Industry NewsOpinion

CNN: ‘Friends’ Reunion Must Apologize for Problematic Jokes

Anyone with a pulse knew this hot take would arrive sooner than later.

We just learned the “Friends” cast will reunite for a one-time only event to be shown on HBO Max this May. Fans rejoiced over the news, especially since they’ve been clamoring for a reunion since the show signed off in 2004.

‘Friends’ Reunion Special Confirmed: Could We BE More Excited? | TODAY

The other shoe to drop?

Will the stars finally apologize for all those problematic jokes? Yes, in recent years we’ve been pummeled by think pieces saying the show trafficked in unwoke jokes, the kind you just can’t write today.

Because comedy.

Well, whoever had “CNN” in the office pool … come pick up your prize.

Now, we’ll likely see variations on this CNN column shortly. Still, the comically inept network may be the first out of the gate.

And it doesn’t disappoint.

As even devoted fans can recognize now, “Friends” often ended up on the wrong side of cultural history, highlighting many troubling norms of its time. This reunion on HBO Max is a timely opportunity for fans and new observers to ponder exactly why many people still love this show, and to ask what the hopefully older, wiser group of “Friends” might potentially acknowledge on the Central Perk sofa, this time around.

The show’s lack of diversity is the first “problem,” according to CNN. The show also didn’t raise the viewers’ conscious enough during its wildly successful run.

Any point of difference was used as a kooky reference — “Phoebe used to be homeless, so she’s super tough!” — rather than an opportunity to explore a potentially juicy theme or raise viewers’ social consciousness.

This op-ed writer must double as a comedy writer, no? Even when the show was “ahead of its time” that wasn’t enough for CNN. Remember how Ross’s first wife left him for another woman?

While it was unusual in the 1990s to feature a gay female couple on TV, and particularly groundbreaking for its time to feature them as parents, that visibility is undermined by the main joke being that it’s embarrassing for Ross to have been dumped for another woman.

The column goes on, and on, almost as if the great Titania McGrath penned it. The story is a prime example of how wokeness suffocates comedy. We’ll share one more example from the article.

You have to hope that if dating comes up among the “Friends” of 2020, they might at least advocate for doing a few things differently in retrospect — and indeed, all sexual interactions. Joey’s womanizing, Ross’s history as a controlling, jealous boyfriend, and Chandler’s cruel treatment of his girlfriend Janice, are well-documented [emphasis added].

Thought Crime Alert!

It’s a miracle Matthew Perry, who played Chandler Bing during the show’s 10-year reign, hasn’t had to atone for his character’s sins up until now.

A final note:

The “Friends” cast, each of whom could net $3-4 million for the reunion, will absolutely bring up some, if not all, of the above complaints. And, of course, they’ll profusely apologize.


Imagine the press coverage if they don’t.

Today’s stars, from the no-names to the biggest actors on the planet, know going woke is the only acceptable path. Heck, if A-list superstar Scarlett Johnasson bowed to the PC Police not once but twice, than everyone who steps foot in front of a camera today will have to toe the woke line.

Even our dear, departed “Friends.”


  1. If they were rightfully and delightfully unrepentant about entertaining millions of Americans for decades then, perhaps, we might be spared calls for further reunions.

  2. CNN has buried the reality of racist violence against whites for its entire history. They literally are guilty of enabling, if not sponsoring, racist rape and murder, including the rape and murder of children. If they and their colleagues in the media had treated these crimes as seriously as they treat flyers saying “It’s OK to be white” most of these people would not have been victimized. They know it, but remain silent.

  3. I will watch only to see if Jennifer Anistons nipples are featured as prominently now, as then.

    But I am a guy, and do not care about being woke.

  4. Yet somehow, despite being non-woke, Friends is incredibly popular with today’s 20-somethings. It’s almost as if the show delivers something that today’s woke shows do not.

    Like humor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button