumours about people taking pot shots at Friends, but I don’t want to get into that. I disagree with all that.
On Friends steered clear of that kind of thing, too. Friends was about themes that stand the test of time – trust, love, relationships, betrayal, family and things like that.
I don’t want to make jokes that make people go, ‘Ooh, that’s not my bag.’ I don’t like that. I run from that kind of stuff.
Because that joke isn’t going to be relevant in six months. You talk about ‘Hey man, you lied to me,’ or ‘Wasn’t that fun? – that’ll always be relevant.
He’s right. So far, the 90s sitcom has withstood the test of time, even if a few teenagers wet their pants watching it.
BTW, this isn’t the first wave of post-Friends criticism. Back in 2015, Slate slated the homophobia of Chandler Bing, saying:
In retrospect, the entire show’s treatment of LGBTQ issues is awful, a fault pointedly illustrated by the exhaustive clip-compilation ‘Homophobic Friends.’ But Chandler’s treatment of his gay father, a Vegas drag queen played by Kathleen Turner, is especially appalling, and it’s not clear the show knows it.
It’s one thing for Chandler to recall being embarrassed as a kid, but he is actively resentful and mocking of his loving, involved father right up until his own wedding (to which his father is initially not invited!).
Even a line like ‘Hi, Dad’ is delivered with vicious sarcasm. Monica eventually cajoles him into a grudging reconciliation, which the show treats as an acceptably warm conclusion. But his continuing discomfort now reads as jarringly out-of-place for a supposedly hip New York thirtysomething—let alone a supposedly good person, period.
No-one told these haters life was gonna be this way. Kapow! Eat that!