Friends may have ended in 2004, but the show’s popularity still endures because of nostalgia and its availability on Netflix.
Now, David Schwimmer, who played Ross on the iconic show, is proposing a reboot with a diverse cast.
He told the Guardian, “Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends.“
This statement follows criticism that the show features an all-white cast and handled certain storylines in a way that would not be tolerated today. An example would be how the show treated the storyline of Chandler Bing’s father, who is a transgender woman. Kathleen Turner, who played the role, said “I think we didn’t have the knowledge about transgender people back then, so I’m not sure if we used the appropriate terms. I don’t know if I would have known those terms back then. I think that’s the biggest one.”
In another episode, Brad Pitt’s character said that he started a rumor in high school that Rachel Green is a hermaphrodite. Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman said, “I might have not done the hermaphrodite stuff today if I had that to do over in the one with Brad Pitt.” She added, “it really is a period piece.”
In the Guardian interview, David defended the show, saying, “You have to look at it from the point of view of what the show was trying to do at the time. I’m the first person to say that maybe something was inappropriate or insensitive, but I feel like my barometer was pretty good at that time. I was already really attuned to social issues and issues of equality.”
He went on to say, “I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of color. One of the first girlfriends I had on the show was an Asian American woman, and later I dated African American women. That was a very conscious push on my part.”
David has also earned praise in 2017 when Nell Minow, a female film critic, was assigned to interview the actor for a film he did in 2010 called Trust. They were supposed to talk in a hotel restaurant but it was too loud so David suggested they continue upstairs in his room. Realizing that the situation could be dangerous for a woman, he suggested that they bring a third person to chaperone the interview.
Nell said of the situation, “I haven’t thought of that since it happened but the [Harvey] Weinstein stories made me not just remember it but remember it in an entirely different context as an indicator of the prevalence of predatory behavior and as an indicator of Schwimmer’s integrity and sensitivity. This wasn’t just about his being a good guy who would not have tried anything. He understood what it is like to have to be constantly on the alert and he wanted to make sure I understood I was safe.”
Weinstein is a former film producer who was dismissed from his film company after 80 women had made sexual abuse allegations against him.
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