The issue of Friends' lack of diversity has raised its ugly head again in recent years. Fans are still reeling from the infinitely entertaining sitcom, but it's tough even for its most loyal followers to overlook what is likely to be the series' harshest criticism.
Lisa Kudrow starred alongside her five all-white co-stars in Friends, which had previously aired characters from other races and nationalities, and stories from more diverse perspectives. She said that Marta Kauffman and David Crane had no place in bringing out POC tales, and she explains her own major concern with the discussion.
I feel like it was a show created by two individuals who attended Brandeis and wrote about their lives after college. And for shows especially, when it's going to be a character-driven comedy, you write what you know. They have no business writing stories about their experiences as a person of color. I think at the time, the big issue I was seeing was, Where is the apprenticeship?
Its a good point to make that the Friends creators were simply writing what they knew from their own experiences, and there would have been no way for them to authentically write POC stories. This is a big part of what co-creator Marta Kauffman said she plans to change in future projects.
Kauffman stated in June that she accepts responsibility for the series' failings, and that she took a long time to fully understand how she shed internalized system racism. Along with pledging $4 million to Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, to establish an endowed chair in the school's African and African-American studies department, Kauffman said she would continue to strive for more diversity in her productions in the future.
I want to ensure that from now on in every production I do, I am conscious of hiring people of color and actively pursue young writers of color. I want to know that I will act differently from now on.
Friends's poor reputation and lack of color was a concern to many, but the city itself, which is a melting pot of representation, rubbed fans the wrong way. While his family loved the show, Daniel Dae Kim seemed a little irritated by the idea that his kids would ask, How come everybody is white in their New York? Over the years, the enormous and sustained popularity has made it easy to be constantly under the microscope in such a manner.
Friends' popularity isnt likely to diminish anytime soon, so it's important to take a look at such a popular series and see how they can and should perform better in the future.